Exit West is a beautiful, bittersweet story about a couple and the development of their relationship as they are forced to flee their war-torn home. Mohsin Hamid introduces readers to two well-developed protagonists and achieves a powerful portrayal of the refugee experience in a way that few authors can.
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 27th, 2017
This book has everything you didn't know you needed: psychics, the Chicago mob, the CIA. I was hooked from the very first chapter, but as the story progressed, I found myself getting noticeably physically ANGRY at how GOOD this book is! This novel may seem to have a lot going on, but it ultimately boils down to a touching portrait of a family. I will enthusiastically recommend this book to everyone I know. Forever.
Don't let the cover of this book fool you. This is not just any other girly YA novel. The narrator is witty, absolutely hilarious. Loosely based on the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for 9 days, this book is cleverly written and has it all: adventure, a smart and sassy protagonist, references to Monty Python, The Princess Bride, and Game of Thrones. My favorite book of 2016!
Elan Mastai has written the perfect time travel book. Wait, scratch that. He has written the perfect book. What could become an overwhelmingly scientific account of time travel is instead a great book filled with laughter and crying and "oh god this is so good wait what's happening I CAN'T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN" feelings. I read this book in 100 page increments, finding it physically painful to put down. Definitely at the top of my list of best books I have read this year (even though it, sadly, doesn't come out until next year). I can't wait until I can put this in customers' hands. I guess I will just have to make do with my co-workers for now...
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 6th, 2015
Rowell's take on the "Chosen One" magician story is a great one. Flipping between many unique points of view, Rowell creates some amazing dramatic irony that keeps you turning the pages. I was incredibly sad when this book ended. I wanted to spend way more time with these awesome characters in their beautifully crafted world.
Jenny Lawson has a beautiful and hilarious way of writing about the mental illness that she lives with. Told in short, essay-like chapters, you will find yourself laughing at every page. And, if you haven't yet, make sure to check our her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened.
Published: Random House Audio Publishing Group - January 12th, 2016
Beautifully blending reality and a fascinating look at purgatory and the dream world, Eleanor makes you think about the world beyond what we can see. Gurley creates a fully realized other world that pulls you in and doesn't let go. A beautiful piece of writing and quite a feat of creativity.
Pure magic. Shakespeare, comic books, Star Trek, and the apocalypse all swirl together into one of my favorite books of the year. Mandel deftly weaves us through multiple characters in the past and present in this strangely real yet fantastically imaginative tale. And unlike many of its fellow world-ender novels, Mandel paints us a future full of hope and new beginnings.
One of the most influential novel's I've ever read. The comic book aspect drew me in, but I the depth of the characters gave it the lasting impact. We are all searching for oursevles. We all have a secret identity. We are all trying to escape something. We all want to change the world. Chabon's characters struggle along with the rest of us with the medium of comic books as their backdrop. One of the most impressive feats is Chabon's ability to verbally paint for us what his characters are painting in their own fictional world within world. They say that readers of fiction have a greater ability to empathize with the people. You can't read this book without feeling empathy. You can't help but realize how much you and these people share in your own ways. "Forget about what you are escaping from. Reserve your anxiety for what you are escaping to."
A dystopian fantasy that completely deconstructs the history of the world in an incredibly intricate way while maintaining a striking cultural critique on our ideas of masculinity, money, blood, and love. With an almost Danielewski approach towards using the novel as an artpiece, Dodson has created an immensely stark world and has proved himself as one of the most imaginative writers that I've encountered in a very long time.
Published: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers - September 30th, 2002
This book is action packed. A page turner in which some beloved characters redeem themselves, some perish while evil characters ebb and flow in triumph and despair too. This has to be the most entertaining part of the book: the way that Jacques is able to deliver a story that is devastating, and yet in the end, hopeful. It is a strong testament to the fantasy novel, especially one made for kids of all ages. There are battles and strategy and adventure; everything needed to keep a kid entertained and looking for more to read.
*Whether you are a sommelier, a boxed-wine drinker, a rose fanatic, or just wondering what the heck the buzz is about, Bianca Bosker delivers with Cork Dork!
Bianca Bosker co-founded The Huffington Post’s tech section and served as the site’s Executive Tech Editor until 2014 when she handed herself over to the life of wine.
Cork Dork is that story: all at once a hilarious memoir, an instructional guide to drinking wine, and a window into the history, science, and philosophy of living for taste.
With writing that is both informative and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Cork Dork makes wine accessible. It shows you how to be present in the experience. To savor each sip, letting it play over your senses and your memories. And for civilians like me, it makes you want to participate:
While learning the proper routine of blind-tasting, I attempted to “blind” taste the GoT red blend.
While reading about the neuroscience of smell, I tried to better appreciate my pineapple coconut smoothie.
And while sitting in a very quiet cafe, I laughed out loud at the image of corks flying and exploding bottles of red wine.
This book left me breathless, heartbroken, and hopeful. Exit West is one of those rare titles that quietly speaks truth in the face of chaos and crisis. By bringing the refugee crisis to our own doorstep with magical realism, Hamid's narrative demands empathy for people whose struggles are otherwise filtered through political agenda. Nadia and Saeed help us to understand what it means to be forced into change despite overwhelming adversity, to be loyal to a past that is all but lost, and to finally find a new home in hope and love. Mohsin Hamid has given us a lens into the hard reality of our time while suggesting that with some humility, tenderness, and revision, we might just arrive to a new future battered but in tact and looking forward.
The One-Eyed Man is provocative and exasperating.
Ron Currie has presented readers with a unique insight on the human condition. Is our narrator painfully honest or unreliable to a fault? After the death of his wife and a moment of enlightenment, K. has found the ability (or so we are lead to believe) to see without bias and speak without filter. Grief and pain are irrelevant. But by "liberating" himself, K. may have doomed those around him. Is it better to drown in delusion or to be ripped apart by awareness?
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king of his own mind until the blind revolt.
Incredibly well done.
Pardon the temporal drag, but I believe that's future me declaring this my favorite book of 2017.
I am so grateful for the few months I have to digest this novel so I can present it to customers without dissolving into squeals and feels (Because if you review the audio of me reading the last 50 pages of this book, I very loudly experience the full range of human emotion)!
Where this book is science fiction, it is smart and quirky, as fresh as a lemon tart and just as delicious. When it starts getting too complicated, our narrator reminds us that he doesn't really get it either.
But WAIT, this book is more than time travel. It is the consequences of our actions, the hope for a better tomorrow, the strength to be our best selves, the guilt we endure, and the love we live for.
Plus it's REALLY fun, and is going to make an amazing film some day. 5 stars, plus a little gold star sticker on the side.
Published: William Morrow & Company - June 3rd, 2014
Ocean at the End of the Lane was the most gripping novel on my 2015 list, occupying my time on two flights to and from Orange County. Complicated and heart-wrenching, it had me squirming in my seat. I found myself horrified and in awe of this young boy whose innocence allows him to recognize a danger that no "grown-up" can while leaving him feeling incapable of confronting its authority. Sitting on that plane, I felt both enlightened and powerless.
I love Russian novels -- give me Tolstoy or Dostoevsky and I'll be entertained for days. It's hard to adapt/capture the feelings evoked by these classic Russian novels in the 21st centure, let alone by the hand of an American author. Towles came damn close, through this tale of a count sentenced to life in the Metropol Hotel, which is across from the Kremlin in Moscow. Recounting days spent and lives lived in this swanky hotel, this book offers a great escape. Highly recommend!
I usually struggle with plots that move back and forth through space and time, but this book flowed unlike any I've ever read. It is beautifully written and very moving. You'll also learn a lot about Chechnya.