Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reading Ahead: November 2016, part 5

November is a month full of gifts for readers. No matter what your reading pleasure, there's something for you. Don't believe me? Read on!

Faithful, by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman is a favorite of mine--her writing style is so beautifully evocative, I can't get enough. Here, she comes back to the present after her recent forays into the past (The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, etc.) with a story about a young woman struggling to define herself in the wake of crisis. Shelby is an ordinary woman, until a tragic accident steals her friend's future, leaving Shelby to walk away with the burden of guilt. Her journey takes her into New York City, where she finds a circle of souls both lost and found, and where she grapples with love, joy, loss, and guilt among them.

I’ll Take You There, by Wally Lamb. Lamb is another favorite (truly, November feels like an embarrassment of riches to this reader) whose work I cannot resist. The novel centers on Felix (previously met in Wishin' and Hopin'), a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in what was once a vaudeville theater. One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, he’s confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit—and in some cases relive—scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema’s big screen.In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life: his daughter, his sister, and former beauty-queen who has haunted Felix for decades. Also available in Large Print

Moonglow, by Michael Chabon. Inspired by the stories told by Chabon's own grandfather in the weeks before his passing, this novel is the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies.

The Whole Town’s Talking, by Fannie Flagg. Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. This is the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.  Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.

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