Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea; Marilyn Booth (Translator)
Publication Date: 2007
Discussion Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
The novel unfolds as every week after Friday prayers, the anonymous narrator sends an e-mail to the female subscribers of her online chat group. In fifty such e-mails over the course of a year, we witness the tragicomic reality of four university students-Qamra, Michelle, Sadim, and Lamis-negotiating their love lives, their professional success, and their rebellions, large and small, against their cultural traditions. The world these women inhabit is a modern one that contains "Sex and the City," dating, and sneaking out of their parents' houses, and this affluent, contemporary existence causes the girls to collide endlessly with the ancient customs of their society. Riyadh is the larger setting of the novel, but the characters travel all over the world shedding traditional garb as they literally and figuratively cross over into Western society.
Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky
Publication Date: 2014
Discussion Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
The heroine of this enigmatic, razor-sharp, and thoroughly contemporary novel is seventeen- year-old Sacha Naimann, born in Moscow. Sacha lives in Berlin now with her two younger siblings and, until recently, her mother. She is precocious, independent, skeptical and, since her stepfather murdered her mother several months ago, an orphan. Unlike most of her companions, she doesn't dream of getting out the tough housing project where they live. Her dreams are different: she wants to write a novel about her mother; and she wants to end the life of Vadim, the man who murdered her.
Discussion Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
The beguines began to form in various parts of Europe over eight hundred years ago, around the year 1200. Beguines were laywomen, not nuns, and thus did not take solemn vows and did not live in monasteries. This book invites us to listen to their voices, to discover them anew.
Discussion Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2016.
First published in 1942 at the crest of her popularity, this is Hurston's unrestrained account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to prominence among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. Listed in the HW Wilson Public Library Core Collection.
Discussion Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. National Book Award finalist; Amazon Top 20 Books of 2014; Kirkus Best Fiction Books of 2014; Huffington Post Best Books 2014; Booklist Editors' Choice 2014; ALA Notable Books.
Discussion Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015.
The oldest existing epic poem in French, translated into English, tells the tale of the massacre in 778 of Charlemagne's rear guard at Roncesvalles in northern Spain. Listed in the HW Wilson Public Library Core Collection.
Discussion Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015.
Told by nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, this is the Cain and Abel-esque story of a childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they meet a madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. Library Journal Best Books 2015; New York Times Notable Books 2015; Listed in Fiction Core Collection.
Discussion Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2015.
Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career. New York Times Bestseller; Named one of the Best Books of the Year by People, Chicago Tribune, NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kirkus Reviews, The Toronto Sun.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch
Publication Date: 2011
Discussion Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
After the untimely death of her sister, Nina Sankovitch kept her mind busy by dashing from one activity to another. Then on her forty-sixth birthday, she started reading a book a day and discovered the joy, healing, and wisdom.