Are you looking for What To Read Next? Are you thinking, “I don’t want just an ‘Eh’ book, I want an AWESOME book.” Well, check out the list below of our reader’s favorite books- this list is continually updated to give you some fantastic book recommendations! Your contemporaries are truly your best resource.
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Descriptions of the books are from amazon.com.
The Paying Guests- by Sarah Waters
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be
The Paris Architect- by Charles Belfoure
In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money – and maybe get him killed. But if he’s clever enough, he’ll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won’t find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can’t resist. But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what’s at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we’ll go to make things right.
The Narrow Road To The Deep North– by Richard Flanagan
From the author of the acclaimed Gould’s Book of Fish, a magisterial novel of love and war that traces the life of one man from World War II to the present. August, 1943: Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. His life, in a brutal Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, is a daily struggle to save the men under his command. Until he receives a letter that will change him forever. A savagely beautiful novel about the many forms of good and evil, of truth and transcendence, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.
The Children’s Act- by Ian McEwan
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude, and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.
Brooklyn – by Colm Toibin
One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
Constellation Of Vital Phenomena – byAnthony Marra
In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.
” The perfect book for parents who want — NEED — to laugh, but don’t have time to sit down and read a daunting book. Grab it, head to the bathroom and lock the door until they find you!” — Jill Smokler, author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy.
The Edge Of Eternity- by Ken Follet
Century Trilogy follows the fortunes of five intertwined families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they make their way through the twentieth century. It has been called “potent, engrossing” (Publishers Weekly) and “truly epic” (Huffington Post). USA Today said, “You actually feel like you’re there.” Edge of Eternity, the finale, covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, encompassing civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll
An Unnecessary Woman- by Rabih Alemeddine
Recommended by Ronna. Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family’s “unnecessary appendage.” Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read—by anyone. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya’s digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya’s own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.
Redeployment- by Phil Klay
Recommended by Ronna. Phil Klay’s Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.
Station Eleven- by Emily St. John Mandel
Recommended by Ronna. An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell– by Nadia Hashimi.
Recommended by Tova. Set in Afghanistan during 2007. So that she may attend school, a young girl’s mother allows her to become a bacha posh, a custom that allows a young girl to dress and be treated as a male until she becomes of marriageable age. She is not the first female in the family to do so. “Crisscrossing over time it interweaves the stories of two remarkable women separated by a century but share the same courage and dream.”
This Is How You Say Goodbye– by Victoria Loustalot.
Recommended by Susan B. A razor-sharp memoir in which a young woman travels to Cambodia, Stockholm, and Paris to overcome the legacy of her difficult and charismatic father.
The Rosie Project– by Graeme Simsion.
Recommended by Mimi. The art of love is never a science. Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner, despite his best scientific efforts, he finds that you don’t find love, it finds you.
All The Light We Cannot See– Anthony Doerr.
Recommended by Mimi. From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry– by Rachel Joyce.
Recommended by Boo. Boo says “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is the most delightful book which is original, touching and compelling, yet gentle and delicate at the same time. It is the story of a retired man who walks from one end of England to the other, believing that this will save the life of an ex-colleague. Despite him being utterly unprepared, I found myself willing him on to the end of his journey, and loved very chapter as more revelations were made. This book creeps up on you as you turn the pages – definitely worthwhile.”
The Orphan Train– by Christina Baker Kline (recommended by Susan and Ann).
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
The Forgotten Seamstress– by Liz Trenow (Recommended by Sue and Ann). Page-turning and heartbreaking, The Forgotten Seamstress weaves together past and present in an unforgettable journey.
The Kitchen House– by Kathleen Grissom (recommended by Ann and Margo). In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.
The House Girl– by Tara Conklin (recommended by Ann). This historical fiction debut by Tara Conklin is an unforgettable story of love, history, and a search for justice, set in modern-day New York and 1852 Virginia.
A Fine Balance– by Rohinton Mistry (recommended by Ann). With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.
The Lace Reader– by Brunonia Barry (recommended by Margo). The Lace Reader, is a haunting and remarkable tale told by an unforgettable, if strangely unreliable narrator—a woman from an enigmatic Salem family who can foretell the future in patterns of lace.
A Hundred Summers– by Beatriz Williams (recommended by Reesa). As a cataclysmic hurricane churns north through the Atlantic, and uneasy secrets slowly reveal themselves, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional storm that will change their worlds forever…
I Am Pilgrim– by Terry Hayes (recommended by Sharon). This astonishing debut espionage thriller depicts the collision course between two geniuses, one a tortured hero and one a determined terrorist, in a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest.
The Language Of Flowers– by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (recommended by Sharon). The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them…
The Husbands Secret– by Liane Moriarty (recommended by Rose). Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . .
Six Years– by Harlan Coben (recommended by Rose). Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. So when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for….But she is not Natalie. Soon Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart puts his very life at risk, as he uncovers the secrets and lies that love can hide….
The Light Between Oceans– by M.L. Stedman (recommended by Suzanne). After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby…
Hard Choices– by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Secretary Clinton’s descriptions of diplomatic conversations at the highest levels offer readers a master class in international relations, as does her analysis of how we can best use “smart power” to deliver security and prosperity in a rapidly changing world…
The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P.– by Adelle Waldman (recommended by Ronna, who says this book is “an inside look into the modern dating scene of our adult kids written from a young man’s point of view- it’s a bit disturbing.”) With tough-minded intelligence and wry good humor The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is an absorbing tale of one young man’s search for happiness—and an inside look at how he really thinks about women, sex and love.
The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian – by Sherman Alexie. The Absolute True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian, is a young adult book, which BA50 partner Ronna Benjamin loved. It is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.