Superior Reads

A PLACE FOR READERS AND WRITERS

THE WHALEBONE THEATRE is a stunning debut – full of adventure and intrigue, Dickensian characters, and a mildewed mansion on the seaside. Joanna Quinn sets the stage for an immersive read, an escape from the doldrums of winter.

Geye writes with a musicality that soars above the complex plot of The Ski Jumpers. The novel moves back and forth in time and place – moving from Duluth, where Jon and his wife currently live, to the North Woods of Minnesota where he visits his daughter and her partner, and to Minneapolis, where Jon and his brother Anton grew up skiing in Theodore Wirth Park and jumping from the Highland Ski Jump in Bloomington. If you’re a fan of arresting family dramas with a bit of a twist, complex and provocative characters, breathtaking landscapes wrapped in luminous prose, The Ski Jumpers is your next read.

Whether Dani Shapiro is writing fiction or memoir, her writing is always reflective and wise. Signal Fires, her first novel in fifteen years, follows on the heels of her poignant memoir Inheritance, and, like that memoir, examines the complexities of family relationships and the secrets that bind them together and tear them apart. Signal Fires …

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Lee is one of a handful of American journalists who have been granted a visa to North Korea since the Korean War. Her book is carefully researched and the sections on Yungman’s early life in Korea, as well as his return, are layered with historical truths and emotional impact. It isn’t an easy thing to sustain momentum in a four hundred plus page book, but Lee’s ending is pitch-perfect and will resonate with readers for a long time.

O’Farrell follows Agnes into the woods, into the field, and into the depths of her despair. Her writing is lyrical and layered, her characters are complex, and their relationships are complicated. There will be no easy passageway through this grief, and dear reader, you should be forewarned to have a tissue within reach, but you will be carried along by a mother’s love and a father’s remorse. “There will be no going back,” O’Farrell writes, “Time only runs in one direction.”

Dunbar’s writing is evocative and as lush as the forest. Structured in four segments: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer, we watch Elsa flail and falter and then grow in strength and confidence as each season passes. THE NET BENEATH US is about the promises we make and keep – to ourselves and to others – and the profound work of grief – how it cleaves us in two and yet, we live, allowing the days and months and years that pass bind us back together, the two halves of a split trunk like the before times and the after times, joined in the middle by the heartwood.

During a time when laws protecting a woman’s body autonomy are being threatened, reading Allende’s book reminds me that throughout history, women have exhibited great strength and resolve, and when banded together, are a force to be reckoned with.

Bonnie Garmus has created characters that mock convention. Elizabeth Zott defies authority, not on principal, but on practicality. She sees the world through safety goggles while her male counterparts just wish she’d put on the rose-colored glasses, form-fitting Donna-Reed dress, and sell the canned soup on Supper at Six. But everything in Elizabeth’s world boils down to science – including making her coffee at home with a Bunsen burner and turning her home kitchen into a lab. You’ll fall in love with her dog, Six-Thirty, one of the most astute and intelligent four-legged narrators in fiction today; Mad, her precocious daughter, who reads Nabokov at the age of five, and interrupts show and tell to ask her kindergarten teacher how she can join the Freedom Fighters in Nashville; and her friend and neighbor Harriet, whom after watching Elizabeth stand up to injustice, finds the courage to leave her alcoholic and abusive husband.