Expertise Provided By: Maureen Corrigan, “National Public Radio”

Dept. of Speculation

by Jenny Offill

A young woman struggles with marriage and motherhood in Offill’s non-traditional narrative. “Fragmented chapters and looping monologues accord with our heroine’s shell-shocked frame of mind.”

Florence Gordon

by Brian Morton

A 75-year-old feminist icon finds literary acclaim late in life, embarks on her first-ever book tour, an adventure featuring encounters with admirers and detractors.

Dear Committee Members

by Julie Schumacher

A “classic academic farce” for the 21st century, composed of recommendation letters written by a jaded college professor of literature.


by Ben Lerner

Set in New York between the two recent hurricanes – Irene and Sandy – Lerner’s “dazzling writing connects and collapses these and other storylines into a rich and strange novel of ideas.”

Let Me Be Frank with You

by Richard Ford

The fourth novel chronicling the rollercoaster life of famed fictional character Frank Bascombe finds the aging sportswriter confronting retirement and mortality.

Something Rich and Strange

by Ron Rash

A collection of 34 “spectacular” short stories set in Appalachia and written over a 20-year period by Rash, a master of the form.

The Paying Guests

by Sarah Waters

Set in London in the 1920s, a young woman and her mother are forced to open their home to lodgers, and passion takes up residence as well.

All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

This “magical adventure novel” features a blind French girl, her father, a priceless diamond, and Nazis, conjuring up comparisons to the work of Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas.

The Secret Place

by Tana French

The fifth in the Dublin Murder Squad mystery series, set in a female prep school with some very mean girls.

Deep Down Dark

by Hector Tobar

The riveting real-life story of the 33 Chilean mine workers rescued in 2010 after 69 days underground, in the mode of Jon Krakauer’s Mt. Everest classic Into Thin Air.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

by Roz Chast

Famed New Yorker cartoonist’s graphic memoir is “the most profound meditation yet written on the trials of caring for aging parents…”

The Empire of Necessity

by Greg Grandin

Historian Grandin, author of Fordlandia, the quixotic effort by Henry Ford to build a Utopia in the Brazilian rain forest, tackles the slave trade in a “wonder” of a book about human horror and degradation.

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