Posts tagged with "contemporary fiction"

Posted by Pam S on 06/02/13
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It has been six years since the release of Khaled Hosseini's best sellers A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) and The Kite Runner (2003) and many fans, including myself, have awaited his next novel.  Hosseini's new release, And the Mountains Echoed is a compelling story about love, loss, family and acceptance. I confess that I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. engrossed in this epic novel that spans generations and countries from Afghanistan to the United States.
 
The book unfolds in a way that feels like a variety of short stories with multiple characters. At times it can be a little confusing, but in the end the author weaves all the different stories together. In this clip, Khaled Hosseini talks about the many themes of the novel and his inspiration for writing the book.
 
This book will make you think about how a single act or event can reverberate or "echo" for generations to come. If you have read Hosseini's previous books or you are looking for a new thought-provoking novel, this is a great choice.
 

Posted by jlasky on 01/11/18
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Migrants trudging through water carrying babies is an image of migration that we are used to seeing in the media. One may forget that those fleeing civil unrest can be young professionals willing to seek a future even if it means leaving loved ones behind. Mohsin Hamid tells such a saga in his critically acclaimed book ”Exit West”.

Hamid tells a lyrical tale of young Saeed and Nadia who meet and fall in love just in time to gain the courage to flee their homeland. The country they leave is never named, it could be anywhere that civil war, power and corruption are threatening citizens. With the blessing of their families, and promises to stay together until they reach safety, they embark on an unknown journey. They follow their instincts through ‘mystical doors’ of escape and opportunity , that they hear whispered about in the immigration camps they land in around the world. The prose is beautiful as it lays in contrast to the horrors and upheaval of escape.

It is a slim, quick read that moves along through harsh realities, opportunities, hopes &  dreams . Short –listed for The Man Booker Prize in 2017, “Exit West” is impactful and sheds a unique perspective on the story of migration and immigration.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/19/11
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Strange and lovely, as it is quirky and bizarre. This book layers metaphors and meanings in such a way that it all comes together in the end. Makes you laugh and think.

Posted by jlasky on 06/11/18
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Dreading his 50th birthday, and receiving an invitation to the wedding of the love of his life, as well as a manuscript rejection, Arthur Less embarks on a madcap world tour. In order to escape the heartbreak of becoming a lonely, failed middle age writer, Arthur decides to accept random literary invitations, many of which even a mid-level writer would not consider. From Paris, Morocco, Berlin, Southern India, and Japan, through his mishaps and adventures, he finds some hope and surprises, as well as a new look at humanity.
 
 Andrew Sean Greer uses a mysterious narrator and lyrical sentences to tell this humorous, character driven love story. You will be utterly charmed by Arthur, and may even see a bit of yourself in him. 

A recent Pulitzer Prize winner, as well as the June pick for the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club, Less is a perfect summer read.

Posted by jlasky on 02/01/18
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Shanti Sekaran isn’t afraid to wade into such private, painful and politicized topics as infertility, immigration, family, childbirth, and adoption. In Lucky Boy, we navigate the lives of Kavya and her husband Rishi, living in Berkeley Ca. They are desperately trying to have a child, both to fulfill their own desires as well as their family’s expectations back in India. In contrast, there is Soli, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who struggles to keep her head above water as a single mother in a foreign land. A simple mistake wreaks havoc in her already fragile life.

Their parallel paths heartbreakingly intertwine, as they struggle to navigate US social systems, as well as  keeping their families together.

Lucky Boy is a thoughtfully written story that takes you deep into the layers of these hopeful young lives. Sekaran carefully crafts her characters who have similar dreams and wishes, but like all of us, never know what pain they may have to endure to achieve them. Both sides of these hot button issues have convincing arguments but no clear answers.
Lucky Boy will appeal to readers who lean toward books with empathetic, multiple perspectives. This book will have you wanting both sides of this struggle to emerge victorious, and may have you looking through a new lens at some of these issues.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 04/07/11
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Weird, funny, unsettling, and intense. Meeks is a post-modern fairy tale filled with unreasonable laws, bizarre characters and the feeling that there is something deeply true nestled in the surreal landscape Julia Holmes has painted. A great companion read to one of my former blog-posts, Light Boxes.

Posted by jdunc on 05/22/15
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Debut author Shanna Mahin offers a fascinating a peek behind the silver screen of Hollywood’s rich and famous or at least their B list stars in Oh! You Pretty Things. Jess is in her late twenties, divorced, and working in a coffee shop. As a former childhood actress herself, she is fascinated with Hollywood, but hides behind her sarcasm. She lives in an apartment in Santa Monica with her best friend Megan, a C list actress who is pretty down to earth. While trying to get her life on track, she is also dealing with her unreliable mother and the history of their tumultuous relationship.
 
Jess stumbles into a personal assistant job for a recluse composer which eventually leads to a job with Eva, one of Hollywood’s up and coming TV stars. Jess must cater to Eva’s every whim and mood swing. One moment she wants to be best friends and the next she ices her out. Mahin provides excellent descriptions of the crazy lives of the famous. I particularly loved the description of the show that Eva puts on when eating in public; onion rings, ice cream, etc. She takes one elaborate bite while people are watching and but will not eat for the rest of the day. Jess thinks being a part of Eva’s life will only help her, but she realizes that it is hard to have a real relationship with a professional actress.
 
Fans of the Devil Wears Prada, will appreciate a similar tale set in Hollywood.
 

Posted by Pam S on 05/24/11
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Ma and five-year old Jack seem to have a typical life together . . .they watch t.v., play word games, read books, tell stories, sing songs.  Except for one huge difference.  Ma and Jack are being held captive together in an 11 foot by 11 foot room where they live day after day.   Ma was kidnapped when she was 19 years old and has been imprisoned in a garden shed for 7 years and she is doing her best to craft a normal life for her son, Jack despite the horrible conditions.  Room is the only world Jack has ever known and when this world suddenly expands for both Ma and Jack they must learn what freedom really means and how to live in the outside world.  Despite the disturbing premise of this book, it is a great book.  The narration is told from Jack's viewpoint and the five year old voice gives the novel a very different and interesting perspective than if it were told from Ma's viewpoint.  This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 06/02/11
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When 16-year old, Nora, goes missing on Halloween it permanently changes the lives of her sister and the boys of the neighborhood. As these teens grow into adulthood and have families of their own, they are still haunted by the disappearance of the girl. Unanswered questions, emptiness and a feeling of what might have been pervades this bittersweet novel. Hannah Pittard currently teaches fiction writing at DePaul University, Chicago.

Posted by dnapravn on 12/15/13
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I can't remember the last time a debut novel made me smile as much as this one did. With characters that are appealing and quirky, The Rosie Project made me laugh out loud at times and wish that it was way longer than 295 pages.
 
Don Tillman is a socially awkward and brilliant professor of genetics. He freely admits that he only has two friends in the world and decides that it is high time to find himself a wife. So of course he goes about the task in the way he does everything: in an extremely logical and orderly manner. He develops a sixteen-page scientifically based survey and refers to it as The Wife Project. While he has never even had a second date before, he is convinced that his survey will find him the perfect partner, filtering out all of the smokers, drinkers, vegans, and women who habitually show up late to things.
 
When he meets Rosie, an unconventional and outgoing bartender, he doesn't even have to administer the survey to realize that she does not qualify as a candidate for his wife. Yet as he helps her try to identify her biological father and finds his very ordered life being turned upside-down, he can't deny that there is something very appealing about her. And truthfully, is the person who is perfect on paper always the right person for you?

 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy