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If You Like Barbara Kingsolver

  • If You Like Barbara Kingsolver

“Barbara Kingsolver’s evocative prose appeals to readers of fiction and nonfiction, whether they are looking for strong-willed characters, fascinating stories, or lucid observations on the natural world. Her fiction features strong women who carve out places for themselves in new communities. Kingsolver’s knowledge of the environment is prominent in her fiction and provides the foundation for most of her nonfiction. She enjoys exploring how humans can live in both harmony and conflict with nature, treating all with a conversational warmth and gentle humor.” NoveList Description

If You Like Barbara Kingsolver, You Might Like…

In the Time of the Butterflies

Julia Alvarez

The 25th Anniversary Edition of the Classic Novel With a New Postscript by Julia Alvarez It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.” In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé—speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.

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Joy School

Elizabeth Berg

In this exquisite new novel by bestselling writer Elizabeth Berg, a young woman falls in love -- and learns how sorrow can lead to an understanding of joy. Katie, the narrator, has relocated to Missouri with her distant, occasionally abusive father, and she feels very much alone: her much-loved mother is dead; her new school is unaccepting of her; and her only friends fall far short of being ideal companions. When she accidentally falls through the ice while skating, she meets Jimmy. He is handsome, far older than she, and married, but she is entranced. As their relationship unfolds, so too does Katie's awareness of the pain and intensity first love can bring. Beautifully written in Berg's irresistible voice, Joy School portrays the soaring happiness of real love, the deep despair one can feel when it goes unrequited, and the stubbornness of hope that will not let us let go. Here also is recognition that love can come in many forms and offer many different things. Joy School illuminates, too, how the things that hurt the most can sometimes teach us the lessons that really matter. About Durable Goods, Elizabeth Berg's first novel, Andre Dubus said, "Elizabeth Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems." The same will be said of Joy School, Elizabeth Berg's most luminous novel to date. From the Hardcover edition.

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Midwives

Chris Bohjalian

A contemporary classic that has sold more than two million copies and was a selection of Oprah's original Book Club, Midwives is a compulsively readable novel that explores questions of human responsibility that are as fundamental to our society now as they were when the book was first published twenty years ago. On an icy winter night in an isolated house in rural Vermont, a seasoned midwife named Sibyl Danforth takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency cesarean section on a mother she believes has died of stroke. But what if—as Sibyl's assistant later charges—the patient wasn't already dead? The ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt, forcing Sibyl to face the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience. Exploring the complex and emotional decisions surrounding childbirth, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.

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Forgotten Country

Catherine Chung

A Booklist Top 10 First Novels of 2012 pick A Bookpage Best Books of 2012 pick “A richly emotional portrait of a family that had me spellbound from page one.”—Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Wild The night before Janie’s sister, Hannah, is born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, and Janie is told to keep Hannah safe. Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie goes to find her. Thus begins a journey that will force her to confront her family’s painful silence, the truth behind her parents’ sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and her own conflicted feelings toward Hannah. Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

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Little Bee

Chris Cleave

The lives of a sixteen-year-old Nigerian orphan and a well-off British woman collide in this page-turning #1 New York Times bestseller and book club favorite from Chris Cleave. We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t. And it’s what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

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The Last Midwife

Sandra Dallas

It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town, where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn’t imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides. But everything changes when a baby is found dead...and the evidence points to Gracy as the murderer. She didn’t commit the crime, but clearing her name isn’t so easy when her innocence is not quite as simple, either. She knows things, and that’s dangerous. Invited into her neighbors’ homes during their most intimate and vulnerable times, she can’t help what she sees and hears. A woman sometimes says things in the birthing bed, when life and death seem suspended within the same moment. Gracy has always tucked those revelations away, even the confessions that have cast shadows on her heart. With her friends taking sides and a trial looming, Gracy must decide whether it's worth risking everything to prove her innocence. And she knows that her years of discretion may simply demand too high a price now...especially since she's been keeping more than a few dark secrets of her own. With Sandra Dallas’s incomparable gift for creating a sense of time and place and characters that capture your heart, The Last Midwife tells the story of family, community, and the secrets that can destroy and unite them.

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The Maytrees

Annie Dillard

Toby Maytree first sees Lou Bigelow on her bicycle in postwar Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her laughter and loveliness catch his breath. Maytree is a Provincetown native, an educated poet of thirty. As he courts Lou, just out of college, her stillness draws him. Hands-off, he hides his serious wooing, and idly shows her his poems. In spare, elegant prose, Dillard traces the Maytrees' decades of loving and longing. They live cheaply among the nonconformist artists and writers that the bare tip of Cape Cod attracts. When their son Petie appears, their innocent Bohemian friend Deary helps care for him. But years later it is Deary who causes the town to talk. In this moving novel, Dillard intimately depicts willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love. She presents nature's vastness and nearness. Warm and hopeful, The Maytrees is the surprising capstone of Dillard's original body of work.

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A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman

Margaret Drabble

Short fiction from “a fastidious chronicler of the vagaries of women’s lives in England since the early nineteen-sixties” (Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker). In stories that explore marriage, female friendships, the English tourist abroad, love affairs with houses, peace demonstrations, gin and tonics, cultural TV programs, and more, Margaret Drabble showcases her insight into the lives of women. This decade-spanning collection not only reveals how the female experience has—and hasn’t—changed; it also demonstrates the talent that has earned Drabble multiple literary honors, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and a Golden PEN Award, and made her “one of the United Kingdom’s finest contemporary fiction writers” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

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Absalom, Absalom!

William Faulkner

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” —William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom! is Faulkner’s epic tale of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who comes to Jefferson, Mississippi, in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, “who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him.” From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Ape House

Sara Gruen

From the author of Water for Elephants comes the story of a family of bonobo apes that is violently torn from their laboratory by animal liberation activists and placed on a TV reality show. Like Gruen's phenomenal bestseller Water for Elephants, this novel explores humans' relationships with animals and shows that animals have much to teach people about what it means to be human.

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Your Oasis on Flame Lake

Lorna Landvik

In the sleepy town of White Falls, Minnesota, Cadillac salesman Dick Lindstrom realizes his dream when he opens Your Oasis on Flame Lake, a tiny cabaret club in his tastefully furnished basement

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The History of Bees

Maja Lunde

“Imagine The Leftovers, but with honey” (Elle), and in the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this “spectacular and deeply moving” (Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author) novel follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees—and to their children and one another—against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis. England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins “the past, the present, and a terrifying future in a riveting story as complex as a honeycomb” (New York Times bestselling author Bryn Greenwood) that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.

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Too Much Happiness

Alice Munro

An international literary event: Ten new stories from a beloved and award-winning author. This stunning collection of new stories demonstrates once again why Alice Munro is celebrated as a pre-eminent master of the short story. While some of the stories are traditional, set in “Alice Munro Country” in Ontario or in B.C., dealing with ordinary women’s lives, others have a new, sharper edge. They involve child murders, strange sex, and a terrifying home invasion. By way of astonishing variety, the title story, set in Victorian Europe, follows the last journey from France to Sweden of a famous Russian mathematician. This daring, superb collection proves that Alice Munro will always surprise you. From the Hardcover edition.

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Sing You Home

Jodi Picoult

Ten years of infertility issues culminate in the destruction of music therapist Zoe Baxter's marriage, after which she falls in love with another woman, Vanessa, and wants to start a family; but her ex-husband, Max, under the influence of an anti-gay pastor, stands in the way. Reprint.

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Empire Falls

Richard Russo

Miles Roby tries to hold his family together while working at the Empire Grill in the once-successful logging town of Empire Falls while dealing with the imperious Mrs. Whiting, the heir to a faded logging and textile legacy, in this evocative novel by the author of Nobody's Fool. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 150,000 first printing.

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Madame Mirabou’s School of Love

Barbara Samuel

Sometimes real passion means living the life you’ve always wanted. Nicole Bridges still can’t believe she’s taken up residence in a Colorado apartment complex nicknamed “Splitsville.” She’s still reeling from her husband’s affair, a divorce she never saw coming, and having to leave the upscale, comfortable world she helped make for her ex and their teenage daughter. With little money, even less work experience, and no idea what to do next, she takes tentative steps–if only to keep her head above water. Along the way, Nikki unexpectedly finds herself falling in with eccentric new neighbors–and being seduced out of her funk by a charming, elusive ex-Londoner. And through her delight in the sensual elements of perfume, she will discover the courage to form bonds she never imagined. When a discarded flyer printed with the name “Madame Mirabou” provides the spark of inspiration, Nikki dares to blend the fragments of her life into a fragrance that’s uniquely and passionately her own. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Saints for All Occasions

J. Courtney Sullivan

A NATIONAL BESTSELLER A New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017 "This year’s best book about family." —Ron Charles, The Washington Post A sweeping, unforgettable novel from The New York Times best-selling author of Maine, about the hope, sacrifice, and love between two sisters and the secret that drives them apart. Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she's shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn't sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan—a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, quietly preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora's favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago. A graceful, supremely moving novel from one of our most beloved writers, Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.

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The Soldier’s Wife

Joanna Trollope

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LOVE AND DUTY COLLIDE? DAN RILEY IS A MAJOR IN THE BRITISH ARMY. After a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, he is coming home to the wife and young daughters he adores. He’s up for promotion and his ex-Army grandfather and father couldn’t be prouder. The Rileys are united in support of Dan’s passion for his career. But are they really? His wife, Alexa, has been offered a good teaching job she can’t take because the Army may move the family at any time. Her daughter Isabel hates her boarding school—the only good educational option for Army families—and starts running away. And Dan spends all his time on the base, unable to break the strong bonds forged with his friends in battle. Soon everyone who knows the Rileys is trying to help them save their marriage, but it’s up to Alexa to decide if she can sacrifice her needs and those of her family to support Dan’s commitment to his work. With her trademark intelligence and grace, Joanna Trollope illuminates the complexities of modern life in this story of a family striving to balance duty and ambition.

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Clock Dance

Anne Tyler

A bewitching new novel of family and self-discovery from the bestselling, award-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread. Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother, yet the prospect is dimming. So, when Willa receives a phone call from a stranger, telling her that her son's ex-girlfriend has been shot, she drops everything and flies across the country to Baltimore. The impulsive decision to look after this woman and her nine-year-old daughter will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors, plunged into the rituals that make a community a family and forced to find solace in unexpected places. A bittersweet, probing novel of hope and grief, fulfillment and renewal, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

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