Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani continues her series of Italo-American family capers. In this outing, star-struck cad-driver Nicky has been moonlighting from the family cab company at the local theater company. A family meltdown and romantic complications follows. But no drama, please. This is a ”delightfully sprawling comedy of extended families, in all their cocooning warmth and suffocating expectations.” Nina George, who made a name for herself with The Little Paris Bookshop, is back with The Little French Bistro. The titular establishment is on the coast of France, where a would-be suicide wanders in, is charmed by the eccentric clientele, and finds eventually, a reason to live.
Ginny Moon, the title character in Benjamin Ludwig’s artful debut, is autistic. Her adoptive parents need Ginny to be on good behavior since they are expecting a child. Instead, Ginny grows more difficult as she becomes obsessed with finding her abusive birth mom. In Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, a socially awkward office worker’s life takes a turn when she and the Office IT guy help an elderly man who collapses in the street. This “charmer” is “satisfyingly quirky” (NYT). In Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, Patrick Phaedra weaves a tale about a sad older man whose life gets a jump start when the teenage daughter of his estranged brother shows up from America on his doorstep. In The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green, B-movie star Ronni Sunshine left show biz to raise a family –and never let her daughters forget it. Now on in years, she calls them home. But will they come?
In A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee, a widowed veteran of the Great War accepts a post with the imperial police force in 1919 Calcutta. Tensions rise when the body of a British official is found with a note stuffed in his mouth demanding that the British leave India. The nuanced relationship between our hero and his Indian assistant adds depth to this cleverly plotted mystery. Adua by Igiaba Scego, begins with a dilemma. Should a Somali exile return to her war-torn country to claim her ancestral home? “Lovely prose”, “memorable characters” and “though-provoking” situations make this a “moving” read. (Publishers Weekly).
You may not know the names of the authors of these new books at the Nichols Library in Center Harbor, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking them out. In The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman, an idealistic schoolteacher gets her street-artist boyfriend a job with her father’s video game company, despite her profound misgivings about gaming culture. Goodman “probes the meaning and place of art in contemporary culture in her intricate and empathic novel” (Publishers Weekly). The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry begins when a recently widowed women defies Victorian convention by going exploring for the titular serpent. She forms an unlikely friendship with a scholarly vicar; their developing relationship sets the ground for a drama that weaves romance with 19th-century debates about theology and evolution. “The sumptuous twists and turns of Perry’s prose invite close reading” (Kirkus Reviews). Stay tuned for more left field picks.
Themes of identity and loss drive these meaty novels. Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin, a young boy becomes entranced by a ramshackle cottage that a family had disappeared from there 50 years earlier, Marcus seeks answers long buried by time. In The Defectors by Joseph Kanon, a spy. who ruined his brother’s life years ago now asks for help. In Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umriger, an abandoned bi-racial son of a drug-addicted mother enters into foster care and is taken in by David Coleman, a judge from a well-connected family. In Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King, a magical gift transforms the recipient’s like–until curiosity gets the better of her.
Among the latest bestsellers at the Nichols Library: Camino Island by John Grisham gives his crusading attorneys a rest while he spins a tale about a theft of rare books; The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand is about twin sisters Tabitha and Harper, who are so estranged, they even summer on separate islands (Tabitha with mum on Nantucket and Harper and Harper on the Vineyard with poppy); and Dragon Teeth, a posthumously discovered story by the late Michael Crichton, set in the 1800s about a callow young man who takes a bet to join a search for dinosaur bones led by rival paleontologists.
This week, the Nichols Library received 17 inter-library loans. That is the second-most items received in one week (tops was 19). The range of items you all requested was impressive. There were popular novels and thrillers; real-life stories about people, history and historic architecture; classic films on DVD, thrillers and real-life stories on Audio CD and music CDs. Is there an item you want to read, view or listen to that we do not have in our library? There is a good chance we can find it for you through our state-wide network. The New Hampshire State Library’s van comes every Friday with the goods. Can we go for twenty?