What to Read this Month: December 2018

As we head into the end of the semester and the holidays, you may be looking for something new to read!  Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good titles.  And if you are traveling, don’t forget about our Overdrive collection for e-books you can easily download to your devices.


84K by Claire North.  The penalty for Dani Cumali’s murder: £84,000.  Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office.  He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.  These days, there’s no need to go to prison – provided that you can afford to pay the penalty for the crime you’ve committed.  If you’re rich enough, you can get away with murder.  But Dani’s murder is different.  When Theo finds her lifeless body, and a hired killer standing over her and calmly calling the police to confess, he can’t let her death become just an entry on a balance sheet.  Someone is responsible.  And Theo is going to find them and make them pay.  You can read reviews here and here.


The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester is an internationally bestselling World War II novel that spans generations, crosses oceans, and proves just how much two young women are willing to sacrifice for love and family.  1940: As the Germans advance upon Paris, young seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee everything she’s ever known.  She’s bound for New York City with her signature gold dress, a few francs, and a dream: to make her mark on the world of fashion.  Present day: Fabienne Bissette journeys to the Met’s annual gala for an exhibit featuring the work of her ailing grandmother – a legend of women’s fashion design.  But as Fabienne begins to learn more about her beloved grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and family secrets that will dramatically change her own life.  You can read an interview with the author here.


The Emperor of Shoes: A Novel by Spencer Wise. Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in southern China, where his father runs their family-owned shoe factory.  Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, but as he explores the plant’s vast floors and assembly lines, he comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line.  When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, his sympathies begin to shift.  She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow laborers.  Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?  Deftly plotted and vibrantly drawn, The Emperor of Shoes is a timely meditation on idealism, ambition, father-son rivalry and cultural revolution, set against a vivid backdrop of social and technological change.  You can read a review here, and read an interview here.


The Clockmaker’s Daughter: A Novel by Kate Morton.  In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames.  Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity.  But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.  Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.  Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie?  And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?  You can read reviews here, here, and here.


The invention of Ana by Mikkel Rosengaard (translated by Caroline Waight).  On a rooftop in Brooklyn on a spring night, a young intern and would-be writer, newly arrived from Copenhagen, meets the intriguing Ana Ivan. Clever and funny, with an air of mystery and melancholia, Ana is a performance artist, a mathematician, and a self-proclaimed time traveler.   Before long, the intern finds himself seduced by Ana’s enthralling stories, and Ana also introduces him to her latest artistic endeavor.  Following the astronomical rather than the Gregorian calendar, she is trying to alter her sense of time–an experiment that will lead her to live in complete darkness for one month.  The Invention of Ana blurs the lines between narrative and memory, perception and reality, identity and authenticity.  You can read reviews here and here.

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