Friday, January 18, 2008

Some Great Books You May Have Missed

Recently three New York Times book reviewers (Michiko Kakutani, Janet Maslin, and William Grimes) put together lists of their 10 favorite books, chosen from among those they reviewed during the past year. Among those highlighted in the article “A Year of Books Worth Curling Up With” were. . .

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz: Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love.
  • House of Meetings, by Martin Amis: In 1946, two brothers and a Jewish girl fall into alignment in pogrom-poised Moscow. The fraternal conflict then marinates in Norlag, a slave-labor camp above the Arctic Circle, where a tryst in the coveted House of Meetings will haunt all three lovers long after the brothers are released.
  • Away, by Amy Bloom: When Lillian's family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, she comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York's Lower East Side, to Seattle's Jazz District, and up to Alaska.
  • Find Me, by Carol O’Connell: Tough-as-nails detective Mallory follows a serial murder from her own apartment building to the desert heart of Route 66, where she finds a procession of mourners searching for their missing children.


  • When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa, by Peter Godwin: A brilliant memoir about a son's return to Africa to uncover the secrets of his family and his home. Bearing witness to Zimbabwe's dramatic spiral downwards, Godwin discovers why Africa was his father's sanctuary from another identity and why his family chose to stay amidst the chaos.
  • Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal, by Ben Macintyre: Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.
  • Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, by Pauline W. Chen: Final Exam follows Chen over the course of her education, training, and practice, as she grapples with the problem of mortality, and struggles to reconcile the lessons of her training with her innate knowledge of shared humanity.
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson: Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk-- a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn't get a teaching job or a doctorate-- became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe.

[Click on each title to view that item in the catalog and to place a hold.]

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