I went to the library this afternoon, to return some books and to see what else I could find. This was possibly the most fruitful library-going trip I've had in a long time! I got several books I'd been wanting to read but hadn't been able to get my hands on for a while, so that is a good feeling, and discovered a few new ones by authors whose work I'd read and liked in the past.
This is what I got, in no particular order: (all book descriptions are from Powell's.)
March, by Geraldine Brooks. She wrote Year of Wonders, which I had heard was good, so when I saw this book I picked it up. "In her follow-up to Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks has taken historical fiction to another dimension altogether. Using America's Civil War as her frame, she plants a famous (but deeply mysterious) literary figure at its center: Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's classic, Little Women. The result is a wholly original novel, a rich re-imagining of the nation's political and literary foundations, and arguably Brooks's finest work to date. Dave, Powells.com"
The Winter Mantle, by Elizabeth Chadwick. I recently read her book Shadows and Strongholds and loved it. "Blending real historical characters and situations, Elizabeth Chadwick's latest novel takes readers back in time to life and love in the 11th century. William the Conqueror returns to Normandy for a visit, bringing with him 21-year-old Waltheof who attracts the attentions of William's niece."
The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis. Last time I was at the library, this wasn't in, so I was pleased to see it on the new book shelf today. I read the books as a child and have been wanting to re-read them, even before the movie came out.
Oh My Stars, by Lorna Landvik. I enjoyed her chick-lit-ish book Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, so this caught my eye and I picked it up. "Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she’s hired by the town’s sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell. Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet’s expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together."
Summerland, by Michael Chabon. I'd heard a lot about this book and wanted to read it for a while. It was near the Elizabeth Chadwick book on the shelf, so I picked it up. "Following the death of his mother, a boy moves with this father to an island, where a mystical baseball scout recruits him for a special mission and escorts him through a gateway to a series of interconnected worlds. In a starred review, PW said that the author hits a high-flying home run, creating a vivid fantasy where baseball is king."
The Wonder Spot, by Melissa Bank. I enjoyed her book The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, and had been wanting to read this one for a while, so I grabbed it when I saw it on the new book display. "Bank is back with a new protagonist and a funny, moving, and utterly unforgettable look at a family on the brink of change. Sophie Applebaum, the young woman at the center of The Wonder Spot, never fits neatly into any description of who she might be: she's Jewish but lacks religious feeling; she's a book lover but a mediocre student; she's impetuous in love but isn't sure whom or if she wants to marry."
Until I Find You, by John Irving. I adore John Irving. A Prayer for Owen Meany is among my favorite books ever, and I'd been wanting to read this newest novel by him since it came out last year. However, a long waiting list deterred me from putting my name in at the time, so when I saw it today after I'd already checked my books out, I grabbed it and got back in line to check it out, too. "Until I Find You is the story of the actor Jack Burns – his life, loves, celebrity and astonishing search for the truth about his parents."