Jessica Chiarella’s adult science-fiction novel And Again tells the story of four terminally ill patients who are given the chance to start a new life in genetically perfected versions of their bodies.
However, each of the protagonists struggle with their identities when they receive the transplant: Hannah, an artist, has to re-learn how to hold a brush; David, who was a Congressman, struggles to not return to his vices; Connie, who worked as an actress, has to navigate an industry that is obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda has to learn how to re-connect with her family.
Chiarella forces you to muse on when it is appropriate to draw the line with scientific advances. Is it morally okay to clone humans if you are going to use the technology to save the lives of terminally ill patients?
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, February 15th, 2016||No Comments »|
Colm Toibin’s seventh novel Nora Webster is a deeply moving piece about how treacherous the waters of grief are and the constant struggle to find hope in our lives. The heroine of the story is a widow named Nora Webster who lives in Wexford, Ireland. At the age of 40, she’s lost her husband Maurice and now has to come to terms with the fact that she’s lost her best friend, as well as her emotional numbness to her children’s suffering. Despite her grief, Nora slowly learns to become an independent woman thanks to the power of her singing voice and reconnects with her children. While she may mourn the loss of Maurice, Nora is able to start a new chapter in her life.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014||No Comments »|
Jane Smiley’s novel Some Luck follows an American farm family over the course of three generations and explores the encroaching effect of urbanization on the family’s way of life.
Walter and Rosanna Langdon run a farm in Denby, Iowa and have tried to pass on their generations-old ideals to their five children: stubborn Frank, animal-loving Joe, the angelic Lillian, Henry the bookworm, and Claire, who is a true “Daddy’s girl.” Smiley allows her you to get an intimate look at the Langdon family’s triumphs and sorrows as each of the five children grow up in the first half of the 20th century and struggle to come to terms with the monumental changes that are occurring in society.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, November 11th, 2014||No Comments »|
Keith Donohue’s novel The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a terrifying psychological thriller that explores the thin line between fantasy and reality.
Ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan is deathly afraid to step foot outdoors ever since he almost drowned three years ago. Now, Jack spends every waking moment of his life drawing monsters, but his mother grows concerned that a ghost could be haunting him when she starts hearing strange sounds coming from the ocean. Mrs. Keenan seeks help from a Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, but things only get worse when Jack’s BFF Nick gets caught up in his buddy’s warped sense of reality.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, November 6th, 2014||No Comments »|
Matthew Thomas’s heartbreaking novel We Are Not Ourselves deals with a family battling early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in the years after WWII. The protagonist is Eileen Leary, whose husband Ed is diagnosed with the dreaded disease. After growing up around family members who were alcoholics, Eileen pushes her scientist husband into climbing the social ladder, but after a doctor confirms his diagnosis, her expectations fall apart.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, September 30th, 2014||No Comments »|
Rainbow Rowell’s novel Landline revolves around a failed comedy writer named Georgie McCool who is given another chance to either stay with her husband Neal or finally be with her best friend and writing partner Seth.
When McCool’s cell phone dies, she plugs in an old rotary phone that magically links her to the past. When she attempts to call her husband, McCool quickly realizes that she’s talking with college-aged Neal, who is contemplating breaking up with her past self. Over the course of the novel, as McCool talks with her husband’s past self, she remembers why she fell in love with him in the first place, but the couple must decide if love is enough to sustain their relationship or if McCool would be better off with Seth.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, August 14th, 2014||No Comments »|
Rhiannon Frater’s adult novel The First Days, the first book in the As the World Dies trilogy, revolves around two vastly different young women who must become friends in order to survive the zombie onslaught.
Katie, who manages to grab her dog, a gun, and steal a truck, meets Jenni while fleeing from her abusive husband who had turned into a zombie and was devouring their two children. The two become fast friends and watch each other’s backs as they fight zombies and meet up with other survivors, although there’s plenty of in-fighting as the refugees squabble amongst each other even as the walking dead close in around them from all sides.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, August 7th, 2014||No Comments »|