Short List of Titles for Consideration
Last year, our community came together to read, discuss, and celebrate Harper Lee's classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” We hope you loved it as much as we did!
Since we chose a classic last year, we decided that we wanted to do a contemporary book this year. We began by asking the entire staff of the library and the members of the library's Adult Book Group to submit suggestions for recent titles that were appropriate for readers down to the high school level, and would lend themselves to discussion and programming. There were many fantastic suggestions, including fiction, non-fiction, and books appropriate for adults, teens, and children! A panel of 9 librarians ranked the suggestions we received, and from those rankings we arrived at a “short list” of 5 titles.
Here's where you come in: we want members of the community to vote for the book they'd most like to see as our “One Book, One Watertown” selection. This is your chance to make your voice heard. Below are brief descriptions of the books. Once you read through the suggestions, you can pop over to the home page of our Website and VOTE in the One Book, One Watertown poll.
If you want more information, or reviews of the books, check our library's online catalog at http://library.minlib.net/search/ or check the listings at Amazon at www.amazon.com.
For your consideration:
Age of Miracles (Karen Thompson Walker, 2012)
“Quietly explosive … Walker describes global shifts with a sense of
utter realism, but she treats Julia’s personal adolescent upheaval
with equal care, delicacy, and poignancy.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.
“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.” [product description from Amazon.com]
The Art Forger (B.A. Shapiro, 2012)
"Precise and exciting . . . Readers seeking an engaging novel about artists
and art scandals will find “The Art Forger” rewarding for its skillful
balance of brisk plotting, significant emotional depth and a multi-layered
narration rich with a sense of moral consequence.”—The Washington Post
“On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.
Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting—the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner—is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.
Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. it’s a dazzling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.” [product description from Amazon.com]
The Book Thief (Markus Zuzak, 2007)
"Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute
to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de
force to be not just read but inhabited.”—The Horn Book Magazine
“It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.” [product description from Amazon.com]
[This title appropriate for ages 12 and up.]
Wonder (R.J. Palacio, 2012)
"What makes R.J. Palacio's debut novel so remarkable, and so lovely,
is the uncommon generosity with which she tells Auggie's story…The
result is a beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet
transformation.”—The Wall Street Journal
“August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder … begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” [product description from Amazon.com]
[This title appropriate for ages 8 and up.]
WOOL (Hugh Howey, 2012)
"Howey's WOOL is an epic feat of imagination. You will
live in this world." — Justin Cronin, bestselling author of The Passage
“This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.” [product description from the original WOOL Omnibus cover]
Hugh Howey's WOOL Omnibus (five original WOOL stories released serially, and collected here into a whole) was the best reviewed book on Amazon in 2012. Following the immense success of this self-published work, Simon and Schuster has purchased the rights to release the book in the US, rights have been acquired to publish in 22 countries, and WOOL has been optioned for a film by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator) and Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List, Moneyball).