My Brilliant Friend

Author or Artist

Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Summary

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante's inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.

Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe

Author or Artist

Anton Treuer
Warrior Nation

Summary

The Red Lake Nation has a unique and deeply important history. Unlike every other reservation in Minnesota, Red Lake holds its land in common -- and, consequently, the tribe retains its entire reservation land base. The people of Red Lake developed the first modern indigenous democratic governance system in the United States, decades before any other tribe, but they also maintained their system of hereditary chiefs. The tribe never surrendered to state jurisdiction over crimes committed on its reservation. The reservation is also home to the highest number of Ojibwe-speaking people in the state. Warrior Nation covers four centuries of the Red Lake Nation's forceful and assertive tenure on its land. Ojibwe historian and linguist Anton Treuer conducted oral histories with elders across the Red Lake reservation, learning the stories carried by the people. And the Red Lake band has, for the first time, made available its archival collections, including the personal papers of Peter Graves, the brilliant political strategist and tribal leader of the first half of the twentieth century, which tell a startling story about the negotiations over reservation boundaries.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Author or Artist

Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird

Summary

This volume presents the author's offbeat wisdom about how to write. She recounts her personal experiences to reveal her writing techniques and how she overcomes obstacles that interfere with the writing flow. The author offers concrete suggestions about character, plot, setting, and other topics of interest to writers. She also offers irreverent advice about how to navigate through the dark underbelly feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and jealousy that are inevitable parts of any writer's experience. Her humorous advice is based on her own experience and honest self-analysis which provides writers the necessary perspective to keep writing through the difficult times that all writers encounter.

A Little Life

Author or Artist

Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life

Summary

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome -- but that will define his life forever.

A Brief History of Seven Killings

Author or Artist

Marlon James
A Brief History of Seven Killings

Summary

Explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s; In A Brief History of Seven Killings , Marlon James combines masterful storytelling with his unrivaled skill at characterization and his meticulous eye for detail to forge a novel of dazzling ambition and scope. On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven unnamed gunmen stormed the singer's house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but rumors abounded regarding the assassins' fates. A Brief History of Seven Killings is James's fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica's history and beyond. Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters--assassins, drug dealers, journalists, and even ghosts--James brings to life the people who walked the streets of 1970s Kingston, who dominated the crack houses of 1980s New York, and who reemerged into a radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s.

Between the World and Me

Author or Artist

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me

Summary

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him--most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear ... In [this book], Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings--moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago's South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America's 'long war on black people,' or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police.

Stick

Author or Artist

Andrew Smith
Stick

Summary

Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he's tall and thin) is bullied for being "deformed" - he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can't defend one another from their abusive parents. When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father's anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love - and his brother. From Andrew Smith, the Printz-Honor author of Grasshopper Jungle and Winger , this is a powerful young adult novel full of joy, heartbreak, and survival. An ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

Everything I Never Told You

Author or Artist

Celeste Ng
Everything I Never Told You

Summary

Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet. So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue-in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family-Hannah-who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Station Eleven

Author or Artist

Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven

Summary

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production. Jeevan Chaudhary, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside as life disintegrates outside. This novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Ordinary Grace

Author or Artist

William Kent Krueger
Ordinary Grace

Summary

Looking back at a tragic event that occurred during his thirteenth year, Frank Drum explores how a complicated web of secrets, adultery, and betrayal shattered his Methodist family and their small 1961 Minnesota community.