Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout

Not many books can boast that they are both the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and an endorsement from O: The Oprah Magazine!  The Pulitzer jury called the eponymous character of Olive Kitteridge (Random House, $14) “blunt, flawed, and fascinating”; Oprah called Olive, naturally, “deeply empathetic.”  I’m not sure that I would like to have Olive in my family—she may be a little too cantankerous—but I would enjoy spending an hour having coffee with her once a week.  A well-seasoned Maine crone, she’s direct and to the point more often than she should be, but her perceptions are sometimes funny and usually accurate, and they can also be deeply heartfelt.  Elizabeth Strout said she chose the form of thirteen interconnected stories because Olive was such a strong personality that she would overpower a novel.  In these stories Olive occasionally appears as a bit player, but wherever she was, I wanted more of her.

Olive Kitteridge: Fiction By Elizabeth Strout Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812971835
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - September 30th, 2008

The Turnaround - George P. Pelecanos

George Pelecanos, the award-winning writer and producer of the HBO series, The Wire, gets better and better with each of his D.C. urban-noir crime novels.  Ironically, in the seventeen years that he has been publishing, Pelecanos has become a big commercial success while at the same time he has become more literary in his writing, and is often compared to Zola and Dreiser on the basis of characters trapped by poverty, prejudice, and the iron grip of race.  Despite the fatalism that pervades The Turnaround (Back Bay, $14.99), a narrative of a deadly encounter between suburban white teenagers and inner-city blacks, Pelecanos’s plot moves gingerly toward a reconciliation between individuals from each group. Publishers Weekly describes this novel as “a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel of crime, friendship, aging, and redemption.”

The Turnaround By George Pelecanos Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316040921
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Back Bay Books - April 7th, 2009

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart - Bill Bishop

In The Big Sort (Mariner, $15.95) Bill Bishop paints a surprising portrait of the demographics of the United States today. While we think of ourselves as increasingly ethnically diverse, Bishop convincingly argues that we are populated more by disparate homogenous communities than at any time in our history. Large numbers of us have highly sensitive cultural antennae that inform us whether we are with “our kind.” High in the ratings that define that “kind” are lifestyle choices: where we live, where we shop, where we vacation.  Yes, it’s true that customers who shop at Books-A-Million in Alexandria are different from customers who shop at Politics and Prose, and because we are so tightly contained in our clustered communities, we are more foreign to each other than ever before.  Bishop’s snapshot of America is fascinating but troubling.

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded American is Tearing Us Apart By Bill Bishop Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547237725
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 11th, 2009