Book Discussion Group Title List 2013

 

June
2013

 

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
by Garth Stein

Enzo the dog is the only one who can tell the story of his beloved race-car driver, Denny Swift. One perceptive dog, Enzo combines canine simplicity with trackside wisdom in a story that goes straight to the soul.  Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoë, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. In addition to canine insight, this novel conveys the thrill of competitive racing, a heart-tugging storyline, and--best of all--a meditation on humility and hope in the face of despair.


 

May
2013

LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN
By Colum McCann

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary.  Elegantly weaving together seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s novel comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” 

April
2013

AFTER LIFE
By Rhian Ellis

"First, I had to get his body into the boat."  The intrigue is anchored and the suspense heightened by recurring themes of mysticism and the supernatural, centered on a complex, finely drawn mother and daughter relationship. Naomi Ash is a medium, and the daughter of a medium, who lives in a town founded and populated entirely by other mediums. From the beginning, she's been privy to all the tricks of her trade. But what begins in fraud has ended in something at least close to truthfulness.
        Naomi is a young woman caught between fraud and truth, between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and between the secrets and lies of her youth.

March
2013

THE SNOWMAN
by Jo Nesbo

On the first day of snow, a child wakes up to find his mother has disappeared during the night.   Outside, a snowman has appeared out of nowhere.  A letter from the perpetrator draws Detective Hole further and further into the case, and together with his new partner, Katrine Bratt, he hunts the Snowman through twists and turns that become increasingly personal and may drive Hole to the brink of insanity. Brilliantly crafted, this credible and dark page-turner fully fleshes out the characters, especially Hole, a hardened detective with sharp instincts and real heart. 

February
2013

  CROSSING TO SAFETY
By Wallace Earle Stegner

It's deceptively simple: two bright young couples meet during the Depression and form an instant and lifelong friendship. "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these?" Larry Morgan, a successful novelist and the narrator of the story, poses that question many years after he and his wife, Sally, have befriended the vibrant, wealthy, and often troubled Sid and Charity Lang. "Where is the high life, the conspicuous waste, the violence, the kinky sex, the death wish?" It's not here. What is here is just as fascinating, just as compelling, as touching, and as tragic.  Thirty-four years after their first meeting, when Larry and Sally are called back to the Langs' summer home in Vermont, it's as if for a final showdown. How has this friendship defined them? What is its legacy? Stegner offer answers in those small, perfectly rendered moments that make up lives "as quiet as these"--and as familiar as our own.

January
2013

MY KOREAN DELI
By Ben Ryder Howe

In this laugh-out-loud funny memoir, Ben Ryder Howe, a burned out editor at the Paris Review, spends his days concealing his apathy from his eccentric boss (George Plimpton!), avoiding the short story slush pile, and anticipating the day he will move out of his in-laws’ Staten Island basement. When Ben’s wife insists they buy a deli for her mother, he is skeptical but somehow energized by the risk involved, envisioning himself behind the counter at a profitable little deli providing bohemian customers with gourmet groceries. Instead, he ricochets from the magazine by day to the struggling deli by night, where his regular customers drink beer in the aisles, his mother-in-law, the “Mike Tyson of Korean grandmothers,” squares off with Mr. Tortilla Chip, and his pistol-packing employee, Dwayne, conducts X-rated phone calls with his girlfriends while ringing up customers. Howe’s daily interactions with a unique cross-section of humanity and his self-deprecating humor infuse My Korean Deli with insight, hopefulness, and addictive entertainment.