Trying to Save Piggy Sneed


John Irving - 1993
    To open this spirited collection, Irving explains how he became a writer. There follow six scintillating stories written over the last twenty years ending with a homage to Charles Dickens. This irresistible collection cannot fail to delight and charm.The first collection of short pieces--two of them previously unpublished--by the author of The World According to Garp includes memoirs, six short stories, and essays on Charles Dickens and Gu+a5nter Grass. Reprint. Tour.This gem, a delightful collection of shorter works, both fiction and nonfiction, written by one of the country's finest--and funniest--writers, includes a living portrait of Irving's grandmother, a new, never-before-published essay, six scintillating short stories--including the O. Henry Award-winning "Interior Space"--and two essays on Irving's favorite 19th-century novelist, Charles Dickens. Trying to Save Piggy Sneed is John Irving at the top of his form.

The Household Guide To Dying


Debra Adelaide - 2008
    As the book opens, she is barely 40 but has only a short time to live. The novel charts her preoccupation with two things: how to make provision for her husband and daughters - and how to make her peace with her past.

Who They Was


Gabriel KrauzeGabriel Krauze - 2020
    Some people keep swimming towards the bottom. Some people touch the bottom with one foot, or even both, and then push themselves off it to get back up to the top, where you can breathe. Others get to the bottom and decide they want to stay there. I don’t want to get to the bottom because I’m already drowning. This is a story of a London you won’t find in any guidebooks.This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys too eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way.This is a story of reputations made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost.This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police stations and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal.This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fear and the hope.This is about what’s left behind.

Torch


Cheryl Strayed - 2006
    "Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!" is the advice Teresa Rae Wood shares with the listeners of her local radio show, Modern Pioneers, and the advice she strives to live by every day. She has fled a bad marriage and rebuilt a life with her children, Claire and Joshua, and their caring stepfather, Bruce. Their love for each other binds them as a family through the daily struggles of making ends meet. But when they received unexpected news that Teresa, only 38, is dying of cancer, their lives all begin to unravel and drift apart. Strayed's intimate portraits of these fully human characters in a time of crisis show the varying truths of grief, forgiveness, and the beautiful terrors of learning how to keep living.

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon


Fatima Bhutto - 2013
    This land is also home to a three-dimensional chessboard of seemingly endless war — American drones killing the Taliban; Sunni Muslims bombing Shia Muslims; and an underground, generations-old fight for independence from the central government.Three brothers, who adopt the different ways of life from each other after their father's death, meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. The second, Sikandar, a doctor, goes to check in at his hospital. His troubled wife, does not join the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. And the youngest, the idealist, Hayat, leaves for town on a motorbike. Seated behind him is a beautiful, fragile girl, whose life and thoughts are overwhelmed by the war that has enveloped the place of her birth.Three hours later their day will end in devastating circumstances.The Shadow of the Crescent Moon chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. Individuals are pushed to make terrible choices. And, as the events of this single morning unfold, one woman is at the centre of it all.

Astrid and Veronika


Linda Olsson - 2005
    They share walks, meals, wine, and dangerous memories. Includes 11 page reader's guide for literature teachers and students.

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See


Juliann Garey - 2012
    The novel intricately weaves together three timelines: the story of Greyson’s travels (Rome, Israel, Santiago, Thailand, Uganda); the progressive unraveling of his own father seen through Greyson’s childhood eyes; and the intricacies and estrangements of his marriage. The entire narrative unfolds in the time it takes him undergo twelve 30-second electroshock treatments in a New York psychiatric ward.

Hard Laughter


Anne Lamott - 1979
    This catastrophic discovery sets off Anne Lamott's unexpectedly sweet and funny first novel, which is made dramatic not so much by Wallace's illness as by the emotional wake it sweeps under Jen and her brothers, self-contained Ben and feckless, lovable Randy. With characteristic affection and accuracy, Lamott sketches this offbeat family and their nearest and dearest as they draw ever closer in the intimacy Jen prizes among the other estimable things: good music, good hard laughter, good sex, good industry, and good books.

Ordesa


Manuel Vilas - 2018
    In the face of enormous personal tumult, he sits down to write. What follows is an audacious chronicle of his childhood and an unsparing account of his life's trials, failures, and triumphs that becomes a moving look at what family gives and takes away.With the intimacy of a diarist, he reckons with the ghosts of his parents and the current specters of his divorce, his children, his career, and his addictions. In unswervingly honest prose, Vilas explores his identity after great loss--what is a person without a marriage or without parents? What is a person when faced with memories alone? Already an acclaimed poet and novelist in Spain, Vilas takes his work to a whole new level with this autobiographical novel; critics have called it "a work of art able to cauterize pain."Elegiac and searching, Ordesa is a meditation on loss and a powerful exploration of a person who is both extraordinary and utterly ordinary--at once singular and representing us all--who transforms a time of crisis into something beautiful and redemptive.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer


Fredrik Backman - 2015
    With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

What We Lose


Zinzi Clemmons - 2017
    She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love. In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.

Let's Hope for the Best


Carolina Setterwall - 2018
    She grows worried at first, then irritated - this is so typical of her unsentimental partner. Aksel ends the message: Let's hope for the best! Five months later, he is dead. In her debut novel, Let's Hope for the Best, Carolina Setterwall recounts the intensity of falling in love with her partner Aksel, and the shock of finding him dead in bed one morning. Carolina and Aksel meet at a party, and their passionate first encounter leads to months of courtship during which Carolina struggles to find her place. While Aksel prefers to take things slow, Carolina is eager to advance their relationship -moving in together, getting a cat, and finally having a child. Perhaps to impose some order on the chaos, Carolina devotedly chronicles the months after Aksel's passing like a ship's log. She unpacks with forensic intensity the small details of life before tragedy, eager to find some explanation for the bad hand she's been dealt. When new romance rushes in, Carolina finds herself assuming the reticent role Aksel once played. She's been given the gift of love again. But can she make it work? A striking feat of auto-fiction, written in direct address to Setterwall's late partner, LET'S HOPE FOR THE BEST is a stylistic tour-de force..

The Schopenhauer Cure


Irvin D. Yalom - 2000
    Yet Philip claims to be cured -- miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer -- and is, himself, a philosophical counselor in training. Philips dour, misanthropic stance compels Julius to invite Philip to join his intensive therapy group in exchange for tutoring on Schopenhauer. But with mere months left, life may be far too short to help Philip or to compete with him for the hearts and minds of the group members. And then again, it might be just long enough.

Paradise City


Elizabeth Day - 2015
    Howard Pink is a wildly successful businessman still struggling to cope fifteen years after his nineteen-year-old daughter disappeared. Beatrice Kizza fled persecution from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal. She now works as a maid at a hotel Howard frequents. Esme Reade, an ambitious staff reporter on a Sunday tabloid, is desperate to get the Howard Pink interview for which all London reporters froth at the mouths. Carol Hetherington, a widow who has time to keep an eye on her neighbors’ actions, makes an astonishing discovery.Paradise City explores what a city means to those who come seeking their fortune or a better life. It is also a story of absence and loss, of how we shape ourselves around the spaces that people leave behind.

The Soloist


Mark Salzman - 1994
    Now, years later, his life suddenly is altered by two events: he becomes a juror in a murder trial for the brutal killing of a Buddhist monk, and he takes on as a pupil a Korean boy whose brilliant musicianship reminds him of his own past.