East of West by Jonathan Hickman

9781607067702East of West Volume 1
by Jonathan Hickman (illus. Nick Dragotta)
(pub. 9/13)

“You come face to face with love, and before the sun sets, you’ve become someone you didn’t used to be.”

I don’t know what took me so long to read East of West but I should have been reading it a lot sooner. SO AWESOME. It is a semi-futuristic western / love story set in a pre-apocalyptic world on the verge of the apocalypse. That is the briefest this story can be described. Not even mentioning the three horsemen of the apocalypse have come to earth in search of destroying the fourth horsemen, Death, and fulfilling the prophecy of the apocalypse. There are a lot of angles and sides being played in this story but not to the point of confusion and none overriding the overarching story of love and betrayal. I love this series. Fans of Saga or Preacher will feel right at home with East of West.

Recommended by:
Larry – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

9781416550556The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton
(pub. 3/09)

Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden wraps one up like a warm blanket and a cup of tea. Morton gracefully whisks readers through time and place with the intimately intertwined lives of four unforgettable women. These women magically capture the reader’s attention and won’t let go until long after their story has come to an end. It is up to Cassandra to unveil the truth of a well hidden family secret, and in the process, discover her own truth as well. The mystery woven throughout this novel prompts a battle between wanting to savor the prose at hand and the desire to race to the finish.

Recommended by:
Lauren – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

9781594483295The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz
(8/07)

Junot Diaz launches readers into the swagger-filled, Spanish-speaking streets of Paterson, New Jersey and into the raw lives of Oscar and his family. Oscar’s inability to obtain the machismo “DR” boy reputation or his dream of becoming the next Tolkien are only a fraction of the unrelenting struggles that this family encounters due to the mysterious and evil fuku. This hauntingly real novel captures the intense, but often overlooked, meaning that gender, class, and race carry in our lives through only a few deeply unforgettable characters.

Recommended by:
Lauren – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

9780307718969Five Days at Memorial
by Sheri Fink
(pub. 7/13)

The first half of this engrossing account of the aftermath that Hurricane Katrina had on a New Orleans hospital contains a detailed account of the daunting conditions facing medical personnel and patients, including the failure of all levels of government to provide timely relief.  They were forced to make life and death decisions while battling heat, loss of power and threats from marauding looters.  The second half examines those decisions, particularly whether doctors crossed moral lines and violated their oaths by sedating patients and possibly causing their deaths.  The issues raised are important and no simple resolutions to them emerge in this harrowing true story.

Recommended by:
Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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The Son by Phillip Meyer

9780062120397The Son
by Phillip Meyer
(4/13)

This is a non-romantic, often brutal history of the West, focusing on several generations of a Texas family and spanning the years from Indian attacks to wildcat oil wells.  Alternating chapters feature different family members but most of the novel recounts the experiences of Eli, who was captured during an Indian raid and becomes assimilated into the Native American culture.  The chapters featuring Eli are the most gripping but each family member contributes to the narrative.

In contrast to Eli, his son Peter who is conflicted about his privileged position and guilt over the harsh treatment of Mexican families who had earlier settled the Texas land.  Finally, Jeannie, Peter’ granddaughter, brings the story into modern days and concludes her observations on the end of her family’s frontier heritage.

Recommended by:
Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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After Her by Joyce Maynard

9780062257390After Her
by Joyce Maynard
(pub. 7/13)

This author has a tremendous gift for creating likeable but flawed men.  Escaped convict Frank in Labor Day is one and here is Detective Anthony Toricelli, who has issues with marriage fidelity but whose charm captivates daughters Rachael and Patty.  Set against the background of the father’s hunt for a serial killer, the heart of this emotional story is the bond between the sisters and their adventures in their neighborhood and California’s the nearby Marin County hills.  Part thriller, part family drama, this is another first-rate book from a reliably excellent writer.

Recommended by:
Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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Alex by Pierre Lemitre

9781623650001Alex
by Pierre Lemitre
(pub. 8/13)

Victim or criminal? The roles shift almost page by page in this fast-paced, engrossing mystery. No one is quite innocent in a complex but clear plot that regularly twists perceptions and springs surprise after surprise as it builds to a jaw-dropping conclusion. Characters are richly drawn, including prickly Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven who is dealing with issues of his own while investigating the crime.

Recommended by:
Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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