A year after receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Obama and after changing publishing houses, Isabel Allende has published what looks to be her next big book, The Japanese Lover (S&S/Atria Books; S&S Audio). Both ibrarians and booksellers have embraced it, making it the #1 LibraryReads pick for November as well as an Indie Next pick.
Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY says:
“Irina is a young Moldavian immigrant with a troubled past. She works at an assisted living home where she meets Alma, a Holocaust survivor. Alma falls in love with Ichi, a young Japanese gardener, who survived Topaz, the Japanese internment camp. Despite man’s inhumanity to man, love, art and beauty can exist, as evidenced in their beautiful love story.”
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (RH/Knopf), a debut novel by one of the richest and most powerful women in the art world is also a LibraryReads pick. It’s been translated into six languages and a battle broke out for film rights.
Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, South Carolina offers this annotation:
“The engaging, totally unexpected story of Annie, a lonely young woman who wanders into a junk shop and buys a painting. The painting turns out to have a long and storied past, with powerful people searching high and low for it. Unpredictable and fascinating; I loved the peek into the cutthroat art world and watching Annie blossom as she discovers her true calling.”
Nonfiction breaks onto the list with Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay (RH/Doubleday; Random House Audio), a mix of essays, humor, and rules for living.
Lindley Homol, Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA says:
“This was a quick, enjoyable read that offers a refreshing perspective on some of the trivialities we all find ourselves caught up in. I enjoyed the tone and humor throughout. A standout for me was Gay’s list of recommendations for his child’s future baseball team. His open letter to this imagined future team envisions a team that can just let kids be kids. My only disappointment with this book was that there wasn’t more of it–it seemed to end all too soon.”
Riveting suspense also gets librarian attention, with the latest in the Agent Pendergast series, Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Audio).
Shari Brophy, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA offers:
“In the latest installment in the Special Agent Pendergast series, Pendergast and Constance Greene investigate a theft of a wine cellar in an ancient village on the coast north of Salem, only to discover during their investigation the entombed remains of a tortured man.”I always thoroughly enjoy the Pendergast novels, and the interaction between Pendergast and Constance in this book was very intriguing.”
The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio), another novel based in the art world, tops the Indie Next List and is also a LibraryReads pick.
Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA says:
“This art-filled story following the young life and disappearance of Alizee Benoit is heartbreaking and thoughtful. Not only does the novel give an entertaining education on the WPA and abstract artists, but it also gives eerily relevant commentary on refugees and the cold-heartedness of government. Alizee’s story will pull you along as you try to grasp how this bright light of the art community vanished.”
Other overlapping titles between librarians and booksellers include Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (PRH/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Penguin Audio)
and Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).
Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY says of Williams’s novel:
“When Pepper Schuyler–on the run from a powerful politician and desperate to protect her unborn child–sells her newly restored classic car to an enigmatic and very wealthy woman, she not only finds unexpected refuge but also tantalizing hints of a mystery. With vivid European settings, colorful characters and intricate plotting that skillfully weaves past and present together, Along the Infinite Sea is a treat for fans of Beatriz Williams.”
PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC offers the following about actress Parker’s debut:
“Parker has created a unique and poetic memoir through a series of letters–some of appreciation, some of apology, some simply of acknowledgement–to the men in her life. Ranging from a taxi driver to a grandfather she never knew, each man has left an imprint and shaped her into the person she has become. Full of feeling, growth, and self-discovery, Parker’s book has left me longing to write my own letters.”
Science Fiction and Mystery round out the remaining choices as well as a new take on fairy tales, A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio).