Category Archives: Fiction

Still Alice

[Cover]

Title: Still Alice

Author: Lisa Genova

Publisher: Gallery Books, 2009

Summary/Review: Alice Howland is a psychology professor at Harvard University with 3 grown children.  First, she can’t find her Blackberry, can’t quite remember names and blames it on stress.  But then one day while she’s jogging, she becomes hopelessly lost and can’t find her way home.  After a visit to a doctor, she’s diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and her life is changed forever.  But as the disease worsens and steals pieces of what Alice always thought of as herself, she discovers that she is made up of more than just her memories.

Lisa Genova, the author of “Still Alice” holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University.  She wrote the novel, which is her first, for a couple of reasons.   First, while she was in graduate school, her 80-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so she had a personal experience with the disease.  Second, as a scientist, she found that what was happening to her grandmother was fascinating and wanted to know more about it.  Her grandmother was in a pretty advanced stage of the disease, so she couldn’t really talk to her about it.  She knew that she needed to talk to someone for whom the disease was new, so she decided to focus on people who had early-onset Alzheimer’s – someone in their late forties or early fifties.

This dichotomy comes across very clearly while reading Still Alice.  While it is so hard to read about what Alice and her family goes through, it’s fascinating to read about the biology of the disease, how it develops, and some of the things that are being done to help treat people with the disease.  The book review that appeared in Booklist magazine states it best:  “Clearly explaining the testing, treatment options, and symptoms of the disease within the context of an absorbing family drama, Genova has written an ideal primer for anyone touched by Alzheimer’s.”

Who will like this?: While this book may be a difficult read for some, if you are looking for a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s, or life in middle age in general, this book may be for you.  Someone who is interested in the medical facts of Alzheimer’s or related diseases.

If you like this, try this:  Lisa Genova has written additional books, including “Loving Anthony” (autistic son dies, two women become friends, husband of one having an affair) and “Left Neglected” (after a car accident, a young woman wakes up with a brain injury called Left Neglect – the brain completely ignores the left side of her body).

Recommended by: Mary, Branch Reference Librarian

If this looks like a book you’re interested in, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check its availability and/or place a hold

 

Touch & Go

touch and go

Title: Touch and Go

Author: Lisa Gardner

Publisher: Penguin Group, 2013

Summary/ Review: This is a fast moving story about kidnapping, betrayal, and revenge. The narrator and protagonist, Libby Denbe, is married to Justin, for almost 20 years. They have a beautiful 15 year old daughter, Ashlyn, but lately things have been troublesome between the couple. Drug addiction, infidelity, and distance, have been plaguing the couple and they have been working at get things back to where they once were. Justin is a handsome businessman who is the owner of his family’s construction company and Libby is an artist and loving mother. One night tragedy strikes this family and they are assaulted and kidnapped by three terrorizing men. The Boston FBI and New Hampshire sheriffs’ Department has to work alongside investigator Tessa Leoni to help recover the family safely all the while trying to pinpoint the source of the kidnapping. The author takes you on a rollercoaster ride page after page. The development of this tale continually unfolds in all new directions. There are so many twists and turns in this story that it will keep you guessing up until the very end.

Who will like this book: Anyone who is interested in crime drama infused with dynamic family plots.

If you like this, try this: Lisa Gardner has written numerous books with similar story lines along with returning characters such as Tessa Leoni. Other authors to read would be Karen Rose and Heather Graham. For a more sinister and dramatic plot, turn to Gone Girl, by Gillilan Flynn. You will not be disappointed.

Recommended by: K.C., Circulation Assistant

If this looks like a book you’d like to try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and place a hold!

The Storyteller

storyteller

Title: The Storyteller:

Author: Jodi Picoult

Publisher: Atria Books, 2013

Summary/Review: This is a story about a young girl named Sage who is a baker in New Hampshire and the friendship she begins with a very old man. Sage is a lonely girl who has a very difficult time accepting her mothers death. She joins a group and there she meets Josef. They both have hidden secrets and scares both on the inside and outside.

As their friendship evolves Sage learns a very terrible secret about Josef that he has keep for 70 years. Josef then asks Sage for forgiveness and to help him die for what he did. Without giving to much away the story continues with Sage’s struggle with what she knows and what to do about it.

She finally confides in a Department Of Justice Attorney named Leo. The story then goes into great detail of a truly horrible thing that happened a long time ago. All the characters Sage, Josef her grandmother Minka and Leo come together with a surprising connection.

This story is very moving and  educational in a lot of respects. You will not want to put it down because you need to know what happens to all the people in the story. The end has a twist that you will not see coming. I feel this is one of Jodi Picoult’s best novels, because she puts two unlikely characters together and it really works. Plus she put a lot of history in this book to. I think people who like drama, suspense,  history and a little romance will like this book.

Who will like this book?: Adults or older teens looking for an emotional book that will leave you thinking.

If you liked this, try this: Jodi Picoult has a number of other books, including “The Pact” and “Nineteen Minutes”.  You may also enjoy “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay.

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If you think you’d like to read this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog, where you can check if it’s available and place a hold!

What Dies in Summer

what dies in summer

Title: What Dies in Summer

Author: Tom Wright

Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co, 2012

Summary/Review: This is a debut novel that is packed with so much emotion and surprises you won’t be able to put it down. The story is narrated by one of the main character James- also known as Biscuit. He, along with his cousin Lee Ann (also known as L.A.), and their Grandma live together in Dallas Texas. They were brought together by unfortunate circumstances. The story begins with the two cousins just doing what normal teenagers do, hanging out and trying to stay out of trouble. They soon discover a dead body in the woods and then everything seems to start spiraling out of control.

Family secrets are revealed, and more dead bodies are found. You will not want to put this book down until you have read the very last page. It brings everything together-family bonding, first love, and terrible secrets.

Who would like this: Anyone who enjoys books with a lot of characters and different stories.

If you like this, try this: Books by Mary Higgins Clark. She always has a bunch of characters but they’re easy to keep straight.

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If you’d like to put a hold on this book and/or see if it’s available, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog!

Rage Against the Dying

rage against

Title: Rage Against the Dying

Author:Becky Masterman

Publisher: Minotaur Books, March 2013

Summary/Review: If you’re looking for a fast paced thriller that you just can’t put down, look no further. Rage against the Dying, the debut thriller by Becky Masterman, will not disappoint you.

Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn is adjusting to her new life as a newlywed in Tucson, Arizona. Forced into early retirement after shooting an unarmed suspect, the 59 year old Quinn has seemingly moved on. That is until the Route 66 Killer, the case that has haunted her for years, becomes news once again. Not only the most frustrating unsolved case of Brigid’s career, the Route 66 Killer cost the life of her protégé Jessica Robertson. Now a suspect has confessed and Brigid is once again drawn into this disturbing case. Laura Coleman, the new FBI agent assigned to Route 66, has asked for Brigid’s help but no one can foresee the horror that lies ahead.

This novel has everything: suspense, dark humor, and of course some blood and guts. I sincerely hope Brigid’s story does not end here. Unlike any character I’ve ever read, she is strong, smart, funny, and a little bit of a loose cannon. I can’t wait to see her again.

Who will like this book?: Anyone who’s not afraid of a little gore.  Someone looking for a thriller that they won’t be able to put down.

If you like this, try this:  If you liked Masterson’s writing, be on the lookout for more from her: this is a debut novel, but the story leads itself to more.  If you liked the intensity, try Chelsea Cain, who has a number of books including “Heartsick” and “Sweetheart”.  If you’re looking for the same level of darkness without the gore, try Neil Gaiman.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

This book isn’t quite out yet, but we still have it on order, so visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to place a hold!

Aviator’s Wife

aviator's wife

Title: The Aviator’s Wife

Author: Melanie Benjamin

Publisher: Delacorte Press, January 2013

Summary/Review: This book tells the story of Anne Morrow from time she meets Charles Lindbergh through his death. Although she is the plainest and humblest of Ambassador Morrow’s daughters, Anne is the one who is swept off her feet by the dashing, great aviator. Their adventures and eventual marriage make for a compelling story. The book is aptly named because in many ways Anne gave up her own identity through her devotion to her famous husband. The tragedy of losing their first child and its effect on each of them is a key element. There are other hardships that Anne is forced to deal with including dealing with Charles’ odd behaviors and his constant absence, leaving her to raise her children virtually alone. Through it all, she maintains her pride and strength as she develops her own sense of self. One never knows what really goes on in a marriage, but this well researched fictionalized account will keep you turning the pages.

Who will like this book: Readers who like historical fiction or anyone looking for a good read. If you liked Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, you will enjoy this book.

Recommended by: Jan, Administration

Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if this book is available and to place a hold!

Calling Me Home

calling me home

Title: Calling Me Home

Author: Julie Kibler

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2013

Summary/Review: A beautiful debut novel about the unlikely friendship between two women, the journey that brings them closer together, and a past of heartbreak and secrets. The novel is told in two voices, Isabelle and Dorrie, a very unlikely pair. Dorrie Curtis is a black single mom in her 30’s who happens to be the hairdresser for eighty nine year old Isabelle McAllister. Isabelle asks Dorrie to drop everything, leave her 2 children to the care of her mother, close up her hair salon and drive her from her home in Texas to a funeral near Cincinnati. Dorrie has no idea what is in store for them when they reach their destination. As the miles pass, both women share the secrets of their past. Nothing prepares Dorrie for the story of Isabelle. As a young woman, Isabelle fell in love with Robert, the black son of her family’s housekeeper, at a time when this was forbidden. The story of Isabelle unfolds in 1939 as a teenager with big plans for her future. That is, until she falls hopelessly in love with Robert. The romance between Isabelle and Robert is strictly forbidden by both families, and also very dangerous for Robert and his family. This was not a time where inter racial relationships were accepted. Isabelle tells her heartbreaking story to Dorrie hoping it will help Dorrie find her own way. Dorrie is struggling with her own feelings towards the new man in her life, afraid to open up her heart to love again, while raising her two children. Neither woman could imagine the impact this trip has on their lives and the bond that grows between them. This story is about falling in love, the deepening of friendships and the power of family, both good and bad, and the turbulent times of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. This is an unforgettable story.

Who Will Like this? Anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Readers who enjoyed “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. A great choice for Book Groups.

If you like this, try this: “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, “Three Good Things” by Wendy Francis, “Lost Art of Mixing” by Erica Bauermeister

Recommended by: Laura, Technical Services Department

To see if this book is available and/or place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog!

The Fear Index

fear index

Title: The Fear Index

Author:  Robert Harris

Publisher: Knopf, 2012

Summary/Review: If you like to read about the stock market,financial markets worldwide, and are concerned about the gyrations in the markets caused by computers using mathematical formulas for lightning fast trades (Remember the flash crash?) then this work of fiction is for you.

Dr. Alex Hoffmann, the main character, is a mathematical genius and is obsessed with artificial intelligence.  When he is unable to continue his work at CERN(due to a mental breakdown), he turned to the development of  a form of artificial intelligence, VIXAL, that utilizes a set of algorithms to buy and sell financial instruments based on what in reality is known as the VIX or volatility index, otherwise known as “the fear index”. The computers monitor events worldwide, and when the sense “fear” they will buy or sell — depending on the situation. Dr. Hoffmann and his hedge fund company become ultra-rich and everyone is very happy with the working of VIXAL–  until events start to go terribly wrong – starting with an intruder at Hoffmann’s home.

At the beginning of each chapter there is a quotation from Charles Darwin’s Origen of the Species– a work about evolution and natural selection.  At first you may not make the connection between the twists and turns of the plot and the quotation, but as you near the end of the book you realize WHAT has been evolving right under the nose of Dr. Hoffmann.

Recommended by: Sue Z, Reference Librarian

Who will like this?: Those who are interested in Artificial Intelligence and its impact on human life.  Those who are looking for a thriller with lots of twists and turns.

If you like this, try this:  If you liked Robert Harris’ writing, he has a number of other books such as “The Ghost” and “Lustrum”.   If the topic of Artificial Intelligence interests you, try the classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur Clarke or “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov.

If you are trying to break into the science fiction genre, try the classic “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card or “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.  More recent science fiction includes the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth.

If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and to place a hold!

Canada

canada

Title: Canada

Author: Richard Ford

Publisher: Ecco , May 2012

Summary/Review:  Dell (the narrator) and Berner Parsons are ordinary fifteen year old twins living a somewhat isolated life with their parents in Montana circa 1956.  Their father has failed at a number of ventures in his life but has oddly always envisioned himself as a successful bank robber.   So being a little short on money, he decides to carry out a plan and takes their mother along as his accomplice.  They are undetected for a little while, but one day the police finally come and take the parents away to jail, leaving the brother and sister to fend for themselves.  Mrs. Parsons, fearing they would be caught had arranged for a friend to look after the kids, but by the time she shows up, Berner has left for California on her own.  So she drives Dell to Canada to be taken in by her brother.  The brother turns out to be not at all what he first appears to be and when the reasons he is in Canada become evident it provides a twist in the story. Amazingly, Dell never assigns blame or feels anger and continues to believe that both his parents, though misguided, did truly love him and his sister. What happens in this novel is very unpredictable and leaves you wanting to read more to see what finally happens.  There is some foreshadowing as Dell alludes to events which he has not yet related, but you don’t see how can occur until they unfold. The themes of crossing all sorts of boundaries and the force and effect of corrupt acts make this a thought provoking and absorbing read.

Who will like this book:  Someone who likes thought provoking fiction.

Recommended by:  Jan,  Administration

If you would like to see if this book is available or place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog [Link will open in a new window]

Harold Fry

harold fry

Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author: Rachel Joyce

Publisher: Random House, 2012

Review/Summary: Harold Frye, recently retired, lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. They have settled into a mundane existence. Then one morning he receives a letter from an old friend who is dying. When he composes a reply letter and goes to post it, he becomes convinced that he must hand deliver it. Thus, begins his quest as he takes off in his tennis shoes to walk 600 miles, because he believes Queenie will live, as long as he walks. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another. Memories flood him of his wedding day, fatherhood and regrets and losses. Maureen reminisces too and finds herself missing him. This funny, poignant, charming story about an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey will move and inspire you.There also mysteries that will be solved about his friend and son. Fans of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand will embrace another hero in Harold Frye.

Recommended by: Cindy B., Children’s Librarian

Who will like this? Someone who recognizes that sometimes heroes come from the most unlikely of places.  Anyone looking for a story about second – or maybe even last – chances.

If you like this, try this: “The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed out a Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson is also about last chances, and what we do with them.  You may also enjoy “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson.

This is playwright Rachel Joyce’s first novel, but was named as an Amazon “top book of the month”, so be on the lookout for more from her!

If you would like to see if this book is available, please visit our Fairfield Public Library catalog [Link will open in a new window]