Title: The Other
Author: David Guterson
Summary: David Guterson, the author of the PEN/Faulkner-winning Snow Falling on Cedars, has written an exquisite story about a transcendent friendship between two very different men. John William Barry and Neil Countryman cross paths at a high school track event, and that chance meeting connects them for the rest of their lives. While Neil comes from a modest background and leads a modest life, John William is a child of privilege and wealth. Together the two share their love of hiking and the outdoors – we are treated to some beautifully written passages describing the wilds of the Pacific Northwest – and share a bond, a literal blood oath, that is unbreakable, even as their lives continue in seemingly opposite directions. Neil becomes a teacher, marries and has a family, but John William retreats from society, moving permanently into a cave deep in the woods. Neil is the only one who knows where he is, and keeps this secret even though it weighs heavily on him. John William rewards him for this ultimate act of friendship him in an unfathomable way.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word ‘other’ as “being the one left.” It may seem as though John William is the other in this relationship simply by his act of becoming a hermit. But Neil is also an ‘other,’ the half that stays behind, lives the conventional life, and yet is haunted by the same question that John William struggles with – what is it that really matters in life. It appears as though they are each living the opposite answers to that question. In doing so, they complete each other.
Who will like this book? Anyone who enjoyed Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
If you like this try: East of the Mountains by David Guterson
Recommended by: Mary, Reference Librarian
Title: The Godmother
Author: Carrie Adams
Summary: Thirty-something Tessa King has seven best friends, four godchildren, and no life of her own. Returning home to London after a five-week vacation (or, escape from her harrassing former boss) she is thrown back into her familar role of drinking buddy/fairy godmother/crisis counselor. But will Tessa ever get over her unrequited love, meet her true Prince Charming and have babies of her own?
While this novel sounds like another carbon copy beach book, the plot takes some unexpected turns and becomes something more substantial that traditional chick lit fare. Tessa is a well-developed, painfully believable heroine, and her circle of friends and godchildren are well-developed but still familiar characters, each with their own secrets that are revealed over the course of the story. These are the sort of characters that stay with you, and leave you wishing for a sequel!
Who will like this book? People with godchildren, nieces and/or nephews whom they adore, and ‘women who do too much.’
If you like this, try this: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: The Lottery
Author: Patricia Wood
Summary: If you are looking for a sure winner, don’t buy a lottery ticket, but check out Patricia Wood’s debut novel. She draws on her own personal experiences with a dad who won the Washington State lottery and a family member who had Down’s syndrome.
Perry L. Crandall, the narrator, has an IQ of 76 but as he says, he is not retarded, just slow. His wise-cracking grandmother taught him everything he needs to know to survive. When she dies, leaving him an “orphan” at 31 year-old, that family that had abandoned proceed to swindle him out of his house. Imagine what happens they learn he has won 12 million dollars…You will be charmed by Perry’s sweet and often funny personality, and root for him to outwit his thieving ‘new-found’ family.
Who will like this book? All readers from high school to 100 who love light, feel-good novels.
Recommended by: Sandy, Technical Services