Blindness by Jose Saramago
To describe as allegory this story of unnamed characters in an unnamed city who are struggling with an undiagnosed epidemic of "white blindness" is both too simple and too complex. Beyond any emblematic purpose, the characters act out life with all its paradoxes and hidden truths. Ultimately, the greater meaning here is the simple story of human frailty and community in the modern world. In searing prose, both complex and minimal, all this and nothing more is revealed.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan
BIOGRAPHY CURTIS 10/12
In the late 19th century, Edward Curtis was the era’s reigning portrait photographer, so well respected that President Theodore Roosevelt chose him to photograph his daughter’s wedding. Yet in 1900, at the height of his fame, Curtis gave it up to pursue what would become his life’s work—“a plan to photograph all the intact Native American tribes left in North America” before their ways of life disappeared.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
GRAPHIC TEEN PERSEPOLIS
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press.
Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
Flight Behavior is a brilliant and suspenseful novel set in present day Appalachia; a breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial that explores how the complexities we inevitably encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths.
Daughter of Fortune: A Novel (P.S.) by Isabel Allende
OPRAH ALLENDE 12/15
Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
HISTORY US ZIN 06/15
Almost 700 pages long, this completely revised and updated edition brings a populist classic kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Written by an activist historian, A People's History presents dimensions of American history formerly glossed over in the high textbooks.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
SOCSCI VANC 08/16
Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past.
The Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler
"As Simon, a lonely research librarian, searches frantically for the key to a curse that might be killing the women in his family, he learns strange and fascinating secrets about their past. A tale full of magic and family mystery, The Book of Speculation will keep you up all night reading."
Vanishing Acts (Wsp Readers Club) by Jodi Picoult
PB PICOULT 03/15
Life is going well for Delia Hopkins. She has a daughter and a fiancé, and with her search-and-rescue bloodhound, she helps find missing persons. But as she plans for her wedding, she is haunted by inexplicable flashbacks to a devastating time she cannot recall.