Jenn Delperdang

Each year, the American Library Association recognizes 10 outstanding adult books that provide teens with an introduction to adult literature.  Today, I am recommending Everything I Never Told You--the award-winning debut novel by bestselling author Celeste Ng.

This mesmerizing story begins with the drowning death of 16 year-old Lydia Lee--the middle and favorite child of James and Marilyn Lee. One spring morning in 1977, Lydia fails to show up for breakfast.  We know that she has drowned in a nearby lake, but her family doesn’t.

In 2011, twenty-six year old Ross Ulbricht launched a clandestine website on the Dark Web called the Silk Road. In 2013, Ross was arrested by the FBI in a San Francisco library.

Today, I am recommending A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline—a novel of historical fiction that imagines, through extensive research, the life of Anna Christina Olson—the subject of the painting Christina’s World by artist Andrew Wyeth.  This mysterious painting—of a young woman in a field, looking off into the distance towards a stark wood-framed house—has been a part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection since 1949, and has become one of the most recognized images of American Art.  

Rural noir—it’s a thing.  Sometimes called country noir, hillbilly noir, or even “hick lit”, these are stories of everyday people and the struggles they face in the harsh realities of rural life.  Often gritty and heart wrenching, these complex novels seek out the universal truths that connect our human experience, evoking a variety of emotions for the reader.  Today, I am recommending a book that has become a classic of this writing style—Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. 

Today I am recommending The Fall of Princes--the third novel by Robert Goolrick. The Fall of Princes is an irresistible read about the iconic figure of 1980’s greed—the Wall Street Trader and his inevitable downward spiral. 

The unnamed narrator, who we later come to know as Rooney, tells his story through a series of vignettes that recount his experiences—the rise to great wealth, his recklessly extravagant and wasteful lifestyle, and his fateful mistake with a powerful client that ends his career. 

Imagine that a global pandemic has wiped out most of civilization as we know it.  Who struggles the most in this world to adapt to a new way of life? Those survivors who remember what life was like before the pandemic—or those who have not experienced the beauty of civilization through art and culture? What is worth saving when the world has lost so much? These ideas are explored in the lyrical and compelling Science Fiction novel, Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.   

Sometimes, I feel like books find me, rather than the other way around.  This was the case with the book I am recommending today: Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber.   

“War made one do everything when one wasn’t at all ready. Dying, yes, but also living.”

This line is one of my favorites from Chris Cleave’s latest novel, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. This intensely-felt story, set in London during the Blitzkrieg, follows four privileged young Londoners as their world falls apart around them. 

Inspired by his grandparents’ experience in World War II, Cleave has crafted a moving and compelling story with very real and engaging characters that sharply explores issues of class, race, and wartime morality. 

Each year, the American Library Association recognizes 10 outstanding adult books that provide teens with an introduction to adult literature.  Today, I am recommending a 2015 award-winning novel, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

This mesmerizing debut novel begins with the drowning death of 16 year-old Lydia Lee--the middle and favorite child of James and Marilyn Lee. One spring morning in 1977, Lydia fails to show up for breakfast.  We know that she has drowned in a nearby lake, but her family doesn’t.

I love Audiobooks.  Having someone read me a story, even as an adult, is one of my favorite things. I suggest you check out City of Thieves by David Benioff and narrated by Golden Globe winning actor Ron Perlman.

[David Benioff is an American novelist, screenwriter, producer, and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones.  City of Thieves is a novel based on his grandfather’s stories about surviving World War II in Russia.]

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