Pick up one of these wonderful books and you won’t care which team wins or loses!
“The Amateur Marriage” by Anne Tyler. Written by Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Anne Tyler, “The Amateur Marriage” is an intimate chronicle of a not-so-great partnership. Central characters Pauline and Michael are about as compatible as oil and water, and the story follows decades of their marital strife as they muddle through life. Tyler draws the reader into every page and portrays her characters with depth, honesty and accuracy. This deeply compelling novel would be an excellent choice for a book club.
“Quality of Life Report” by Meghan Daum. A funny, smart and satirical novel about New York TV reporter Lucinda Trout, who leaves the big city in pursuit of a “quality life” in the Midwest. She also plans to televise vignettes of her idyllic life and environs to her New York audience. But then she meets and moves in with Mason Clay, a ruggedly handsome individualist, and the wholesome, lemonade-on-the-front porch scenario she envisions is nothing like the reality of her situation.
“Eat Cake” by Jeanne Ray. For Ruth, life is a piece of cake. She bakes cakes, dreams cakes and imagines her “quiet center” as located in the middle of an enormous, warm bundt. When the drama of family life suddenly intrudes, Ruth’s life becomes more complicated, resembling a pineapple-upside-down concoction. This story is amusing, warm and satisfying – a simple, sweet indulgence without the guilt.
“The Monk Downstairs” by Tim Farrington. What happens when an ex-monk moves into a divorced ad executive’s downstairs apartment? Well, the result is a delightful, not-too-sappy romantic novel with intelligent, honest characters. The Bay area settings are a perfect backdrop for the story.
“Isn’t It Romantic?” by Ron Hansen. A sophisticated, mismatched French couple is stranded in the heart of Middle America during a bus journey across America – the resulting story is a delightful, hilarious culture clash full of romantic twists and trysts as the cornhusker locals charm and entertain their Parisian guests. Laugh-out-loud funny and sure to make a great movie!
“The Crimson Petal and the White” by Michael Fabar. This is the epic adventure of Sugar, a very likable and ambitious prostitute in Victorian London. Readers will be swept into the world of upscale, proper English society, but underneath all the trimmings and trappings dwell the dirty little secrets, which are much more fun to read about!
“Sea Glass” by Anita Shreeve. Anita Shreeve’s smooth-as-silk prose will carry you into a quiet and lovely place. “Sea Glass” is the story of a young woman named Honora, and her journey of self-discovery is filled with love, grief and longing. Most of the story takes place during the Depression Years, and, thankfully, the ending is hopeful and uplifting.
“Twelve Times Blessed” by Jacquelyn Mitchard. A year in the life of a 40-something woman reveals the reflections of widow True Dickinson, who has raised a son and built a successful small business while putting off the kind of romance she desperately desires. Happily long, it’s easy to lose yourself in the scenery of this beautifully written book.
“Blue Shoe” by Anne Lamott. When she stumbles on a small rubber blue shoe and other small items left behind in her deceased father’s car, Mattie Ryder, a recently divorced mother of two young children, and her brother struggle to uncover the truth about their dysfunctional upbringing, finding in the process the foundation for a new relationship with her mother and the potential for a new life. Lamott brings uncanny insight into the emotions of her characters, making them all the more real for the reader.
“Coffee & Kung Fu” by Karen Brichoux. Twenty-six-year-old Nicci Bradford seeks refuge from the trials and tribulations of her personal and professional life with “Kung Fu” movies, especially those starring Jackie Chan, drawing on their timeless wisdom and the example of her beloved hero to come up with her own unique philosophy of life. A first novel, this is a cute escape into the life of a young woman yearning to find true love and keep her identity.
Compiled by Jeanne Michael and Kim Carrow of Odyssey Books, 11989 Sutton Way, Grass Valley. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is 477-2856.
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