Thursday, September 23, 2010


Sourland by Joyce Carol Oates
This is sixteen previously uncollected stories that explore how the power of violence, loss, and grief shape both the psyche and the soul. From a desperate man who dons a jack-o'-lantern head as a prelude to a most curious sort of courtship, to a "story of stabbing" many times recounted in the life of a lonely girl; from a beguiling young woman librarian whose amputee state attracts a married man an father, to the concluding title story of an unexpectedly redemptive love rooted in radical aloneness and isolation.

Live to Tell by Wendy Corsi Staub
In a lovely suburban town just north of New York City, the gossip mill runs more efficiently than the commuter-train line. And in every impeccably decorated house, they're talking about Lauren Walsh. They say that nothing could be worse than being abandoned by your husband for another woman. They're wrong... All Lauren wants is to protect her children from the pain of her messy divorce. But when their father goes missing, a case of mistaken identity puts all their lives in danger, and a stealthy predator lurks in the shadows, watching and waiting.

Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer

Paul has been on his own since he was a teenager, leading a life of freedom and independence, beholden to no one and nothing. Fearless, resolute, and guided by his own private moral code, he has hunted for food in Alaska, fought forest fires, and been deputized in a manhunt for a kidnapper in South Dakota. Once he thought his life would have no particular rhyme or reason, touched only by transient strangers. Then he meets the beautiful, intelligent, loving Kate Ellis and her daughter, Ruby, who offer order and constancy. But Paul is a man of deep convictions, and the compromises we all make to get along in the world elude him.

Indian Summer by Elizabeth Darrell
Basking in the warmth of an Indian summer, the British Military in Germany hold an Open Day to ease the stress of constant movements in personnel to and from war zones. Entertainments include medieval knights, jousting, and, for children, a diver in a water tank fighting synthetic oceanic monsters. At midnight, guards discover a body in the tank, with the tentacles of a lifelike jellyfish wound tightly around his throat. The dead man is Corporal Philip Kean, recently returned from Afghanistan, but when officials call to tell his wife the sad news it seems that she and the children have vanished.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Elizabeth Berg readalikes

Did you really like Elizabeth Berg's books like Year of Pleasures? Are you looking for other authors like her? Check out these suggested titles below! If you're a member of an OCLN library then just click on the link to place it on hold.

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards's two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt is threatened.

Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller

One minute John is the cornerstone of Eva's world, rock to his two teenage stepdaughters and his own son Theo; the next he is tossed through the air in a traffic accident. His sudden death changes everything. Eva struggles with the desolation of loneliness, finding herself drawn back to her untrustworthy ex-husband; Emily, the eldest daughter, grapples with her new-found independence and responsibility. Little Theo can only begin to fathom the permanence of his father's death. But for the middle child Daisy, John's absence opens up a whole world of confusion. Just at the onset of adolescence and blossoming sexuality, Daisy is exposed to the terrifying duplicity of life, the instability that hovers just beyond the safety of parental love, and the powerlessness of that love to protect or even console her. In steps a man only too willing to take advantage of her emotions.

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Jessie Sullivan has been married half her life, and has become accustomed to her role. But when she returns to the isolated island she grew up on to establish why her mother has been behaving oddly, she is to find a lot more than she came looking for. A loving, exuberant character, who believes herself to be happy, she has forgotten a hidden part of her spirit - the part represented by the beautiful, vibrant and legendary mermaid carved on a chair in the island's monastery. When Jessie falls passionately in love with a monk who is close to taking his final vows, she discovers a place in herself that she had never previously imagined could exist.

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen

It’s an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan Fitzmaurice’s perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of Rise and Shine, the country’s highest-rated morning talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial break–but not before she mutters two forbidden words into her open mike. In an instant, it’s the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget, a social worker in the Bronx who has always lived in Meghan’s long shadow. The effect of Meghan’s on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan’s son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget’s perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself. What follows is a story about how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter.

Want more readalikes on different authors? Send your requests/suggestions/comments to me at

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pirates of the Levant

Pirates of the Levant by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Accompanied by his protege Inigo, Captain Alatriste accepts a job as a mercenary aboard a Spanish galleon. The ship sets sail from Naples on a journey that will take them to some of the most remote--and notorious--outpost of the empire: Morocco, Algeria, and finally Malta, for a stunning and bloody battle on the high seas that will challenge even the battle-hardened Alatriste's resolve.

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago
In 1551, King Joao III of Portugal decided to give Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Soloman, along with his keeper, Subhro. The two have been living in dismal conditions, forgotten in a corner of the palace grounds. When it occurs to the king and queen that an elephant might be an appropriate wedding gift, everyone rushes to get them ready: Subhro is given two new suits of clothes and Soloman a long-overdue scrub. Accompanied by the archduke, his new bride, and the royal guard, our unlikely heroes traverse a continent riven by the Reformation and Civil War.

A Place Apart: A Cape Cod Reader edited by Robert Fineli
In this rich collection you'll find Wampanoag creation myths, eyewitness accounts of the Pilgrims' first landing in 1620; harrowing tales of the whaling and fishing industries; and portraits of Provincetown's Portuguese fishermen and Bohemian artists and the residents who engage each year in the Cape's summer rituals.