Good Reads - Fiction
Fiction Staff Favorites
Featuring books read by staff members since the year
Bartholomew, Nancy - Stand By Your Man - 2001,
Beautician turned Country music singer Maggie Reid's
life is complicated. Her ex-husband is missing. There is
a gun wielding private investigator hiding out in her home,
and she doesn't know what's going on with hunky
Detective Marshall Weathers. Everyone is looking for her
ex, including the "red neck mafia." Maggie
doesn't know how, but she is determined to get to
him first. Sharon Lawrence (Children's)
Beaton, M.C. - Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of
Death - 1992, 201p.
This is an amusing cozy British
Village Mystery. Agatha Raisin turns sleuth after being
accused of poisoning the
judge of the Village Quiche Competition. Louanne Mitchell
Brewer, Gene - K-Pax - 1995, 231p.
at the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute claims to have
arrived on Earth on a beam of light, from the planet
K-Pax. His outlook and his description of life on K-Pax
affect the lives of both staff and patients alike at the
hospital. One day he announces he will be going back and
can only take one person with him. Is he really from K-Pax?
You decide. Pam Scheibenreif (Circulation)
Chevalier, Tracy - Girl With a Pearl Earring - 1999, 233p.
Historical details of 17th century Holland
and art merge in this mesmerizing story of Griet, a sixteen-year-old
Dutch girl, who became a maid in the home of the painter
Johannes Vermeer. She soon attracts the painter's
attention and becomes the subject of one of his paintings.
Sheila Guenzer (Literature)
Chiaverini, Jennifer - The Cross-Country Quilters:
An Elm Creek Quilts Novel - 2000, 367p.
go to a quilters' retreat and share their
life stories. It is a great, heartwarming story. Vern Papacek
Christie, Agatha - Sleeping Murder - 1976,
In Miss Marple's last case, she meets a young
couple from New Zealand who are determined to solve an
murder. It kept me guessing until the end. Sharon Yurgil
Clowes, Daniel - Ghost World - 1997, 80p.
and Enid always knew high school stunk; but now that
it's over, what should they be doing with their
lives? Two teens seek a path and a way to make adulthood
make sense. Clowes puts a friendship under his microscope,
and at times, the results made me squirm. Amanda Miller
Coben, Harlan - Tell No One - 2001, 339p.
his wife was murdered eight years ago, David Beck is
still in mourning over her death and unable to
get on with his life. He is stunned to receive a cryptic
e-mail message that could only have come from her. A great,
suspenseful read. I couldn't put it down. Lisa Bobis
Cronin, Justin - Mary and O'Neil - 2001,
Cronin's first novel intertwines eight stories that
focus on pivotal moments in the lives of O'Neil and
Mary, some before they meet and marry, and others afterwards.
Using exquisite prose, Cronin explores choices made and
the consequences that result. This is an amazing book!
The minute I finished, I wanted to read it again. JoAnn
De Bernières, Louis - Corelli's Mandolin - 1994, 437p.
An interesting tale full of fascinating,
colorful characters, humor and romance. During World War
II, Captain Corelli
is in command of the Italian soldiers who occupy the home
of Dr. Iannis on the Greek Island of Cephallonia. Corelli
wins the heart of Pelagia, Dr. Iannis's daughter,
and then must rely on the Iannis' help to escape
from Cephallonia when it falls under German control. Colleen
Delinsky, Barbara - For My Daughters - 1994,
A mother mysteriously summons her three daughters
to the family's summer home. When Mom is late in
arriving, the daughters are forced to deal with each
past and present lives. Julie Runge (Children's)
Dickinson, Charles - The Widows' Adventures - 1989, 381p.
Two widowed sisters, one blind, one a beer-a-holic,
take a road trip from Chicago to California. Annie Jagielski
Dunn, Carola - Lavender Lady - 1983, 201p.
Regency England romance worth reading a second time.
A light-hearted, unusual story about Hester Godrics' family.
You'll enjoy many laughs throughout this novel. Virginia
Dunn, Mark - Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic
Epistolary Fable - 2001, 205p.
A whimsical story
told in letters, about an island nation that is losing
its alphabet one letter at a time. Christopher
Dunn, Mark - Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic
Epistolary Fable - 2001, 205p.
Say the title aloud
and you will get the idea of how much fun this quirky
tale can be. Ella Minnow Pea is a political
and social satire, which looks at what happens when an
extremely intelligent society loses its ability to communicate.
The story is told through the correspondence of the title
character and her family as letters of the alphabet are
banned from use. Ted Waltmire (Administration)
Fluke, Joanne - Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder - 2000, 312p.
Hannah Swensen returns home to frosty
Lake Eden, Minnesota, opens the Cookie Jar Bakery, and
finds the killer of the
Cozy Cow Dairy's delivery man. Well-developed, mostly
likeable secondary characters, a great sense of place,
and wonderful recipes! Carol Yarmolich (Literature)
Fluke, Joanne - Strawberry Shortcake Murder - 2001, 296p.
Hannah turns detective again! This is
another delicious Hannah Swensen Mystery. This time Hannah
is a judge at
a dessert bake-off, when a fellow judge is found dead.
There are seven great recipes throughout the book. (I recommend
the Strawberry Shortcake on page 14–17) Nadine Walsh
George, Anne - Murder Boogies with Elvis - 2001,
Anne George writes delightful "gentle" mysteries
that make me laugh out loud. Her detectives are two southern
sisters who, in their "mature" years, find
themselves embroiled in one adventure after another. I
love this book for its wonderful characters Aunt Pat and
Aunt Sister, southern belles with a twist, a cadre of Elvis
impersonators and a horde of flaky in-laws to be. It doesn't
get better than this. Pat Markert (Circulation)
Gibbons, Stella - Cold Comfort Farm - 1932/1996,
Having grown up in a farming community, I found
this tale of a ramshakle English farm and its "Pollyanna-like" savior,
hysterical. This book reads like James Herriot on laughing
gas. Judy Aulik (Reference)
Griner, Paul - Collectors - 1999, 174p.
Jean Duprez meets Steven at her cousin's wedding,
there is a strange attraction. They then proceed to a lovely
day of sailing which ends with Steven slamming her hand
in the taxi door—an accident? After Jean engineers
a chance encounter with him at a flea market, she finally
begins to realize that he might have something special
in mind for her. A short, but very intense, psychological
novel about people and relationships. Lynn McCullagh (Literature)
Grippando, James - Under Cover of Darkness - 2000, 399p.
A gripping novel centered around the
disappearance of Beth Wheatley, wife of a corporate executive
suddenly leaving her husband and daughter in shock. Andie
Henning, a local FBI agent, is assigned to the case and
it soon becomes apparent that Beth may have left voluntarily.
Twists and turns keep the reader guessing till the surprising
finish. Sheila Guenzer (Literature)
Harris, Joanne - Five Quarters of the Orange - 2001, 307p.
Framboise Simon returns quietly to the
village Les Laveuses, on the banks of the River Loire,
to restore her childhood
home, and open a small creperie. While sorting through
her mother's legacy, a scrapbook of recipes, Framboise
sifts through the secrets and events of one summer during
the German occupation, searching for insight into a summer
that ended in tragedy. Terri Williams (Literature)
Hart, Carolyn G. - Death on Demand - 1987,
This is the first book in a series of mysteries
about Annie Laurance, proprietress of the "best mystery
bookstore this side of Atlanta," and her charming
fiancé, Max. Together they solve murders on a posh
island community off the South Carolina coast. This series
goes light on the murders and heavy on the witty dialogue,
quirky characters and references to mysteries and mystery
authors. Sara Pemberton (Children's)
Haruf, Kent - Plainsong - 1999, 301p.
interesting story combining different individuals into
a "family" relationship. The story revolves
around two bachelor brothers and their tender loving care
of a pregnant teenager. It is a book that is easy to read
in one long night. Rita Regis (Administration)
Herbert, Frank - Dune - 1965, 517p.
tale, vividly written. On the surface it is science fiction
at its best, and it dives deep into issues that
are timeless. A story of government, religion, even ecology,
this book shows how a religion can evolve and people can
be moved by prophecy. A must read! Ben Vilimek (Literature)
Howard, Linda - Mr. Perfect - 2000, 343p.
friends compile a list of the qualities of a perfect
man. It's just a joke—until someone makes
it deadly serious. Fast moving romantic suspense, with
believable characters. Lorel Trout (Circulation)
Greg Iles - The Quiet Game - 1999, 433p.
losing his beloved wife to cancer, Penn Cage, prosecutor
turned author, retreats to his family home in Natchez with
his young daughter. He will not find peace until he solves
a 30-year-old murder and confronts ghosts from his past.
A sympathetic hero and an involving plot ensure that you
won't put the book down until the last page. Marty
King, Stephen - The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - 1999, 224p.
Nine-year-old Trisha, hiking the Appalachian
Trail with her mom and brother, lags behind—and
is promptly lost. Alone with only her Walkman radio,
for food, trudges through swamps, flees an unknown and
frightening beast, and gains comfort from listening to
Boston Red Sox baseball and the exploits of her favorite
player, Tom Gordon, who, in a sense, keeps her company
on this coming-of-age survival adventure. Joyce Saricks
Kingsolver, Barbara - The Poisonwood Bible - 1998, 546p.
In 1959, preacher Nathan Price takes
his wife Orleanna and four daughters to a remote village
in the Belgian Congo
to spread "The Word." The family finds themselves
unprepared to deal with the primitive living conditions,
the natives' hostility towards Nathan's message
of salvation, and the political upheaval as the country
fights for independence from Belgium. Told in alternate
chapters from the point of view of Orleanna and her daughters,
it shows unique perspectives of their experiences during
their years in the Congo. Marianne Trautvetter (Literature)
Kingsolver, Barbara - Prodigal Summer - 2000,
Wildlife biologist Deanna Wolfe has returned home
to Southern Appalachia in order to work in the national
forest on Zebulon
Mountain. In the valley below, Lusa Landowski is struggling
to keep the family farm afloat. During the course of one
summer their stories are interwoven with those of their
neighbors to come to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion
at novels end. Barbara Kingsolver's love for the
environment and great ability to evoke a sense of time
and place add a rich dimension to this very readable novel.
Susan Hanson (Reference)
Kokoris, Jim - The Rich Part of Life - 2001,
When 11-year-old Teddy Pappas' father wins the lottery
on the anniversary of his mother's death, the family's
life changes forever. Soon, Great Aunt Bess comes from
Milwaukee to help out the family, as does Teddy's
Uncle Frank, who produces cheap vampire movies in Hollywood.
What ensues is a quirky and touching story about a family's
search for itself. Lora Bruggeman (Literature)
Kokoris, Jim - The Rich Part of Life - 2001,
Through the eyes of 11-year-old Teddy, we get to
know and love the colorful Pappas family members, who
other through the unlikely event of winning the Lottery.
Wonderful characterizations of a quirky family made me
laugh, while I felt for their struggles to relate. Jamie
Lowell, Elizabeth - Moving Target - 2001,
Elizabeth Lowell's stories of romantic suspense
span the continents and include details and insights into
the exotic worlds of diamonds, ancient jade, Baltic amber,
exotic pearls and imperial rubies. In Moving Target, she
combines the arts of illuminated manuscripts and weaving
with a hint of mysticism. Melody Danley (Administration)
Miller, Sue - The World Below - 2001, 275p.
out the family home, Cath Hubbard finds her grandmother's
diary, written in 1919 while in a tuberculosis sanitarium.
Cath revises her view of family history after learning
the truth of her grandparents' marriage and life
together. Lisa Bobis (Reference)
Paretsky, Sara - Total Recall - 2001, 414p.
Warshawski, while working on a case for a poor family
cheated out of their life insurance, is sucked into a whirlpool
of international crime that stretches back to the atrocities
of Nazi Germany; and she uncovers a truth that almost destroys
Lotty Herschel, her oldest friend. Jan Knudsen (Circulation)
Picoult, Jodie - Plain Truth - 2000, 405p.
dead infant is found in an Amish barn, and the 18-year-old,
unmarried daughter of the Amish farmer is accused of taking
the child's life after the birth. Ellie Hathaway,
a disillusioned big city lawyer, comes to the Amish community
in Pennsylvania to defend Katie, the accused. Very thought-provoking.
Justice is not always black and white. Nancy Poch (Circulation)
Ray, Jeanne - Julie and Romeo - 2000, 227p.
of the Cacciamani and Roseman families, rival florists,
have hated each other for years, although no
one can quite remember why. Sparks fly between the families' grown
children when their parents, Romeo Cacciamani and Julie
Roseman, fall in love in this humorous, romantic story.
Sue O'Brien (Literature)
Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire - 2000, 734p.
The Fourth in the Harry Potter
series, it is also the best. The plot revolves around
the Triwizard Tournament,
a competition between Harry's school, Hogwarts, and
two other schools. Each school is allowed one contestant,
so, how (and why) is Harry selected to be the fourth contestant?
What's wonderful about a Harry Potter book is of
course, the humor, incredible detail about the magical
world, and the way Rowling weaves themes such as the triumph
of good over evil into the story. See also J/F/ROWLING.
Bonnie Reid (Reference)
Spencer, LaVyrle - Small Town Girl - 1997,
A small town girl comes home after becoming famous
and falls in love all over again. A gentle family-style
story. Daksha Mistry (Circulation)
Smith, Betty - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - 1943,
This is a coming of age story about a little girl,
Francie, living in the Brooklyn slums in the early 1900s.
goes far beyond an entertaining narrative. It evokes an
emotional response deep within one's own humanity.
I feel lucky to have read it. Bevin Brouillet (Reference)
Soueif, Ahdaf - The Map of Love - 1999,
Through the discovery of her grandmother's
letters and diaries, New York journalist Isabel finds
of her family she never knew she had. Alternating between
present day and the turn of the century, this involving
family saga/romance offers insights into both historic
and modern day Egypt. Janet Cole (Reference)
Walters, Minette - The Shape of Snakes - 2001,
An engrossing psychological suspense story told
by someone the reader only knows as M, who twenty years
a neighbor killed in a supposed car accident. Haunted by
Annie's death, M has attempted over the years to
piece together what actually happened and is now confronting
the neighbors she believes were also witnesses. Some graphic
descriptions of violence. Anya Fiorelli (Technical Services)
Wells, Rebecca - Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - 1996. 356p.
Explores the relationship between a mother
and daughter and moves back and forth through time. Interesting
it is set in Louisiana with the backdrop of southern culture
versus a daughter who has moved away and must come to terms
with her past. Carole Zoeller (Reference)