Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Best Books You've (Probably) Never Read

Every year, there are a handful of books that capture the nation's attention. They rocket to the top of the best-sellers list, the author makes the talk shows rounds and the waiting list at the local library is miles long. With hundreds of thousands of novels published every year in the U.S., there are bound to be some wonderful and interesting books that just simply overlooked.

If you're looking for one of those hidden gems - or just needs something new to read - we've rounded up some of The Best Books You've (Probably) Never Read. There are memoirs, mysteries, stories from the past and from around the world. There's even a tale of a book-eating rat.

Click here for the full list, read below for highlights, or stop by the Recommendations Desk to browse the titles in person!

Meteor in the Madhouse by Leon Forrest (Fiction Forrest)
A posthumous collection of five linked novellas from "the most overlooked author of the last 30 years." Each story is set in the author’s lively fictional universe, Forest County, a mirror-image of Chicago’s South Side. The intrepid hero, Joubert Antoine Jones, a successful playwright is enthralled by the misadventures of his loved ones and recounts numerous wild stories of love and betrayal, art and politics, fantasy and eccentricity.

Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage (Fiction Savage)
Born in a bookstore in a blighted 1960's Boston neighborhood, Firmin the rat miraculously learns how to read by digesting his nest of books. He quickly realizes that a literate rat is a lonely rat. In a series of misadventures, Firmin is ultimately led deep into his own imaginative soul.

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple (Mystery Temple)
 After being brutally assualted in a Melbourne stakeout that went horribly wrong, homicide detective Joe Cashin is reassigned to the sleepy oceanside town of Port Monro to recuperate. But when a Port Monro entrepreneur is discovered in his ransacked house on the verge of death, Cashin finds himself back doing serious police work. Suspicion falls on three aboriginal boys who live in the nearby ghetto; two are later killed in a botched stakeout and the other drowns in an apparent suicide. But Cashin probes further, running up against local politics, the seemingly endemic racial prejudice against the Aborigines, corrupt and inept colleagues, and the residue of his own past.

Last Night, by James Salter (Fiction Salter)
A compilation of short fiction explores the themes of love, honor, friendship, sacrifice, memory, and abandon through the lives of a translator assisting in his wife's suicide, a rare books collector, a profoundly lonely married woman, and others. Sex, betrayal, aging and death are dominant themes, whether in a night of soul-bearing among single girl friends that ends in a plaintive cry for attention; a vignette showing a charismatic, unstable male friend's effect on a complacent marriage; or the tale of a married bookseller's resistance to the promiscuous former lover.

Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau (Fiction Chamoiseau)
Translated from Creole and winner of France's most prestigious literary prize, Texaco is told from the point of view of Marie-Sophie Laborieux, daughter of a freed slave, who founds a shantytown in an area formed by Texaco's presence on the the Caribbean island of Martinique. Her story, and the story of those around her, covers the period from the abolition of slavery in 1848 through de Gaulle's 1964 visit using lush and colorful language, tangled metaphors and at a leisurely yet exciting pace.

Samedi the Deafness by Jesse Ball (Fiction Ball)
Witnessing the murder of a man who warns him of a conspiracy led by a man known as "Samedi," James Sim, a mnemonist who possesses a photographic memory, is abducted and taken to a country mansion that houses a sanatorium dedicated to curing chronic liars, where James seeks to uncover the mystery of Samedi. Poet Ball uses the language of his trade to breathe life into his inspired thriller about memory and truth.

Happy reading!
~ Allison, Adult Services

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