Friday, March 29, 2013

Look Alikes: Silhouettes

Sometimes books have surprisingly similar titles, and sometimes they have rather similar cover designs. Today we've gathered nine recent books that feature a silhouetted face on the cover. Cover design often give readers a hint about the sort of story can be found within their pages. The books gathered here tend to be character-driven, serious in tone, and have a setting that is historical, international, or both.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Novelist and memoirist Rachel Simon's 2011 novel tells the moving story of love, family, and discrimination. In 1968, Lynnie, a white woman, and Homan, a black man, meet and fall in love as residents at the Pennsylvania School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. When Lynnie becomes pregnant, they escape and while on the run she gives birth to a daughter. The officials catch up with the young family hiding in rural home with a retired teacher, and the family is divided.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Cleave's moving second novel is the story about two very different women, who alternate narrating the cataclysmic intersection of their lives. Little Bee is a Nigerian refugee who came to England in a cargo ship with Andrew O’Rourke’s business card. Sarah is Andrew's widow. Cleave pays great attention to the voices of his characters in his moving novel. The story is often dark, but you’ll also find humor and hope.

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri
Iranian American author Dina Nayeri's most recent novel, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, is a lyrical and character-driven coming-of-age story set in a seaside village in 1980s Iran. When she is eleven, Saba's twin sister and mother disappear, and Saba spends years imagining the life they must be living in distant America, an escape from the bleak reality of Saba's life in Iran.

The Healing by Jonathan Odell
Mississippi native Jonathan Odell is the author of two richly detailed and character-driven novels about his home state's troubled past. The Healing is an atmospheric story of the complex relationships between a plantation owner and his slaves, as told by Granada midwife, former slave, and inhabitant of the former plantation in 1930s.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
Ms. Vreeland is the author of several lyrical novels that illustrate the worlds and minds of artists and their art. Her titles are well-researched, leisurely paced, and character-driven. Clara Driscoll, of Clara and Mr. Tiffany, was an employee of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and the creative mind behind the iconic Tiffany lamp. This lushly visual novel explores the life of the little known artist and the dynamic period at the turn of the century.

The White Garden: a novel of Virginia Woolf by Stephanie Barron
Ms. Barron is the author of intricately plotted historical fiction and mysteries, including the Jane Austen Mystery series. The White Garden is a fast-paced and suspenseful tale of gardening, suicide, and the literary world of Virginia Woolf. Jo Bellamy came to England from America to study the gardens of Vita Sackville-West, and her grandfather who worked in the gardens prior to his tragic end.

Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers
Canadian novels Suzanne Desrochers applies her research into Canada's history in her first novel, Bride of New France. A richly detailed tale that doesn't shy away from the grim realities of life in 17th century Canada, the story follows Laure Beausejour on her journey from Paris to the wilderness.

In Darkness by Nick Lake
Winner of the 2013 Michael L Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature, In Darkness is a gritty and character-driven novel of life after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. The story is told from the perspective of Shorty, a 15-year-old gang member trapped in the rubble. Author Nick Lake weaves the story of Haiti's fight for independence in 1804 with Shorty's life in the slums.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin
Tara Conklin's debut novel, The House Girl, is a thought-provoking look at slavery's lasting impact in the United States. This compelling and lyrical tale is split between 1852 Virginia and modern New York City. Lina Sparrow is a lawyer working to build a class-action suit to gain reparations for the descendants of slaves. Josephine Bell is a 17-year-old house slave who cares for Lu Ann Bell, an artist. A moving story of redemption, justice, love, and family.

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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