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  1. Tenth of December

    by George Saunders
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Eclectic

    A young girl named Alison is kidnapped three days before her birthday. Kyle, a boy who lives nearby whose parents enforce very strict household rules, sees the event unfold and must decide whether to help Alison (who used to be his friend but stopped hanging out with him after becoming popular) or to ignore the situation to keep himself safe. A father has a tall pole in the front yard that he constantly decorates for holidays. His child recounts life with his dad and how the man eventually lost his sanity after his wife died and began to decorate the … (Wikipedia)

  2. The Underground Railroad

    by Colson Whitehead
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Fairly popular

    The story is told in the third person, focusing mainly on Cora. Scattered single chapters also focus on Cora's mother Mabel, the slavecatcher Ridgeway, a reluctant slave sympathizer named Ethel, and Cora's fellow slave Caesar. Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia and an outcast after her mother Mabel ran off without her. She resents Mabel for escaping, although it is later revealed that her mother, in an attempt to return to Cora, died from a snake bite and never reached her. Caesar approaches Cora about a plan to flee. Reluctant at first, she eventually agrees as her … (Wikipedia)

  3. The Sympathizer

    by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢⚪️
    Readership: Eclectic

    It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French … (Goodreads)

  4. Americanah

    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Affinity: 🟢🟡⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Fairly popular

    Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. … (Goodreads)

  5. Lincoln in the Bardo

    by George Saunders
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other—for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely … (Goodreads)

  6. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

    by Anthony Marra
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Eclectic

    A brilliant debut novel that brings to life an abandoned hospital where a tough-minded doctor decides to harbor a hunted young girl, with powerful consequences. In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed—a failed physician—to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonja, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees and mourns her missing sister. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back … (Goodreads)

  7. A Visit from the Goon Squad

    by Jennifer Egan
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa. We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist’s couch in New York City, confronting her long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis … (Goodreads)

  8. Matterhorn

    by Karl Marlantes
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Eclectic

    Featured in PBS's ,The Vietnam War, series by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick. The ,New York Times, bestselling, "powerhouse" (,TIME, Magazine) debut from Vietnam War veteran, Karl Marlantes. An incredible publishing story—written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a New York Times best seller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next and a USA Today best seller— Matterhorn has been hailed as a “brilliant account of war” ( New York Times Book Review ). Now out in paperback, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the … (Barnes & Noble)

  9. There There

    by Tommy Orange
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    The book begins with an essay by Orange, detailing "brief and jarring vignettes revealing the violence and genocide that Indigenous people have endured, and how it has been sanitized over the centuries." ,, As the novel continues into fiction it alternates between first and third person perspectives, following 12 Native American characters in the area of Oakland, California. ,, ,, ,[a], The main characters include, Tony Loneman, Dene Oxendene, Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield, Edwin Black, Bill Davis, Calvin Johnson, Jacquie Red Feather, Orvil Red Feather, Octavio Gomez, Daniel Gonzales, Blue, and Thomas Frank. The book examines Blue with "heartbreaking … (Wikipedia)

  10. The Things They Carried

    by Tim O'Brien
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟡⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Fairly popular

    In 1979, Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato —a novel about the Vietnam War—won the National Book Award. In this, his second work of fiction about Vietnam, O'Brien's unique artistic vision is again clearly demonstrated. Neither a novel nor a short story collection, it is an arc of fictional episodes, taking place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later. … (Goodreads)

  11. The Round House

    by Louise Erdrich
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Eclectic

    The novel opens with Joe Coutts and his father, Judge Bazil Coutts, pulling out saplings from their house's garden and foundation. They realize Joe's mother and Bazil's wife, Geraldine Coutts, has not come home from an errand. The two go looking for her and see her speeding home. Geraldine arrives home smelling like gasoline and vomit. She is in shock. Joe and Bazil take her to the hospital where Joe realizes his mother was raped. Police from multiple jurisdictions record statements from Geraldine and Bazil, and Joe is taken home by his aunt, Clemence. ,, A week later, Geraldine stays … (Wikipedia)

  12. Fortune Smiles

    by Adam Johnson
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Very niche

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson is one of America's most provocative and powerful authors. In Fortune Smiles - his first book since Orphan Master - he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from, while offering something we all seek from fiction: a new way of looking at our world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. "George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine" follows a former warden of a … (Goodreads)

  13. A Hologram for the King

    by Dave Eggers
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Very niche

    The novel tells the story of a washed-up, desperate American salesman, Alan Clay, who travels to Saudi Arabia to secure the IT contract from the royal government for a massive new complex being built in the middle of the desert. Michiko Kakutani describes the novel as having a "Hemingwayesque voice" with some of the main characters' adventures taking on a "Kafkaesque flavor". ,, The novel also makes intentional analogies to ,Waiting for Godot,. ,, The New York Times review of the novel by Michiko Kakutani , was generally positive, noting "he has achieved something that is more modest and equally … (Wikipedia)

  14. Salvage the Bones

    by Jesmyn Ward
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢⚪️
    Readership: Eclectic

    The novel follows a working-class African-American family living in southern Mississippi in 2005. The family consists of Daddy, his daughter Esch (the narrator), and his sons Randall, Skeetah, and Junior. The mother died while giving birth to Junior. Skeetah has a close relationship with his dog China, who gives birth to a litter of puppies at the beginning of the novel. Esch finds out she is pregnant by Manny, a friend of the family's who is dating another girl. Skeetah and Manny have an altercation at one of Randall's basketball games, and they agree to resolve it with a dog … (Wikipedia)

  15. Crossroads

    by Jonathan Franzen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Very niche

    Jonathan Franzen's gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in ,Crossroads,. It's December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless--unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem's sister, Becky, long the social … (Goodreads)

  16. This Is How You Lose Her

    by Junot Díaz
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Eclectic

    On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness—and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of … (Goodreads)

  17. The Good Lord Bird

    by James McBride
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Very niche

    Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found ,here, From the bestselling author of ,The Color of Water ,and ,Song Yet Sung ,comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive.,, Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes … (Goodreads)

  18. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

    by Junot Díaz
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟡⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Fairly popular

    Oscar de León (nicknamed Oscar Wao, a bastardization of Oscar Wilde ) is an overweight Dominican growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. Oscar desperately wants to be successful with women but, from a young age, is unable to find love, largely because he is a nerd obsessed with science fiction and comic books. His great fear is that he will die a virgin. After high school, Oscar attends Rutgers University. His sister's boyfriend Yunior (the narrator of much of the novel) moves in with Oscar and tries to help him get in shape and become more "normal". After "getting dissed … (Wikipedia)

  19. Dept. of Speculation

    by Jenny Offill
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢⚪️
    Readership: Eclectic

    Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offill's heroine, referred to in these pages as simply "the wife," once exchanged love letters with her husband postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes - a colicky baby, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions - the wife analyzes her predicament, … (Goodreads)

  20. Matrix

    by Lauren Groff
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Very niche

    A Financial Times and NPR Best Book of 2021 A Virginia Living Favorite Book (2021) Lauren Groff returns with her exhilarating first new novel since the groundbreaking ,Fates and Furies,. Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular … (Goodreads)