The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor—these form a series of events that changes the orphaned Pip’s life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman.
The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent is set in the 17th century and deals that period of mass hysteria and religious extremism which resulted in accusations of witchcraft, the resulting imprisonment of about 150 people, including children, and the hanging deaths of fourteen women and five men. The Heretic’s Daughter is told through the knowing eyes of ten year old Sarah, daughter of accused witch, Martha Carrier.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is about the bond between three friends, Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, students at an isolated English boarding school, as they try to make sense and come to terms with their shared destiny. The novel is told through the reminisces of the now 31-year old Kathy.
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Deep into the night, an infant is thrust through the small swinging door cut into the wooden entry gate of Saint Anthony’s Orphanage for Boys. The infant is missing a hand and the only clue to his identity is three letters, REN, sewn in the collar of his soiled baby clothes.
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella
“The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you’re hungry again.” ~ George Miller, British writer
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella is an affirmation of life, love, and good food. The setting is WWII occupied Italy. The British Army is in Naples and James Gould, a young naive British officer, is assigned to prevent weddings between the lonely British soldiers and the young Italian women desperately trying to survive the war. James’ very proper and restrained existence is set upside down by the fiery young woman, Livia Pertini, he hires as the British personnel’s cook.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Our heroine, Elizabeth, has been trained in the deadly arts by Chinese Master Liu. Our hero, Mr. Darcy, also trained in the deadly arts, has “studied solely in Japan. The setting is Hertfordshire England and, the countryside is overrun by the zombie menace!
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
“The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen…”
The setting is a grim and spooky 1920’s Barcelona. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a mystery filled with secrets, betrayal, obsessions and possession. David Martin is commissioned to write a great book for which “people will live and die.” He moves into a decrepit house in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) and finds his book eerily connected to the old house.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Story of Edgar Sawtelleby David Wroblewski is set in Northern Wisconsin in The Chequamegon National Forest and surrounding area. Remote and heavily wooded, teeming with wildlife and lakes, The Chequamegon National Forest is the ideal wilderness hideaway for a boy not wanting to be found.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
In Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie two young boys, the narrator age 17, and his best friend, Luo, age 18, are sent to a remote village in the mountainous Szechuan region of China in the 1970’s as part of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution of China vilified intellectuals. Schools were closed and many of the educated-class were imprisioned or sent to live in the country for hard manual labor and re-education by the peasant-class. The two exiled friends meet the Little Seamstress, a young illiterate peasant girl, and, ironically, discover a secret cache of Western literature, which has a profound affect on both boys and the Little Seamstress.