These are the books we are considering, in no particular order. Suggest more by sending an e-mail to the webmaster.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
“The Moonstone is a page-turner,” writes Carolyn Heilbrun. “It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular.” Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers.
510 pages, 20+ copies in PINES
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.
Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!
54-100 pages, depending on the edition, 12+ copies in PINES
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
Many copies in PINES (as of Apr 2017, most checked out)
Dune by Frank Herbert
Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the ‘spice’ melange, the most important and valuable substance in the cosmos. The story explores the complex, multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion as the forces of the empire confront each other for control of Arrakis.
Published in 1965, it won the Hugo Award in 1966 and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune is frequently cited as the world’s best-selling sf novel.
Numerous copies in various formats in PINES
It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2002, and follows the story of Miles Roby in a fictional, small blue-collar town in Maine and the people, places, and the past surrounding him, as manager of the Empire Grill diner.
Numerous copies in various formats in PINES
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
Numerous copies in various formats in PINES
The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as “Sisi,” is the Princess Diana of nineteenth-century Europe. Famously beautiful, as captured in a portrait with diamond stars in her hair, she is unfulfilled in her marriage to the older Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi has spent years evading the stifling formality of royal life on her private train or yacht or, whenever she can, on the back of a horse. This brilliant new novel by Daisy Goodwin is a lush, irresistible story of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures.
A beautiful empress trapped in a loveless marriage, a dashing but impoverished horseman and a clever heiress form a passionate love triangle in 19th-century England against a backdrop of the legendary Grand National competition.
Four black children growing up in rural Mississippi during the Depression experience racial antagonisms and hard times, but learn from their parents the pride and self-respect they need to survive.
80+ copies in PINES.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
Numerous copies in different formats available in PINES
Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A SEPARATE COUNTRY is a novel based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army–and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins. But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever.
A SEPARATE COUNTRY is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures–and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.
Numerous copies in different formats available in PINES
A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel published in 1962. Set in a near future English society featuring a subculture of extreme youth violence, the teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him.
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
From the acclaimed author of My Name Is Red, comes a spellbinding tale of disparate yearnings–for love, art, power, and God–set in a remote Turkish town, where stirrings of political Islamism threaten to unravel the secular order. — Following years of lonely political exile in Germany, Ka, a middle-aged poet, returns to Istanbul to attend his mother’s funeral. Only partly recognizing this place of his cultured, middle-class youth, he is even more disoriented by news of strange events in the wider country: a wave of suicides among girls forbidden to wear their head scarves at school. An apparent thaw of his writer’s curiosity–a frozen sea these many years–leads him to Kars, a far-off town near the Russian border and the epicenter of the suicides.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
“The war tried to kill us in the spring,” begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger.
Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails Sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes impossible actions.
With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, The Yellow Birds is a groundbreaking novel about the costs of war that is destined to become a classic.
There are 80+ copies in PINES.
Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a tale of three women, connected by personal rebellion, betrayal, and a mysterious painting called “The Valley of Amazement.” As with all of Tan’s novels, we are swept into the pivotal moments of Shanghai’s history and the emotional turmoil of mothers and daughters, heritage and individuality, race and culture, and the damaging residue of secrets that lead to misunderstanding upon misunderstanding, from one generation to the next. Lulu, Violet, and Flora, each of a different racial mix and status, must question what is fated from birth, where they belong, and what they can still change. … read more …
Many copies in PINES, also available in other formats & editions
In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.
Filled with rich, true details—much of the story is drawn from historical events—and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.
Many copies in PINES, various formats & editions
In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means “Who Fears Death?” in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny–to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture-and eventually death itself.
The epic story of one prehistoric girl’s bid to change her future and the future of our world. This is alternate history at its most mindblowing.
Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made their home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family’s criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton’s office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction. A multi-generational saga of crime, family, and vengeance, Bull Mountain is a stunning debut from a major new voice in Southern fiction.
is not a realistic book. It isn’t meant to be. The aura of fairytale lends power and mystery to the writing. While place is utterly important to the book, time is not. I did not try to figure out when the novel was supposed to take place, but it could just as easily have been now as a hundred years ago.
Perhaps all this talk about place, time and story seems roundabout to you. Perhaps you want a synopsis of plot and a straightforward review that tells you what to expect so that you can decide whether to read this book. For those of you who want that from this review…here’s what to expect: A good story written by a very good writer about a good story told by a very good writer. Not clear enough? Pick up the book. Setterfield can tell it much better than I can.
The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.
The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.
33 copies in PINES
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Here, in an astonishing debut by a gifted storyteller, is the magnificent saga of proud and passionate men and women and the turbulent times through which they suffer and triumph. They are the Truebas. And theirs is a world you will not want to leave, and one you will not forget. — Esteban — The patriarch, a volatile and proud man whose lust for land is legendary and who is haunted by his tyrannical passion for the wife he can never completely possess.
Clara — The matriarch, elusive and mysterious, who foretells family tragedy and shapes the fortunes of the house of the Truebas.
Blanca — Their daughter, soft-spoken yet rebellious, whose shocking love for the son of her father’s foreman fuels Esteban’s everlasting contempt… even as it produces the grandchild he adores.
Alba — The fruit of Blanca’s forbidden love, a luminous bearty, a fiery and willful woman… the family’s break with the past and link to the future.
Around 80 copies in PINES