Note to Shelf: July 2023

Created on July 5, 2023, 3:41 pm

Last Updated July 6, 2023, 11:32 am

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Jill states, "Dennis Lehane does not disappoint in his latest novel, Small Mercies. Set in South Boston during the desegregation of the public schools, Lehane blends crime, revenge, and family drama within a narrative about family love. There are unspoken rules in the Irish neighborhood of “Southie,” and if one steps over that invisible line, there are unspeakable consequences. When Mary Pat Fennessy’s only child, Jules, does not come home one late night, Mary Pat takes on the head of the Irish mob and his cronies, in order to uncover the truth about her daughter’s disappearance. The same night Jules disappears, a young Black man is killed and no one from Southie is talking. Small Mercies is a propulsive thriller that will keep readers turning the pages late into the night. This literary masterpiece is one of my top favorites this year! "
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Kiera exclaims, "In this coming-of-age novel, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, that is at times laugh-out-loud funny and tear-inducing, readers meet Damon Fields, better known as “Demon Copperhead.” From the get-go, life is tough. The flaming-haired Demon (his copper locks are the one thing he inherited from his absentee father) is born on the floor of a double-wide in Appalachia to a teen mom. In rapid-fire, whip smart prose, Demon narrates growing up in foster care, relying on the kindness of neighbors, and navigating a broken system. Inspired by Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, another story about generational poverty and injustice, Kingslover takes an unflinching look at modern-day issues including addiction, mental health, and abuse. Despite the heavy themes, readers will find themselves smiling and rooting for Demon’s indomitable spirit. Pro-tip: Listen to the audio version, if you can. The Appalachian dialect is superbly executed."
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Ann shares, "Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is a rollicking novel about what constitutes a family. Vera Wong, an elderly woman, lives above her run-down teahouse in San Francisco. She is widowed and has an adult son who tends not to respond to her texts. Vera has a strict schedule she adheres to everyday: taking walks, checking her exotic flavorful teas, texting her son, and doing detective work on the internet. Her life is quiet until one morning she discovers a dead man in her shop. The police are dismissive of her theories that it could be murder. So, Vera decides to do her own detective work and discovers "suspects" in the case. Every person she is investigating had a motive to kill the man, from a jilted wife, a person he scammed, to an angry twin brother. The "suspects" will become a big part of Vera's life and heart, but she continues to investigate each one's story to determine the murderer. Although the book starts with a murder, it becomes a novel of connection and second chances with a protagonist that can easily make you smile and wince at the same time. Vera Wong's Tea Shop is a delightful place to visit and enjoy one of her special teas. Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is a fun read!"
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Jo tells us that, "At the Bloomsbury Book Shop in post-war London, three young women forge a strong bond that allows them to overcome challenges, realize dreams, and take on new opportunities. These women, with input from Samuel Beckett, Ellen Doubleday, Peggy Guggenheim and others, are all striving for a future that is larger than society will permit. Set in the 1950s, the girls at Bloomsbury Books have some big, big plans! Do you think they will succeed?"
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Maria shares "The Girl from Guernica is a gripping historical fiction read. On the morning of April 27, 1937, a young girl named Sibi is walking with her three younger sisters in the Spanish village of Guernica, when suddenly there is a German bomb attack. Griff, an American attaché, rescues one of very few survivors, SIbi. Their paths cross frequently and Griff gives Sibi and her family indispensable in order to keep them under the German radar. The German government claims that the Spanish Republic was responsible for the attack and to keep the truth under wraps, the Gestapo is willing to silence anyone who contradicts this misinformation. Told in the first person, the narrative portrays the terrors faced by Sibi and her family as they navigate life during the war. Just like the famous Pablo Picasso painting, “Guernica,” this novel is an unforgettable story that vividly captures one of the most notorious events in history. A must read for the summer!"
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8) viper
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