Book Club Recommendations

Book Club Recommendations 2014


Kent Haruf
9780307950420 $15.00 257 pages
Following the earlier novels Plainsong and Eventide, Holt, Colorado, a small town on the Eastern Plains, is again the home for a cast of characters exquisitely rendered by Haruf. Dad Lewis is dying, and as he grows weaker his life story unfolds, one of hard work, heartbreak, grave errors, and lasting love. Woven through are memorable characters, each deeply human and written with great respect for the human condition. Haruf’s prose is as deliberate as poetry and is stunning in its power.

The Boys in the Boat:Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin

boys in the boat

Daniel James Brown
9780143125471 $17.00 404 pages
In the early 1930s, nine young University of Washington students were part of the rowing crew striving to become the final team picked to represent the USA at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, even as Hitler was brazenly building his Third Reich. This is the emotional story of the crew and those who put their trust in them. Fiercely determined by the hard times of the Great Depression, they poured their hearts into sculpting a victorious team. A most impressive story, expertly told.

Gone Girl


Gillian Flynn

9780307588371 $15.00 422 pages

Gone Girl is a wonderfully paced, dazzlingly written story about a married couple whose lives unravel on their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy goes missing and feckless Nick becomes the prime suspect. Alternating between Nick’s account of the present day murder investigation and Amy’s journal entries from their courtship and marriage, this isn’t as much of a ‘whodunnit’ but rather more of a psychological ‘whydunnit’ that keeps readers hooked to the very last page.

Burial Rites


Hannah Kent

9780316243926 $15.00 311 pages

Kent’s debut explores what happens when a condemned woman is sent to board with a local family while she awaits the day of her execution. Set in Iceland in 1829, the stark and rugged landscape is counterpoint to the complex moral and emotional negotiations between the condemned woman, Agnes, the priest sent to rescue her soul, and the family that takes her in. Kent’s prose ranges from spare to lyrical and perfectly captures the mood and feeling of this unique place and time.

The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend

heart of everything


Bob Drury & Tom Clavin

9781451654684 $17.00 09/02/14 CSU Fall Library Series 2014

This fiery narrative, fueled by contemporary diaries and journals, newspaper reporst, eyewitness accounts, and myriad first-hand sourcing, is the definitive story of the conflict between an expanding white civilization and the Plains Indians who stood in its way. The Heart of Everything That Is not only places the reader at the center of this stirring epoch, but finally gives the great warrior-chief Red Cloud the modern-day recognition he deserves.

Smarter Than You Think


Clive Thompson

9780143125822 $17.00 08/26/14 CSU Fall Library Series 2014

A revelatory and timely look at how technology boosts our cognitive abilities–making us smarter, more productive, and more creative than ever
It’s undeniable–technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson delivers a resounding “yes.” In “Smarter Than You Think, “Thompson shows that every technological innovation–from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph–has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But, as in the past, we adapt–learning to use the new and retaining what is good of the old.” Smarter Than You Think “embraces and extols this transformation, presenting an exciting vision of the present and the future.

Let The Great World Spin


Colum McCann

9780812973990 $15.00 375 pages 2014 Fort Collins Reads Selection Nov 9th tickets for sale after Labor Day

McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.

Mrs Queen Takes The Train


William Kuhn

9780062208293 $14.99 374 pages

Mrs Queen Takes the Train wittily imagines the kerfuffle that transpires when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun, leaving behind a desperate team of courtiers who must find the missing Windsor before a national scandal erupts. Reminiscent of Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, this lively, wonderfully inventive romp takes readers into the mind of the grand matriarch of Britain’s Royal Family, bringing us an endearing runaway Queen Elizabeth on the town—and leading us behind the Buckingham Palace walls and into the upstairs/downstairs spaces of England’s monarchy.

The Aviator’s Wife

aviators wife

Melanie Benjamin

978034528681 $15.00 434 pages

We know Charles Lindbergh as the hero who was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic, and his wife, Anne, as a poet and writer. In The Aviator’s Wife, Benjamin offers a vivid portrait of the private side of the man and his family. The story is told from Anne’s point of view and portrays a life where the family’s every move is monitored by the press and fed to the public. From Anne’s growing self-confidence as Charles’ co-pilot in exploration to the tragic kidnapping of their firstborn son to Lindbergh’s extra-marital affairs, we share the joys and sadness of the aviator’s wife in this poignant novel.

A House in the Sky

house in the sky

Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett

9781451645613 $16.00 373 pages

As a child, Amanda escaped from her bleak, impoverished surroundings by immersing herself in the wonders and exotic locales in old National Geographic magazines. As a young adult, she found that she could make good money as a cocktail waitress and take herself to those same faraway places. Fearless, curious, hungry for experience and adventure, Amanda traveled the world. It was when she went to Somalia that her hunger for adventure took her too far. Amanda and her friend Nigel were kidnapped for ransom and held for more than a year. Sometimes difficult to read, this is ultimately a story beautifully told, with a happy outcome.

Life After Life


Kate Atkinson

9780316176491 $18.00 525 pages

There are not enough superlatives to describe Life After Life. The many lives of Ursula Todd combine to present a stunning exposition of the complexity, fragility, and utter randomness of human existence. Atkinson has produced a wry, observant, and provocative novel suffused with a subtle humor that simultaneously entertains and challenges the reader. It is a towering achievement!

The Astronaut Wives Club


Lily Koppel

9781455503247 $17.00 320 pages

The Astronaut Wives Club is a clever and engaging book celebrating a group of women who, today, are often overlooked — if not forgotten. It is reasonable to claim that these women held the space program together in its early years. Koppel pays tribute to their emotional stamina in a sympathetic yet unburdened manner. The Astronaut Wives Club will most definitely be embraced in the celebrity-thirsty world that we still live in today; its universal appeal is guaranteed to span generations and demographics of readers.

The Age of Miracles


Karen Thompson Walker

9780812982947 $15.00 284 pages

Spellbinding, haunting, The Age of Miracles is a beautiful novel of catastrophe and survival, growth and change, the story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in an extraordinary time. On an ordinary Saturday, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer, gravity is affected, the birds, the tides, human behavior and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world of danger and loss, Julia faces surprising developments in herself, and her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by Hannah and other friends, the vulnerability of first love, a sense of isolation, and a rebellious new strength. With crystalline prose and the indelible magic of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker gives us a breathtaking story of people finding ways to go on, in an ever-evolving world.

The Martian

the martian

Andy Weir

9780553418026 $15.00 400 pages

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next.

The Dinner


Herman Koch

9780385346856 $14.00 310 pages

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

Big Brother

Lionel Shriver

9780061458606 $15.99 373 pages

Big Brother is a striking novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity from Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin. For Pandora, cooking is a form of love. Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self-employed high-end cabinetmaker, now spurns the “toxic” dishes that he’d savored through their courtship, and spends hours each day to manic cycling. Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn’t recognize him. In the years since they’ve seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It’s him or me. Rich with Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we’ll make to save single members of our families, and whether it’s ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.

On The Horizon

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands Chirs Bohjalian $25.55

Station Eleven Emily St John Mandel $24.95

My Real Children Jo Walton $25.99

Goldfinch Donna Tartt $30.00

The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd $27.95

The Painter Peter Heller $24.95

Didn’t Make The List, But Should Be Considered

The Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert $17.00

And The Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini $16.00

The Silver Star Jeanette Walls $16.00


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