Middletown Thrall Library notes measures... Beyond the Bestsellers - Discovering New and Interesting Authors - Summer 2018 Edition

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BTB is published quarterly.

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Beyond the Bestsellers highlights new and notable authors not often found on bestseller lists. Discover new books and writers you might enjoy!

To learn more about a book and check on its availablity within the library system, please click or tap on its cover or title.

You can also click / tap an author's name to locate any additional titles by that writer in the library catalog.

General Fiction

  • Harry's Trees - Jon CohenHarry's Trees - Jon Cohen - An optimistic child and wary adult learn to let go, moving beyond tragedy to joy.
    U.S. Forest Service employee Harry Crane flees to the woods of Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains out of grief and guilt after the death of his wife. There he meets Amanda Jeffers and her daughter Oriana, also grieving from the loss of their husband and father. Desperate to reconnect with her father and with her unwavering belief in fairy tales, Oriana thinks Harry can help complete her story. Amanda allows the friendship, hoping Harry will bring Oriana back to reality. Rather, Oriana helps Harry learn to see the magic in the ordinary.
    Try it if you like: stories about second chances.
  • The Map of Salt and Stars - Jennifer Zeynab JoukhadarThe Map of Salt and Stars - Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar - Coming-of-Age. Parallel narratives of loss, hope, survival and finding oneself as two girls travel across the Levant eight hundred years apart.
    After her father's death, Nour and her family move back to their native Syria. When civil war breaks out they are sent on a desperate flight across North Africa to seek refuge. Disguised as a boy for her safety, Nour faces the harsh reality of life as a refugee. She comforts herself with the legend of Rawiya learned from her father. In the 12th century, widow's daughter Rawiya disguises herself to apprentice with the cartographer al-Idrisi to map the world. Her journey takes her on near mythic adventures through the same lands Nour travels in the present.
    Try it if you like: The Kite Runner.
  • The Two-Plate Solution - Jeff OliverThe Two-Plate Solution - Jeff Oliver - Satirical Fiction. A laugh-out-loud, action-packed send-up of reality TV and cooking competitions wrapped up in comfort food.
    "National Dish-aster" is a televised cooking competition filmed in an Israeli resort town with the expected egos and drama from the contestants. When a group of Palestinian terrorists infiltrate the set, the show must go on and keep the ratings up. The producer integrates the group into the competition as an opposing team. As the show continues, the Palestinians and Israelis find a shared humanity and love of hummus.
    Try it if you like: the hijinks and drama of televised cooking competitions.

Other titles to consider:

Historical Fiction

  • The Abbot's Tale - Conn IgguldenThe Abbot's Tale - Conn Iggulden - The 10th century is brought to life with the personal story of St. Dunstan of Glastonbury intertwined with the unification and rise of England.
    Dunstan narrates his life story from his childhood to serving King Aethelstan to banishment in Ghent to appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury. Full of pride and ambition, he uses his connections with Aethelstan and his successors to further his personal goal of building cathedrals as well as his national ambition for the power a united England would wield.
    Try it if you like: Bernard Cornwell.

Other titles to consider:


  • A Baby's Bones - Rebecca AlexanderA Baby's Bones - Rebecca Alexander - Alchemy meets forensics in this haunting new mystery.
    Archaeologist Sage Westfeld is investigating a 16th century well on the Isle of Wight. She does not expect to find much more than bits of pottery, but she uncovers the skeletons of a woman and baby who she believes did not meet a natural end. Sage's investigations lead her to an unsettling local legend involving alchemy, witchcraft and unrequited love.
    Try it if you like: Elly Griffiths or Kate Ellis.

Other titles to consider:


  • How to Walk Away - Katherine CenterHow to Walk Away - Katherine Center - An upbeat, yet bittersweet look at living life to the fullest after tragedy.
    Maggie Jacobsen is on the verge of a picture-perfect life. She is about to start her dream job and is sure that Chip, her pilot-in-training boyfriend, is going to propose. Everything is going so well, that she puts aside her fear of flying to go for a ride with Chip. Bad weather and lack of experience lead to a crash. Maggie is left with severe burns and a spinal cord injury while Chip walks away, in more ways than one. Faced with her new reality, Maggie reevaluates her relationships and learns to care for others when she does not know how to help herself.
    Try it if you like: Jojo Moyes or Elizabeth Berg.

Other titles to consider:

Sci-Fi / Fantasy

  • Suicide Club - Rachel HengSuicide Club - Rachel Heng - Dystopian. A thoughtful exploration of whether it is the experiences or the length of a life that matter.
    In the not-so-distant future the shadowy Ministry oversees all, deciding who has the genetics worthy of life-prolonging treatments and who does not. Overachiever Lea Kirino seems to have everything she could want: a powerful job in the organ trade, a fiance with prime genetics and at age 100 she may be on the verge of living forever. The arrival of her estranged father after an 88-year absence puts Lea under the scrutiny of the Ministry and introduces her to the Suicide Club. This underground group of rebels is determined to live, and die, on their terms, not the Ministry's.
    Try it if you like: Margaret Atwood.
  • The Poppy War - R.F. KuangThe Poppy War - R.F. Kuang - A richly-detailed historical fantasy with echoes of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    Peasant war orphan Rin defies the odds and faces fierce competition to gain admittance to the Nikara Empire's elite military academy and then win an exclusive apprenticeship. She chooses to study under an eccentric master who helps develop her talent for shamanism. But her talent comes at a cost. As war looms with Nikara's island neighbor, Rin must use her power to save the empire and face the choice between the consequences of the use of power and her desire for vengeance and divine retribution.
    Try it if you like: epic military fantasy with an east Asian flair.
  • Trail of Lightning - Rebecca RoanhorseTrail of Lightning - Rebecca Roanhorse - Apocalyptic Supernatural. A fast-paced, post-apocalyptic adventure steeped in Navajo legends.
    While much of the world drowned in a cataclysm, powers and monsters of legend have arisen in the Dinetah (the former Navajo nation) now one of the few areas to survive. Maggie Hoskie, Dinetah monster hunter, reluctantly partners with Kai Arvisor to search for a missing girl. As they follow clues from ancient legends they stumble upon the ominous discovery of dark magic at work.
    Try it if you like: world building or Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

Other titles to consider:


  • Paper Ghosts - Julia HeaberlinPaper Ghosts - Julia Heaberlin - Psychological Suspense. A tense, suspenseful road trip across Texas with two people who are not what they seem.
    Carl Feldman was once a documentary photographer, then tried for murder, and acquitted. Now 61 and with dementia, he resides in an assisted-living facility with no memories of his past. When a woman claiming to be his daughter comes to take him on a trip to get to know him, he goes, and they follow a trail of photos he once took. She is not his daughter, but believes that he killed her sister and others. She hopes to extract a confession by visiting the sites of each crime and stirring memories. That is if he's not faking his dementia and she did not just take a road trip with a dangerous serial killer.
    Try it if you like: Before I Go to Sleep or Night Film.
  • Social Creature - Tara Isabella BurtonSocial Creature - Tara Isabella Burton - Psychological Thriller. A twisted, drama-fueled look at what we truly know about and reveal to others in the social media age.
    Louise Wilson has nothing, juggling three jobs to barely meet her rent. Lavinia Williams has everything, bankrolled by her wealthy parents to live a life of excess and parties. When Louise is hired to tutor Lavinia's sister, she is ushered into a world of glitz and glamour. Lavinia molds Louise into a shiny new best friend to share her extravagant lifestyle. Louise, in turn, becomes obsessed and resolves to maintain this new life at all costs. Her determination is put to the test when Lavinia decides it's to time to move on.
    Try it if you like: The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Other titles to consider:

Beyond the Bestsellers
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