Spice of Life: Books to Savor

Looking for a good read? The eloquent writing and involving characters of these selections will give you something to savor long after you've closed the covers.

Charms for the Easy Life

By Kaye Gibbons

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"A family without men, the Birches live gloriously offbeat lives in the lush, green backwoods of North Carolina. Radiant, headstrong Sophia and her shy, brilliant daughter, Margaret, possess powerful charms to ward off loneliness, despair, and the human misery that often beats a path to their door. And they are protected by the eccentric wisdom and muscular love of the remarkable matriarch Charlie Kate, a solid, uncompromising, self-taught healer who treats everything from boils to broken bones to broken hearts.

 

"Sophia, Margaret, and Charlie Kate find strength in a time when women almost always depended on men, and their bond deepens as each one experiences love and loss during World War II."

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A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

By Julian Barnes

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An eccentiric, playfully skewed, surprisingly comprehensive chronicle of life on Planet Earth. A novel whose threads of coincidence and hidden connection are woven into a narrative tapestry brilliant with wit, intelligence, and emotion.
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A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening

By Mario de Carvalho

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"Winner of the 1996 Pegasus Prize for Literature, this fiction presents a fascinating tale of political rivalries, war, religion, philosophy, and social unrest in the twilight of the Roman Empire. It is a timeless tale of a good man struggling to maintain sense and order in his public and private lives and to uphold justice as he understands it."
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The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini

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Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.

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The New York Trilogy: City of Glass: Ghosts: The Locked Room

By Paul Auster

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"Paul Auster’s great trilogy of 1985–1986 broke ground in its mix of serious fictional techniques and detective and mystery genres. Since that time it has become one of the most successful series of novels of the last decades..."

In the first of the trilogy, City of Glass, a detective novelist makes a phone call and finds himself enmeshed in suddenly puzzling reality.

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Geek Love

By Katherine Dunn

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"...the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–-with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–-to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–-and dangerous–-asset. As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same."

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The Final Solution: A Story of Detection

By Michael Chabon

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"In deep retirement in the English country-side, an eighty-nine-year-old man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is the meaning of the mysterious strings of German numbers the bird spews out--a top-secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case -- the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot--beyond even the reach of the once-famed sleuth?"

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