A variety of subjects and genres interest me, especially those that can entertain and educate with historical content or reference to places, architecture or landscapes to visualize and imagine visiting. I love a book with a character who I want to know – why they make certain choices, and how they end up when the novel is completed. A really special book makes me stop and contemplate and remember a passage or an idea. I enjoy a story with intrigue and a satisfying ending...not necessarily a happy ending, and definitely not a predictable ending. As far as our nonfiction collection...I love to peruse just about anything about design, remodeling, cooking, baking, gardening and landscaping, or healthy living. So many choices here at Bud, what’s next? View all of Karen's Picks on Goodreads
The House at the Edge of Night
By: Catherine Banner
A sweeping saga about four generations of a family who live and love on an enchanting Mediterranean island off the coast of Italy—combining the romance of Beautiful Ruins with the magical tapestry works of Isabel Allende.Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a café draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where over generations the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy.Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness, in this richly written and powerful novel.Catherine Banner has written an enthralling, character-rich novel, epic in scope but intimate in feeling. At times, the island itself seems alive, a mythical place where the earth heaves with stories—and this magical novel takes you there.
By: Hope Jahren
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.
By: Tracy McMillan
What would you do if your ex-con father suddenly came to visit…indefinitely? Family drama ensues when Nicki’s dad unexpectedly moves in with her, her son, and her boyfriend in this comedic novel from successful TV writer Tracy McMillan.Nicki Daniels owns a home appraisal business, but real estate is her true passion: she lives for open houses and really knows her way around a floor plan. And especially at this juncture of her life, real estate has come to signify the stability she is trying to build with her teenage son, Cody, and her much younger boyfriend, Jake. She’s finally ready to find the perfect house for the three of them and work on a new business venture with Jake that she thinks will jump-start their lives together.Meanwhile, Ronnie, a longtime inmate at a nearby correctional facility, is getting some good news for once—there was a mistake in his sentencing, and he’s eligible to get out of prison. After a sixty-day stay in a halfway house, Ronnie decides his best option to avoid homelessness is to move in with his estranged daughter: Nicki. Even though they haven’t spoken in years, her door is always open to him, right?Inspired by the author’s life and imbued with wit and profound insight into relationships, Multiple Listings speaks poignantly—and often hilariously—about the ties that bind families of all types together.
Three Sisters, Three Queens (The Tudor Court, #2)
By: Philippa Gregory
As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other’s hearts.“There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.”When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined—with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.
By: Suzanne Feldman
Two half sisters, one black and one white, embark on a risky road trip through the 1950s Jim Crow South in this spellbinding story of identity and race. Self-educated and brown skinned, Cassie works full time in her grandmother's laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for "colored music" and dreams of life as a big-city radio star. These teenaged girls are half sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father's inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes on a road trip together to claim what's rightly theirs. In an old junker of a car, with a frying pan, a ham, and a few dollars hidden in a shoe, they set off through the American Deep South of the 1950s, a bewitchingly beautiful landscape as well as one bedeviled by racial striving and violence. On one level, the story is an entertaining and quirky caper through a colorful historical landscape, but a deeper cut of the novel reveals its profound engagement with abiding issues of socioeconomic class, race, and identity politics in the uneasy mixed communities of a region haunted by a brutal history. Like Thelma & Louise meets God Help the Child, Absalom's Daughters combines the buddy movie, the coming-of-age tale, and a dash of magical realism to enthrall and move us with an unforgettable, illuminating novel.
Lily and the Octopus
By: Steven Rowley
This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.
The Unseen World
By: Liz Moore
The moving story of a daughter’s quest to discover the truth about her beloved father’s hidden pastAda Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David's mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David's colleagues. Soon after she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World's heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion.
Truly Madly Guilty
By: Liane Moriarty
The electrifying new novel from the international bestselling author, Liane Moriarty
Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you'd think.
For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.
But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.
Which is how it all spirals out of control...
Praise for Big Little Lies
'The author of last year's bestseller, The Husband's Secret, is back with another sure-fire hit. Unputdownable'The Sun on Sunday
'Absolutely brilliant, even better than The Husband's Secret. Loved it. Liane Moriarty has that rare Anne Tyler thing of being able to make fun of people while clearly having compassion for them' Louise Candlish, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Sudden Departure of the Frasers
'Here at Company HQ we're all obsessed with Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This juicy seaside-town murder mystery will be one of the biggest books this autumn' Company Magazine
'This fantastically written story, with its little clues casually dropped in along the way, will keep you guessing until the very end ... Another compelling, funny and thought-provoking winner from Liane Moriarty. Do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy - it's brilliant' Heat Magazine
'It's not often that a book about murder mingled with domestic and sexual violence has you howling with laughter, but Moriarty pulls it off here ... Her ironic turn of phrases infuses even poignant moments with humour. Blending romance, comedy and mystery, this is a wonderful book - full of brains, guts and heart' The Sunday Mirror
'A brilliantly plotted story with characters to care for who kept me reading, utterly gripped' Woman and Home Magazine
'Take this page-turner on holiday with you - you won't be able to put it down!' Closer Magazine
'A twisted thriller' Now Magazine
'Another riveting thriller. Tackling difficult subjects with intelligence and humanity' Hello Magazine
'A compelling summer read not to be missed' OK Magazine
'This addictive new thriller from bestselling author Liane Moriarty weaves three stories together to a shocking and unpredictable climax' Take A Break Magazine
'It all reads terrifyingly real, with the viciousness of the women at the school gates and the hell they can make each others' lives. It's a fine book' The Sunday Sport
'Moriarty is happy to thread a thin line between mummy lit and fluffy thriller. It's easy to get stuck into this book, thanks to neat plotting that keeps you guessing. Just dive right in because this book slips down as easily as a strawberry soufflé' Irish Independent
By: Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
A Robot in the Garden
By: Deborah Install
Warm-hearted fable of a stay-at-home husband who learns an important lesson in life when an unusual creature enters his life.With all the charm and humour of THE ROSIE PROJECT and ABOUT A BOY mingled with the heart-swelling warmth of PADDINGTON BEAR MOVIE.A story of the greatest friendship ever assembled.Ben Chambers wakes up to find something rusty and lost underneath the willow tree in his garden. Refusing to throw it on the skip as his wife Amy advises, he takes it home.
The Sport of Kings
By: C.E. Morgan
Hellsmouth, a wilful thoroughbred filly, has the legacy of a family riding on her.The Forges: one of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky; descended from the first settlers to brave the Wilderness Road; as mythic as the history of the South itself – and now, first-time horse breeders.Through an act of naked ambition, Henry Forge is attempting to blaze this new path on the family's crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavour but has desires of her own. When Allmon Shaughnessy, an African American man fresh from prison, comes to work in the stables, the ugliness of the farm's history rears its head. Together through sheer will, the three stubbornly try to create a new future – one that isn't determined by Kentucky's bloody past – while they mould Hellsmouth into a champion.The Sport of Kings has the force of an epic. A majestic story of speed and hunger, racism and justice, this novel is an astonishment from start to finish.
We Are Called to Rise
By: Laura McBride
"Here is the powerful story of the way in which war detonates far from battlefields, exploding lives in a single irrevocable moment. Here are unforgettable voices that need to be heard as urgently as this richly imagined story needs to be told. Like a solitary bell "We Are Called to Rise" reverberated long after I'd put it down. I can't stop thinking about it" (Sarah Blake, author of "The Postmistress"). ""I set out with the very clear intention to write a book that might make a reader have a big feeling, the sense that no matter how cruel or unfair life might be in a given moment, no matter how terrible the consequences of a tiny mistake might be, it was ultimately beautiful to be alive. I didn't set out to write a book about war or poverty or racism. I just wanted the reader to love a child enough to feel devastated when that child's heart was broken and euphoric when that child got a chance at hope. I wanted the reader to walk away believing that, with all our faults, human beings are worth saving."" An immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can't remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has already happened. "We Are Called to Rise" is a boomtown tale, in which the lives of people from different backgrounds and experiences collide in a stunning coincidence. When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves. Emotionally powerful yet tender and intimate, "We Are Called to Rise "is a novel of redemption and unexpected love.
By: Richard Russo
Richard Russo, at the very top of his game, now returns to North Bath, in upstate New York, and the characters he created in Nobody’s Fool.The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it’s hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years . . . the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t still best friends . . . Sully’s son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one). We also enjoy the company of Doug Raymer, the chief of police who’s obsessing primarily over the identity of the man his wife might’ve been about to run off with, before dying in a freak accident . . . Bath’s mayor, the former academic Gus Moynihan, whose wife problems are, if anything, even more pressing . . . and then there’s Carl Roebuck, whose lifelong run of failing upward might now come to ruin. And finally, there’s Charice Bond—a light at the end of the tunnel that is Chief Raymer’s office—as well as her brother, Jerome, who might well be the train barreling into the station.Everybody’s Fool is filled with humor, heart, hard times and people you can’t help but love, possibly because their various faults make them so stridently human. This is classic Russo—and a crowning achievement from one of the greatest storytellers of our time.
By: Dexter Palmer
Rebecca Wright has reclaimed her life, finding her way out of her grief and depression following a personal tragedy years ago. She spends her days working in customer support for the internet dating site where she first met her husband. But she has a strange, persistent sense that everything around her is somewhat off-kilter: she constantly feels as if she has walked into a room and forgotten what she intended to do there; on TV, the President seems to be the wrong person in the wrong place; her dreams are full of disquiet. Meanwhile, her husband's decade-long dedication to his invention, the causality violation device (which he would greatly prefer you not call a “time machine”) has effectively stalled his career and made him a laughingstock in the physics community. But he may be closer to success than either of them knows or can possibly imagine.Version Control is about a possible near future, but it’s also about the way we live now. It’s about smart phones and self-driving cars and what we believe about the people we meet on the Internet. It’s about a couple, Rebecca and Philip, who have experienced a tragedy, and about how they help—and fail to help—each other through it.
So You've Been Publicly Shamed
By: Jon Ronson
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has traveled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us, people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly or made a mistake at work. Once the transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know, they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice, but what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws and the very scary part we all play in it.
River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West
By: Rebecca Solnit
The world as we know it today began in California in the late 1800s, and Eadweard Muybridge had a lot to do with it. This striking assertion is at the heart of Rebecca Solnit’s new book, which weaves together biography, history, and fascinating insights into art and technology to create a boldly original portrait of America on the threshold of modernity. The story of Muybridge—who in 1872 succeeded in capturing high-speed motion photographically—becomes a lens for a larger story about the acceleration and industrialization of everyday life. Solnit shows how the peculiar freedoms and opportunities of post–Civil War California led directly to the two industries—Hollywood and Silicon Valley—that have most powerfully defined contemporary society.
November 1916 (The Red Wheel #2)
By: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
In time for the centenary of the beginning of the Russian Revolution, a new edition of the Russian Nobelist's major workThe month of November 1916 in Russia was outwardly quiet—the proverbial calm before the storm—but beneath the placid surface, society seethed fiercely. In Petrograd, as St. Petersburg was then known, luxury-store windows are still brightly lit; the Duma debates the monarchy, the course of war, and clashing paths to reform; the workers in the miserable munitions factories veer toward sedition. At the front, all is stalemate, while in the countryside sullen anxiety among hard-pressed farmers is rapidly replacing patriotism. In Zurich, Lenin, with the smallest of all revolutionary groups, plots his sinister logistical miracle. With masterly and moving empathy, through the eyes of both historical and fictional protagonists, Solzhenitsyn unforgettably transports us to that time and place—the last of pre-Soviet Russia. November 1916 is the second volume in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's multipart work, The Red Wheel. This volume concentrates on a historical turning point, or "knot," as the wheel rolls inexorably toward revolution.
My Life on the Road
By: Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.
The Charm Bracelet
By: Viola Shipman
Lose yourself to the magic of The Charm Bracelet.Through an heirloom charm bracelet, three women will rediscover the importance of family and a passion for living as each charm changes their lives.On her birthday each year, Lolly’s mother gave her a charm, along with the advice that there is nothing more important than keeping family memories alive, and so Lolly’s charm bracelet would be a constant reminder of that love.Now seventy and starting to forget things, Lolly knows time is running out to reconnect with a daughter and granddaughter whose lives have become too busy for Lolly or her family stories.But when Arden, Lolly’s daughter, receives an unexpected phone call about her mother, she and granddaughter Lauren rush home. Over the course of their visit, Lolly reveals the story behind each charm on her bracelet, and one by one the family stories help Lolly, Arden, and Lauren reconnect in a way that brings each woman closer to finding joy, love, and faith.A compelling story of three women and a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of family, The Charm Bracelet is a keepsake you’ll cherish long after the final page.
By: Jami Attenberg
Meet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and bawdy, she's the truth-telling proprietress of The Venice, the famed New York City movie theater. It's the Jazz Age, with romance and booze aplenty--even when Prohibition kicks in--and Mazie never turns down a night on the town. But her high spirits mask a childhood rooted in poverty, and her diary, always close at hand, holds her dearest secrets.When the Great Depression hits, Mazie's life is on the brink of transformation. Addicts and bums roam the Bowery; homelessness is rampant. If Mazie won't help them, then who? When she opens the doors of The Venice to those in need, this ticket-taking, fun-time girl becomes the beating heart of the Lower East Side, and in defining one neighborhood helps define the city.Then, more than ninety years after Mazie began her diary, it's discovered by a documentarian in search of a good story. Who was Mazie Phillips, really? A chorus of voices from the past and present fill in some of the mysterious blanks of her adventurous life.Inspired by the life of a woman who was profiled in Joseph Mitchell's classic Up in the Old Hotel, Saint Mazie is infused with Jami Attenberg's signature wit, bravery, and heart. Mazie's rise to "sainthood"--and her irrepressible spirit--is unforgettable.