Wednesday, April 29, 2015


The English started to use the word novel in about the 14th century and that word came from the Italian word for a short story, novella. That Italian word had its roots in the Latin word for new, novus. Although the term may seem repetitive, we are celebrating new novels on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library.

The German word Hausfrau also takes on new meaning in the debut book of the same name by Jill Alexander. Instead of a wife whose main focus is domestic chores, this story is about a woman named Jill Essbaum who seeks out new experiences while trying to find meaning in her boring life. Isolated and living in Switzerland with her husband, children and difficult mother-in-law, Ms. Essbaum becomes involved in extra-marital affairs. Called both a modern Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, this novel has attracted much discussion about the choices women make.

Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson is a sophisticated satire about a young college student from the South who comes to UC Berkeley and finds life to be an almost parallel universe. Everything and everyone is different, but our main characters finds himself at home with an odd assortment of new college friends. When he lets slip that his hometown has a Civil War reenactment, the new set of friends descend upon his hometown to pompously and self-righteously protest the annual event.

A huge bestseller in his native country of Norway, author Per Petterson’s novel I Refuse is the story of two boys, once friends, who meet as middle-aged men.  The story shifts back and forth in time and relates how Jimmy and Tommy, through family circumstances and a tragic event, are forever changed. Their chance meeting allows them to go back and look what happened in childhood. Petterson’s simple and often stark prose highlight this story of friendship gone awry.

No comments: