Tuesday, March 29, 2016


In the mood for a good read? Maybe something new? Let’s take a look at some fiction titles on the New Books shelves at the Monrovia Public Library. These diverse novels have been earning praise in book reviews and prove that fiction comes in all flavors.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg is for adventurous readers who like a big book. This multi-charactered story takes place in 1970s New York City and centers on a City blackout and a shooting in Central Park. Romance, family, mystery and emotion populate this debut novel that is being called dazzling and ambitious.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie is a comic satire with idiosyncratic characters. In this quirky novel set in Palo Alto the title character is named after the economist Thorstein Veblen and her upcoming marriage is beset by issues of modern romance, dysfunctional families and money.  By the way, a squirrel plays a key role in this laugh-out-loud novel.

In the last few years there have been some terrific fiction titles about Alzheimer’s disease, including the marvelous Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is the story of a 38-year-old woman who is showing the first signs of dementia and is placed in an assisted living home, where she begins a romance with another resident, one of the only people close to her age. This is a compassionate and timely book that would be enjoyable for individuals and book group members.

In the novel The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, Ali Keita is a runner, one of the fastest, from an imaginary tyrannical country named Zantoroland, who flees after his father is killed for speaking out. The country where he lands is called Freedom State and is cracking down on undocumented aliens and Ali Keita finds he is running—but this time to save himself. This thought-provoking work will remind readers of issues in the headlines.

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