Friday, November 18, 2016


What’s new on the fiction shelves of the Monrovia Public Library? The answer: some of the best-reviewed novels this year. Here are titles that indeed tell you that there is something for everyone.

A new Ann Patchett is good reason to cheer as she is a consistently readable author. Her books such as Bel Canto and State of Wonder are popular with individuals and book groups. A native-born Angeleno, she grew up in Nashville, attended the Iowa Writers Workshop and has won many writing awards. Ms. Patchett celebrates books not just by writing them; she also owns a bookstore. Her intriguing new title is Commonwealth, a story of the unexpected—a frequent Patchett theme. A stolen kiss experienced by a new mother at her baby’s christening leads to romance and the break-up of two marriages. When the mother divorces and remarries her one family becomes two and for the next 50 years the two sets of parents and children are linked in a kind of commonwealth, a community of its own. The unusual storyline and interesting characters make this an original family saga.

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult frequently takes on issues in the news. Her novel The Pact is about teen suicide. Picoult calls her new book Small Great Things the most difficult one she has ever written. This is the story of an African American maternity nurse who is forbidden by white supremacist parents from caring for their new born child. When a medical emergency occurs, the nurse intervenes and is later arrested and her license suspended. In court her defender is a white lawyer who does not want race mentioned during the trial. Picoult said her challenge in writing the book was not only presenting overt and covert racism, but to represent the main character in the most accurate and respectful way. The court room scenes are riveting page-turners. Readers will find a lot to like about this thought-provoking and deeply emotional story.

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