We’re All Adults Here
Book Recommendations & Other Musings
by Carol Tuttle
As the new Collection Services Librarian for the Willoughby-Eastlake Library System, I am thrilled to be immersed in the world of books and reading. I have found book discussions to be an enrichment to my own solitary reading experience. The best discussion books are often controversial: some readers really like the book; others aren’t so sure. The varied backgrounds and insight of book group members can open my eyes to new perspectives on a story. By the end of a discussion, everyone has looked deeper into the meaning and can appreciate the book from various viewpoints. Often an initially “mediocre” book leaves a much more meaningful impression as many minds analyze and expand upon the content. So many of the titles I read and will share with you are perfect for friends to read and discuss together.
I had the opportunity to attend the annual BookExpo conference held in NYC last spring. There were an astounding number of authors there to promote their new books. One of my favorites was Celeste Ng, with her new novel Little Fires Everywhere. Celeste was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Shaker Heights, and she remarked on the local connection when she spotted my Chardon, OH nametag! The local setting of Little Fires Everywhere make this great book even more fun for Cleveland area readers. As with Celeste Ng’s best-selling first book, Everything I Never Told You, this new novel explores the complex relationships within families. The mother/child dynamic, as well as socio-economic influences play a part in the richly-developed characters. When a sensitive situation arises in a progressive but orderly community, proclaimed open-mindedness is put to the test. No one is right or wrong in this story, as the author gently provides the context of the decisions made in differing circumstances. Do you enjoy the television show This is Us? Then these novels by Celeste Ng are for you!
You may also like Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar, another new novel by a Cleveland author who writes beautifully about family secrets and relationships. Thrity’s previous novels have revolved around Indian characters and culture. This new novel entwines secrets, family dynamic and racial/social issues. No character in this novel is unlikable due to the author’s deep development of the character and context. There are moral questions and heart-wrenching situations where people respond out of love and for all the right reasons. Or are they right?
Carol Tuttle is the Collection Services Librarian for the Willoughby-Eastlake Library System. She is currently reading Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar.