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Posted on Oct 22, 2016 in November 2016

Books-A-Million Book Club Picks for November 2016

 

 

FICTION PICK
 

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Kitchens of the Great Midwest

by J. Ryan Stradal

“Kitchens of the Great Midwest, “about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country s most coveted dinner reservation, is the summer s most hotly anticipated debut.

When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine and a dashing sommelier he s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter starting with pureed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.

NON-FICTION PICK
 

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Born Survivors

by Wendy Hoolden

Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS.

In April 1945, as the Allies close in, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish seventeen-day train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train, and Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die, but then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom.

FAITHPOINT PICK
 

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Priceless: She’s Worth Fighting For

by Joel Smallbone

James Stevens was, at one time, a good man with a great life. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash no questions asked. When he discovers what he is delivering is actually a who, the questions in his mind begin haunting him mercilessly. James becomes an unlikely hero who must fight to save the lives of two young women and finds himself falling in love with one of them.

Can love, strength, and faith redefine his past and change the course of his future?

KIDS PICK
 

sisters

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Sisters

by Raina Telemeier

Raina Telgemeier’s #1 “New York Times” bestselling, Eisner Award-winning companion to “Smile.”

Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.

Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.

TEEN PICK
 

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Saint Anything

by Sarah Dessen

Sydney’s handsome, charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always dominated the family, demanding and receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention. And when Peyton’s involvement in a drunk driving episode sends him to jail, Sydney feels increasingly rootless and invisible, worried that her parents are unconcerned about the real victim: the boy Peyton hit and seriously injured. Meanwhile, Sydney becomes friends with the Chathams, a warm, close-knit, eccentric family, and their friendship helps her understand that she is not responsible for Peyton’s mistakes. Once again, the hugely popular Sarah Dessen tells an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.

LITERARY PICK
 

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Twain’s End

by Lynn Cullen

From the bestselling and highly acclaimed author of the page-turning tale (“Library Journal,” starred review) “Mrs. Poe” comes a fictionalized imagining of the personal life of America s most iconic writer: Mark Twain.

In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction. Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy?

In “Twain’s End,” Lynn Cullen reimagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter.

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