Seattle Picks: Book Group Mainstays
Annotation:Empathetic private detective Jackson Brodie reopens several cold cases when compelled by the grief of families who have lost loved ones under chillingly inexplicable circumstances.
Annotation:Interweaving mystery, science fiction and love story, this Booker Prize-winning novel-within-a-novel explores the relationship of two Canadian sisters across time and mortality.
Annotation:Paris hotel concierge Renée Michel, who is adept at hiding her intellectual pursuits, and suicidal teen resident, Paloma, find their world views changed by the arrival of Japanese businessman Kakuro Ozu.
Annotation:Stories of persecution and upheaval of the Jews throughout history is seen through the eyes of a rare book restorer as she identifies tiny artifacts in the ancient Sarajevo Haggadah.
Annotation:Against her family’s wishes, Bess Heath falls in love with rough around the edges, daredevil Tom Cole in 1915 Niagara Falls in this story of a world and a life on the cusp of change.
Annotation:Three cleverly connected characters, magnetically drawn by intrigue, find themselves adrift on the edges of society questioning their identities and their definition of reality.
Annotation:Troubling and surprisingly uplifting, this story of a brother’s death on a farm in upstate New York, with its many points of view, buried motives and entwined storylines, is based on actual events.
Annotation:Cal - or is it Calliope? - stars in this original, mesmerizing Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that tells the story of a hermaphrodite's coming-of-age and one Greek immigrant family's tangled history.
Annotation:Twenty years after tragically losing her friend Djuna, Celia’s memory of what happened finally returns. When she goes home to tell people what really happened, no one believes her.
Annotation:Precocious nine-year-old Oskar Schell, whose father died in the World Trade Center attacks, finds a mysterious key that belonged to his father and explores New York City to unlock the key's secret.
Annotation:In lovely, lyrical Appalachian cadence, family members take turns narrating the life of a willful, heartbreaking and bewitching woman, Myra, from the Great Depression to the present time.
Annotation:The Civil War forms a violent backdrop to the story of Union spy, Jacob Rappaport, a young Jewish man straddling the Mason-Dixon Line in his personal life and forced to perform his clandestine duty.
Annotation:Friendship and betrayal loom large in this tale set in Afghanistan. Amir, son of a wealthy merchant, and his best friend and servant, Hassan, find their lives forever changed in one tragic moment.
Annotation:Daley will do almost anything to win approval and love from her father, who is an unregenerate, self-absorbed alcoholic in this ultimately uplifting portrait of a classic dysfunctional family.
Annotation:During World War II, Hilary Wainwright lost everything: his wife was killed and his son disappeared. Years later, at an orphanage in France, Hilary must decide if he even wants to find his son.
Annotation:Jamaica’s history of slavery, as narrated by house slave Miss July, sets the scene for a novel about the country’s traumatic post-emancipation transition from this Orange Prize-winning author.
Annotation:Set in 1970s China, this is a luminous and unforgettable portrayal of people put in the impossibly difficult position of choosing between moral rectitude and death.
Annotation:On an English country estate in 1935, a fleeting moment changes one family forever. This masterful, multi-layered novel expores childhood innocence and the perspective that time provides.
Annotation:In parallel stories of motherhood and family secrets, Lexie finds love and a career in post-war London, while artist Elina struggles with her husband’s odd reaction to their son’s birth in present-day London.
Annotation:Andras Levi’s architectural studies in Paris grind to a halt during World War II when he and his family are forced to return home to Budapest – a grim and dangerous place for Jews.
Annotation:In an unnamed South American country, terrorists take an American opera star and Japanese and European tourists hostage. Their time in exile together provides an intense, fascinating look at human relationships.
Annotation:After her teenage son’s murder, Irene’s depression and grief can only be alleviated through a correspondence with the killer on death row and gradual forgiveness.
Annotation:Nearing death, Rev. John Ames recounts his family's history and the lessons he learned from his father and as a pastor in a rural Iowa community, in an epistle to his small son who will grow up without him.
Annotation:In a complex and moving historical novel, powerfully portrayed characters, both Jewish and Christian, protect Jewish refugees at great cost to themselves during the World War II German occupation of Italy.
Annotation:After the invasion of Shanghai by Japan in the mid 1930’s, two sisters leave a glamorous life for arranged marriages in Los Angeles. There they are met with humiliating treatment and difficult choices.
Annotation:This comic novel and contemporary reworking of E. M. Forster's Howard's End focuses on class differences, race and the feud between two families in a fictional New England college town.
Annotation:At the end of the Vietnam War, an American female combat photographer experiences the harsh realities of war and conflicted love in this unique and stunning novel of passion and duty.
Annotation:Hopeful journalist “Skeeter” Phelan decides to interview black maids in 1960s Mississippi and finds herself embroiled in race politics as the women’s stories reveal the unsavory side of her community.
Annotation:The psychological damage we hide beneath the surface of our everyday lives is the subject of this novel-in-stories about the people in small-town Maine and one woman, Olive Kitteridge, with a cold exterior.
Annotation:Twin brothers born in Ethiopia to an Indian nun and a British surgeon conflict over love, politics, and family secrets, but still share a devotion to healing others.
Annotation:Matt Prior left his job at a newspaper to start a financial poetry website that tanks. Matt lays out his whole financial nightmare and his zany attempts to climb out of it with humor and heart.
Annotation:Set in the insolated Northern Wisconsin woods, a mute young man with a special bond to his dog tries to prove that his evil uncle was responsible for his father’s death.