Are you looking for something really different? Are you in a reading rut? Here are a few books that are very different from anything else I have read or heard about, but they are still quite good. These books stayed with me long after I finished reading them.
Adult Fiction: Nutshell by Ian McEwan A woman plans to murder her husband with the help of his brother, her lover. The only witness to their plan is the unborn child she carries in her womb. This unborn child narrates the story. There some things this unborn baby doesn’t know, such as what blue looks like, but there are many things he does know because he purposely keeps his mother awake at night so she’ll listen to podcasts. This child is torn between wanting to save his father but not wanting to be born in jail. And if he does decide to thwart his mother and uncle, how? I have never read a story told from the perspective of an unborn baby. It was cleverly done and the plot was compelling. This is a quick book, only 208 pages, and will stay with you for quite a while.
Adult Non-Fiction: The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery by D. T. Max. This book takes you around the globe and through time tracing the cause of some very strange diseases. You will read about brilliant doctors, cannibalism, and livestock husbandry. The first disease explored gives the book its title. An Italian family has suffered from a disease that attacks members in the prime of their life, eliminating their ability to sleep, and eventually killing them. You also discover a tribe living on a tropical Pacific island are being decimated by an unknown disease causing them to laugh uncontrollably before they die. Cows in England have become “mad.” Deer in the Midwest are catching a disease that seems to stop them from eating so the deer waste away. As the author explores these seemingly strange but unconnected diseases, we learn how they actually are connected, how they may have originated, and how difficult it could be stop them if they spread. Years after reading this book, I still think about it.
Young Adult/Juvenile Fiction: No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko Three siblings are shocked when their mother sends them on a flight to Colorado (without her!) to visit their Uncle Red. A strange cab ride from the airport leaves the siblings in an even stranger town, which doesn’t even seem to be part of reality. The siblings’ odd adventure soon turns serious when they are in danger of being trapped in this new reality. As the danger mounts and time runs out the siblings’ predicament becomes stranger and stranger. You might feel you don’t even know which way is up once you reach the astonishing conclusion of this book. (Gennifer Choldenko received the Newbery Medal for her book Al Capone Does my Shirts).
--Amanda, Circulation Services Specialist