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An Amazing 2011 for Ladies, Lunch, and Literacy

We had so many amazing authors in 2011. We loved them and their books! Check out what we read!

When She Woke Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781565126299
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Algonquin Books - October 4th, 2011

In a word: Wow!
Taking place in and around Dallas, Texas, sometime after the Second Great Depression, this near-future cautionary tale is a masterpiece. Fundamentalist religion has taken over our country and even resulted in a cabinet position called the Secretary of Faith. When She Woke illustrates the dangers of extremism in a one-sitting, spellbinding read.
Hannah Payne wakes up one morning in a white cell as a Chrome, more specifically a Red Chrome. Her body has been genetically altered to change her skin color red, the penalty for murder of an unborn fetus. Her sentence as a Chrome is sixteen years, expanded six years beyond a normal sentence because she will not name the father of her child or the doctor who performed her abortion.
When She Woke takes Hannah from her white cell to a rehabilitation center to a journey through which she will find her own truths, as well as the beginning of questions about how she has been raised and the nature of racism in her country. This is a pager-turner of the first order and a book you don’t want to miss.

The Orchard: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780446584692
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 21st, 2011

This mesmerizing memoir by author Theresa Weir (AKA mystery writer Ann Fraiser) will have you swooning. You will not want to do anything else but read and if you do leave your reading chair, you will not be able to think about anything else until you finish it. Theresa Weir grew up in a dysfunctional family that moved from place to place at the whim of her single mother and her selected attachments to various men. Her mothers failings are not spelled out in detail, but the effects of Weir’s early life are strongly felt in this memoir that focuses on her young marriage to a local apple farmer in Henderson County, Illinois in 1975. She was an outsider who was living with her Uncle, tending bar and sleeping on the sofa when she met and fell in love with Adrian. The story of her marriage and her experiences and perceptions of farm life will inform and appall you. You will never look at an apple the same way again and your sensitivity to all things organic will increase. You will forever be changed by Weir’s early life and the bravery with which she has faced life’s obstacles

The Language of Flowers: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780345525543
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ballantine Books - August 23rd, 2011

It’s a rare thing. But you know when you find it. And when you do, you don’t want to do anything else but read. This happened to me with The Language of Flowers, a book that is as unexpected as it is compelling and currently my favorite book for the Fall.
Diffenbaugh’s extraordinary debut and her protagonist Victoria Jones will leave you breathless with the scope and originality of both. Victoria was abandoned at birth and the story of her childhood in the foster-care system will have you weeping on her behalf. She is a true-to-life character whom you immediately love and root for from the first moment you encounter her. I loved Victoria’s almost mystical relationship with flowers and the messages they deliver. Her love of flowers and their power of communication becomes her salvation and steers her toward the possibility of a plausible future. Most importantly, this is a book about relationships, trust, and bravery. The Language of Flowers captured my heart.
This passage explains the character and message of the book: “For years my message-laden flowers had been faithfully ignored, an aspect of my communication style that gave me comfort. Passion, connection, disagreement, or rejection: None of these was possible in a language that did not elicit a response.” This was the isolated existence of a young woman who could not connect with any person or community. Her journey toward resolving the effects of the foster-care system in which she is raised will leave you deeply affected.

This Burns My Heart Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781439199619
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 12th, 2011

This is the second book I have read this month told from a women’s point of view, penned with extraordinary skill by a male author. This compulsive read begins in Deagu, South Korea in 1960, 7 years after the end of Korean War. Soo-Ja Choi is a beautiful young woman from a well-to-do family, exploring her options as a young adult as her country is struggling to recover and enter the modern world. When her father does not allow her to accept a position studying to be a diplomat, he destroys her dreams and she allows herself to be swept into a marriage with a man she hardly knows. Over the next 15 years, she struggles with her life decisions, her new family, and a love she gave up before she understood the permanence of some of her decisions. The story is based on the life of Park’s Mother and through it you develop a very real sense of a different culture and time. This is one of those books that is hard to put down… and then leaves you wanting to know more.

Vision Impossible Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780451234063
Availability: Special Order
Published: NAL Hardcover - July 5th, 2011

Abby is one of my favorite fictional characters ... perhaps it is becaue I like her author so much! Both are fabulous psychics with a way with words and a great story to tell!

The Weird Sisters Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780399157226
Availability: Special Order
Published: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam - January 20th, 2011

These three sisters are only weird in the sense that their
father, a Shakespearian professor at Barnwell College, has named all three
daughters after Shakespearian characters, and communicates almost entirely with
verses from many of the Bard’s plays. (Weird Sisters is a reference to Macbeth).
Their relationship is actually universal and love they share irrefutable,
despite their differences and their bickering. And you will relate to them as
siblings and as fellow lovers of books and literature, which is the ever
present constant in all of their lives.

Rose (Rosalind), the eldest has taken it upon herself to
move into her parent's home to take care of them as her mother faces treatment
for cancer, while avoiding a life-risk she may not be up to facing. Bean
(Bianca) has been forced to move home following the results of her disastrous
decision making, both in life and in work. And the youngest sister, Cordy
(Cordelia) also heads home after years of aimless wandering, finding herself
pregnant with nowhere else to go.

from their collective voice, this novel of family, aging, sickness, and renewal
is heartwarming and real and another winner from Amy Einhorn (The Help).

Pictures of You Cover Image
ISBN: 9781565126312
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - January 25th, 2011

I randomly picked up a book from the pile of advance reading copies, a book I had no prior knowledge about … and read the first page. And from that point forward, Leavitt had me! I was riveted to this story about two run-away wives whose lives collide in a most unlikely way. The ramifications of this chance encounter change the lives of four people forever. Isabelle is returned back to the life she planned to leave; Charlie is devastated beyond words; and Sam believes that an angel will help him heal from the tragedy that ensued. We also get to know Alice and it is the mystery that is her life that drives much of the plot forward, even though she is killed in the first chapter.

This was one of those pitch-perfect books that tell a story you have not read before, and one that resonates with universal truths of love lost and paths to new beginnings.