Adult Summer Reading Club...Books that take you to another place...

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A different world, a different time, another continent...


The Blind Man's Garden by Nadeem Aslam
Growing up as brothers in a small town in Pakistan, Jeo and Mikal were inseparable; however as adults their paths have diverged sharply. Jeo is newly married and a dedicated medical student, while Mikal, in love with a woman he can’t have, has adopted the life of a vagabond. Nonetheless, when Jeo decides to slip across the border into Afghanistan to help civilians caught in the post-9/11 clash between American and Taliban forces, Mikal goes with him. But their good intentions cannot keep them out of harm’s way. A piercing portrayal of lives upended by war, The Blind Man’s Garden is an unflinching look at a world in which the line between enemy and ally is indistinct, and the desire to return home burns brightest of all.

In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children.

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter's teachings--his Bible is their "book of strange new things." But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea's faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.

 Archipelago by Monique Roffey
When a flood destroys Gavin Weald's home, tearing apart his family and his way of life, he doesn't know how to continue. A year later, he returns to his rebuilt home and tries to start again, but when the new rainy season arrives, so do his daughter's nightmares about the torrents, and life there becomes unbearable. So father and daughter and their dog - embark upon a voyage to make peace with the waters. Their journey will take them far from their Caribbean island home, into other unknown harbours and eventually across a massive ocean. They will sail through archipelagos, encounter the grandeur of the sea, meet with the challenges and surprises of the natural world. A miraculous future lies ahead of them, unknown territories await to be discovered. But it will take more than an ocean to put the memory of the flood behind them.

 The circle by Dave Eggers
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge

Paris in the 1920s shimmers with excitement, dissipation, and freedom. It is a place of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge with rising Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi, socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol; and caustic American writer Lionel Maine. As the years pass, their fortunes-- and the world itself-- evolve. Lou falls desperately in love and finds success as a race car driver. Gabor builds his reputation with startlingly vivid and imaginative photographs, including a haunting portrait of Lou and her lover, which will resonate through all their lives. As the exuberant twenties give way to darker times, Lou experiences another metamorphosis - sparked by tumultuous events - that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more.

The diving bell and the butterfly / Jean-Dominique Bauby ; translated from the French by Jeremy Leggatt
In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young childen, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem.  After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book.
By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an "inexhaustible reservoir of sensations," keeping in touch with himself and the life around him.

**Don't forget to to fill in an entry form and drop it into an entry box at any of the library branches for your chance to win an Adult Summer Reading Club weekly prize.

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