All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her lock smith father, in Paris. When Marie-Laure goes blind her father builds a model of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and find her way around the town. When the Nazis occupy Paris they flee to Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a large house by the sea. At the same time, Werner, an orphan in Germany is growing up and falls in with the Hitler Youth. His assignment takes him to Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction
Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones
I listened to this book on my Kindle while driving to Portland, and I highly recommend that delivery. The writing is poem-like and listening lets you take the time needed to visualize the beautiful landscape that is the Fog Island and the mountains that figure so heavily in the book. The story is a brief moment of time— the island is in the path of a typhoon, the main character has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his wife has seemingly disappeared — just as he needs her the most.
In This Hospitable Land by Lynmar Brock Jr.
What is home? This is a question that I have been struggling with and this book explores that question, so it spoke to me on many different levels. The true story of the Sauverin family and their escape from Belgium during the Nazi occupation. They find many homes — and how they transform their life and the village residents during these many years is an inspiration.
The Painter by Peter Heller
I just LOVE stories about artists and artist Jim Stegner is a doozy. He’s famous and divorced and he shot a man. Now living in rural Colorado, he tries to keep his nose clean but when he comes across a man beating a small horse, things get crazy. This is a raw, savage novel about a man who wants to have a meaningful life, but shit, life keeps getting in the way.
50 Children by Steven Pressman
In early 1939, an ordinary American couple, the Krauses, decided that something had to be done to save Jewish children. During the entire Holocaust, fewer than 1,200 unaccompanied children were allowed into the United States. 1.5 million children perished. The fifty children saved by the Krauses turned out to be the single largest group of unaccompanied children brought to America. True and powerful.
The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner
The Kings family has lived on Loosewood Island for three hundred years, and in exchange for a bountiful life, they’ve had to endure the curse: the loss of every firstborn son. Part mythology and supposedly inspired by King Lear, The Lobster Kings is the story of their struggle to maintain the island’s way of life and break the cycle of death.
The Bees by Laline Paull
This is an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.
The story follows Flora 717, a lowly sanitation worker, who mysteriously is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then becomes a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. Much too long, but an interesting story.
The Brothers K by David James Duncan
Every so often you must re-read a book that you read (and loved) years ago. This is one such book for me. Duncan also wrote The River Why so you get an idea of his powerfully hypnotic style. The story spans decades in the lives of the Chance family. Funny, sad, and so beautifully crafted. Baseball glory, baseball dreams shattered; four brothers who choose their own way during the tumultuous sixties and all are swept up in the tragedy that binds them. An all-time favorite.