ALA Notable Books

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By: Banks, Russell, 1940-
Taking up residence with other convicted sex offenders, the Kid, on probation after doing time for an affair with an underage girl, forms a tentative partnership with the Professor, a university sociologist who finds him the perfect subject for his research, until he is faced with a new kind of moral decision. 50,000 first printing.
By: Barnes, Julian.
Embarking on his retirement after an amicable divorce, Tony Webster is forced to confront his long-forgotten past in the form of living and dead childhood friends when a mysterious legacy compels a reevaluation of things he thought he understood. By the award-winning author of Arthur & George.
By: deWitt, Patrick, 1975-
Set against the backdrop of the California Gold Rush, this darkly comic novel follows the misadventures of the fabled Sisters brothers, two hired guns who, under the order of the mysterious Commodore, try to kill Hermann Kermit Warm, a man who gives them a run for their money.
By: Goldman, Francisco.
In a novel based on the author's real-life tragedy, Goldman, consumed with grief and guilt over the accidental death of his wife just before their second anniversary, obsessively collects every memory of her, especially her writings, with the hope of keeping her alive in his mind.
By: Harbach, Chad.
A baseball star at a small college near Lake Michigan launches a routine throw that goes disastrously off course and inadvertently changes the lives of five people, including the college president, a gay teammate and the president's daughter. 75,000 first printing.
By: MacLeod, Alexander (Alexander D.)
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NOTABLE BOOK OF 2012, IRISH TIMES BOOK-TO-READ FOR 2012, ATLANTIC BOOK AWARD WINNER, FINALIST FOR THE GILLER PRIZE AND THE FRANK O'CONNOR AWARD, GLOBE & MAIL, QUILL & QUIRE, AND AMAZON.CA BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR. "Engrossing, thrilling and ultimately satisfying: each story has the weight of a novel." The Economist. This was the day after Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear. You remember that. It was a moment in history, not like Kennedy or the planes flying into the World Trade Center, not up at that level. This was something much lower, more like Ben Johnson, back when his eyes were that thick, yellow color and he tested positive in Seoul after breaking the world-record in the hundred. You might not know exactly where you were standing or exactly what you were doing when you first heard about Tyson or about Ben, but when the news came down, I bet it stuck with you. When Tyson bit off Holyfield’s ear, that cut right through the everyday clutter. Two runners race a cargo train through the darkness of a rat-infested tunnel beneath the Detroit River. A drugstore bicycle courier crosses a forbidden threshold in an attempt to save a life and a young swimmer conquers her fear of water only to discover she's caught in far more dangerous currents. An auto-worker who loses his family in a car accident is forced to reconsider his relationship with the internal combustion engine. Alexander MacLeod is a writer of "ferocious intelligence" and "ferocious physicality". Light Lifting, his celebrated first collection, offers us a suite of darkly urban and unflinching elegies that explore the depths of the psyche and channel the subconscious hopes and terrors that motivate us all. These are elemental stories of work and its bonds, of tragedy and tragedy barely averted, but also of beauty, love and fragile understanding.
By: Obreht, Téa.
Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.
By: Ondaatje, Michael, 1943-
Boarding a 1950s ship and sequestered to an out-of-sight dining table with other marginalized children, an 11-year-old boy shares rollicking adventures while traveling to various world regions, learning about jazz, women and a shackled prisoner along the way. By the Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient. 100,000 first printing.
By: Phillips, Arthur, 1969-
When their long-imprisoned con-artist father reaches the end of his life, Arthur and his twin sister become the owners of an undiscovered play by William Shakespeare that their father wants published, a final request that represents either a great literary gift or their father's last great heist.
By: Russell, Karen, 1981-
A first novel by the author of the short-story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves finds the Bigtree children struggling to protect their Florida Everglades alligator-wrestling theme park from a sophisticated competitor after losing their parents. 40,000 first printing.
By: Torres, Justin, 1980-
"An exquisite, blistering debut novel. Three brothers tear their way through childhood - smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off hergraveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn - he's Puerto Rican, she's white - and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful. Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures"
By: Trevor, William, 1928-
An anthology of 48 stories by the O. Henry Prize and Whitbread Prize-winning author of Love and Summer includes selections from such works as After Rain, A Bit on the Side, and Cheating at Canasta.
By: Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, 1977-
"A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected"--
By: Atkinson, Kate.
"What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best. "--
By: Danticat, Edwidge.
"The interconnected secrets of a coastal Haitian town are revealed when one little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, goes missing"--
By: Garey, Juliann.
In a look at mental illness that weaves togther three timelines, Greyson Todd leaves his successful Hollywood career and wife and young daughter to travel the world, giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he has been forced to keep hidden for almost twenty years.
By: Harding, Paul, 1967-
An evocative latest book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers follows the tumultuous inner-life journey of a father grieving the loss of his daughter.
By: Jansma, Kristopher.
"An inventive and witty debut about a young man's quest to become a writer and the misadventures in life and love that take him around the globe. From as early as he can remember, the hopelessly unreliable--yet hopelessly earnest--narrator of this ambitious debut novel has wanted to become a writer. From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma's irresistible narrator will be inspired and haunted by the success of his greatest friend and rival in writing, the eccentric and brilliantly talented Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Julian's enchanting friend, Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. After the trio has a disastrous falling out, desperate to tell the truth in his writing and to figure out who he really is, Jansma's narrator finds himself caught in a never-ending web of lies. As much a story about a young man and his friends trying to make their way in the world as a profoundly affecting exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards will appeal to readers of Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists and Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad with its elegantly constructed exploration of the stories we tell to find out who we really are. "--
By: Koch, Herman, 1953-
Meeting at a fashionable Amsterdam restaurant for dinner, two couples move from small talk to the wrenching shared challenge of their teenage sons' shattering act of violence that has triggered a police investigation and revealed the extent to which each family will go to protect those they love, in a U.S. release of an international best-seller. 50,000 first printing.
By: Marra, Anthony.
A first novel by a Pushcart Prize-winning writer is set in a rural village in December 2004 Chechnya, where failed doctor Akhmed harbors the traumatized 8-year-old daughter of a father abducted by Russian forces and treats a series of wounded rebels and refugees while exploring the shared past that binds him to the child.
By: Messud, Claire, 1966-
Relegated to the status of schoolteacher after abandoning her dreams of becoming an artist, Nora advocates on behalf of a Lebanese student and is drawn into the child's family until his mother's ambition leads to betrayal.
By: Ozeki, Ruth L.
""A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be." In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace--and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox--possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao's drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. Full of Ozeki's signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home"--
By: Tartt, Donna.
"The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art"--
By: Basbanes, Nicholas A., 1943-
An award-winning investigative journalist presents a sweeping history of paper that traces its invention in China 1,800 years ago through its myriad applications in business, trade and culture to illuminate paper's crucial role in the unfolding of political scandals, the making of laws and more.
By: Beam, Cris.
Examines the foster care system, revealing why it is failing the kids it is supposed to protect and offers hope for changing a system in crisis.