Adult

Recommendation Tuesday: The Storied Life of A.J. Firky by Gabrielle Zevin

Recommendation Tuesday: The Storied Life of A.J. Firky  by Gabrielle Zevin

Y'all, last week, I put on my crown and declared that Tuesdays are now "Recommendation Tuesday." I will be recommending things on Tuesdays, because Tuesday is pretty much worthless and we all need more awesome in our lives. You're welcome to join the fun too. Tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

Why is any one book different from any other book? They are different, A.J. decides, because they are. We have to look inside many. We have to believe. We agree to be disappointed sometimes so that we can be exhilarated every now and again. He selects one and holds it out to his friend. “Maybe this?”

— Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin snuck up on me (metaphorically) and managed to snatch a spot on my forever auto-buy favorite authors list. I'm not sure how it happened, but her writing has a quality to it that sticks with my long after I've closed the covers of her books.

Her gripping futuristic family saga, the Birthright series, is a remarkable character-driven trio of books that is one of my favorite series, full-stop.

Her newest, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is no less awesome, though much different. 

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A Solid Story Collection: The Firefly Dance by Sarah Addison Allen & Others

A Solid Story Collection: The Firefly Dance by Sarah Addison Allen & Others

The title itself of this collection of novellas and short stories, The Firefly Dance, evokes an image of a warm summer evening—beautiful and breezeless, fireflies flittering in the dusk like jewels against a velvet sky. And like that quintessential summer scene, this unique collection brought me smiles, magical wonderment and even a few tears.

In My Dreams by Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen’s In My Dreams was the first novella I read--and the reason I snagged this collection from the library. I had read all of her novels with the exception of this one, and I couldn't bear to skip this one. I dove into it expecting a luscious read. Luscious does begin to express the beauty of In My Dreams.

This lovely tale told in the voice of Louise about her, her mother, her great aunt Sophie and a rich array of characters including her dog Lazarus that she seemingly brought back from the dead.

 

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A Feel-Good Novel with Surprising Weight: It Felt Like a Kiss by Sarra Manning

A Feel-Good Novel with Surprising Weight: It Felt Like a Kiss by Sarra Manning

But then again, one kiss from someone could mean more than a two-year relationship with someone else. A kiss could change your life.

Sarra Manning’s Unsticky is a novel I recommend all the time—I love how Manning plays with common tropes and archetypes, subverting them into fresh and witty stories. Her newest novel, It Felt Like a Kiss, is no different. And, it has the added bonus of being something of a companion novel to Unsticky, as Vaughn from that novel plays an important role in this one as the owner of the art gallery where It Felt Like a Kiss protagonist Ellie Cohen works.

Ellie lives a carefully-produced life, a reaction to her chaotic, bohemian upbringing with her musician mother.

...when all around you was chaos, you needed to find some area of your life that you could control and let that define you. It didn’t matter that she was on free schoolmeals and had a mother who wore leopard-print catsuits and dressed her in charity-shop clothes, when Ellie had the neatest handwriting in her class and was homework monitor five years in a row. Or when she had a tidier bedroom and better manners than her many cousins, who all lived in two-parent, semi-detached splendour in Belsize Park. When your boss was giving you hell and your flatmates were fighting and you’d been dumped again, there was something cathartic and peaceful in spending the afternoon in your pristine, minimalist office, rearranging your reference books by height and colour. So, a girl who could parade around Glastonbury in a spotless white dress was a girl who was calm and in control. Sometimes you had to fake it to make it.

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A Grown-Up Romance for the Rest of Us: Live by Mary Ann Rivers

A Grown-Up Romance for the Rest of Us: Live by Mary Ann Rivers

When I heard that Mary Ann Rivers had a series of full-length novels about an Ohio family coming out this year, I was pretty thrilled. I quite liked both of her novellas, one of which--The Story Guy--I recommended here on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves. 

He hadn’t thought that once Destiny understood where he was going with this, where he believed them to be going, that she would retreat. He had been prepared if she looked at him straight and told him no, that she knew she belonged here. He would know, if she told him in the way she always told him everything she was sure of, that she was right. He wanted to see the world with her because even the bits of it he’d seen would look different with her along. His home was with her.”

Live is the first in Rivers' series featuring the the Burnside siblings of Lakefield, Ohio (which seems quite a bit like a fictionalized version of Columbus, Ohio). The family is deeply-entrenched in their working class city neighborhood. Each of the siblings live in the area where they grew up and one is starting a medical clinic in their neighborhood. The Burnsides' parents have passed away, leaving them physically close to each other, but adrift at the same time. 

This first installment in the series focuses on one of the two Burnside sisters, Destiny (Des), who's never left Lakefield. At 27, she finds herself unemployed and spending her days at the public library searching for job openings and filling out applications online. After six months of job-seeking frustration, she finally loses it in the library after receiving yet another rejection.

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