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Spring Reading 2020 Fiction Recommendations

See the full list of great reading recommendations for Spring 2020 here.

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

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Valentine: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062913265
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Harper - March 31st, 2020

Valentine tells the story of women in West Texas—the ones who are knocked down, looked over, called crazy, or have been left behind. But even in the midst of their gritty stories, it is the idea of how women come together in both small and large ways to look out for each other that makes these stories speak to our hearts. As BookPage says, “You’ll wish you had more time with each of these powerful women when it’s over.” Elizabeth Wetmore has written my favorite book of the year. —Casey

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

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Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374272081
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: MCD - March 3rd, 2020

A Hawaiian family is touched by destiny the day a swarm of sharks returns their drowning son to their waiting arms. Legends and expectations are foisted upon this child and the ramifications follow every member of the family in the years following. The story blends magical realism with a vivid look into family poverty and the struggle for personal identity. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the family members, each with a distinct and honest voice. How does a family live up to their destiny? How do they fail? How do they survive? Aching with humanity, Washburn’s writing brims over the surface—a roiling sea of love, despair, humor, chaos and purpose. I laughed, cried, and at times found it hard to breathe. Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a brilliant debut. Washburn bursts into the literary scene with some of the richest writing I've read in a while—crafting fallible, relatable characters who will break your heart and heal it all at once. —Tori

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang

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How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525537205
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - April 7th, 2020

This debut novel bursts with an emotion and raw energy that mirrors her chosen setting—California’s gold rush. Her story is from a perspective oft forgotten, that of a Chinese immigrant family searching for a home. I felt as if I walked every step with Lucy and Sam, shared their sorrows and their triumphs, and saw a side to my home state I never imagined. This story has lingered with me, and I find myself sifting through Zhang’s words again and again, always turning up another sliver of gold. —Jax

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

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Writers & Lovers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802148537
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press - March 3rd, 2020

Charming, intelligent, and emotionally adrift, Casey does her best to navigate life on the other side of 30.  An aspiring novelist by day and a waitress by night, she grapples with the recent death of her mother, suffocating student debt, and a tricky love triangle. Fans of King’s previous work will not be disappointed, her writing remains raw and intimate and her characters beautifully drawn. I came to feel a deep connection to Casey as I read, laughing and crying along with her. I loved this book so much that I tore through it at lightning speed and was then immediately devastated that it was over.  —Jade


The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

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The Night Watchman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062671189
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Harper - March 3rd, 2020

Louise Erdrich has done it again—she has written yet another novel that weaves together that magical mix of character, heart, wit, and masterful prose. Like Erdrich’s award-winning The Round House, this new novel speaks to the politics and life of the Chippewa living on a North Dakota Reservation. In fact, Erdrich bases The Night Watchman on her own grandfather and his fight to save Native American land and identity from betrayal by the United States Congress in the 1950s. The explicit political undertones in this novel serve only to deepen the virtuosity and depth of its characters. Intertwining several different storylines and characters, their collective plights for understanding, rescue, love, and triumph, created such a crescendo by the novel’s end that once again, I was in awe of Erdrich’s brilliance. It is hard to capture the totality that The Night Watchman: a love story, a haunting, a mystery, cityscape, country, horror, and humor—it’s all here. All I can say is read it, and you will ever be so glad you did.  —S.M.C.

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

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The Other Americans: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525436034
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 17th, 2020

The Other Americans is a novel that traces the aftermath of a Moroccan immigrant family after the father, Driss, is killed in a hit and run. Laila Lalami tells the story through the perspectives of nine narrators, alternating between the daughter, Nora, her family, and the residents of the town. Lalami is a master in character development and has created a beautiful novel that effortlessly combines family drama and murder mystery. 


The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

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The Glass Hotel: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525521143
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - March 24th, 2020

The distinctive writing style of Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) is unmistakable in her new novel—a haunting, immersive story of ambition, greed, and guilt, and a cautionary tale about the far-reaching consequences of crossing moral lines. Quite apropos to our current times. The book starts at the end, builds intricate threads back and forth across two decades, then returns to the end. A remote island hotel, a Ponzi scheme, a container ship, and a cast of complex characters are woven together to create a remarkable dreamlike read. —Trey

Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang

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Days of Distraction: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062951809
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Ecco - March 31st, 2020

The roomy, breezy format of this debut reads almost as notebook-style reflective entries, but don’t be fooled—there’s real weight in the contents of Days of Distraction. The narrator navigates career ambitions as a young woman in tech journalism, her complicated family dynamics, the subtle and overt racism of our society, and her sometimes-stifling but loving long-term relationship. Chang writes with clear and sparkling prose; her honesty is refreshing, illuminating, and possibly life-changing. A coming-of age for all ages.  —Chorel

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

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Breasts and Eggs Cover Image
By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Translator), David Boyd (Translator)
ISBN: 9781609455873
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Europa Editions - April 7th, 2020

Mieko Kawakami is an astute observer of how relationships are challenged and changed by ideology, particularly ideologies that pertain to gender roles. Breasts and Eggs is a novel that explores “women’s issues,” such as artificial insemination, breast implants, and female puberty. These are not topics that are traditionally represented in literature and it is refreshing to see them written about so intelligently. Mieko Kawakami proves that women’s issues are worthy of artistic representation; in dialogue that is exceptional due to its frankness, a discussion about breast implants is transformed into a work of art.


Temporary by Hilary Leichter

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Temporary (Emily Books) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895668
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - March 3rd, 2020

What a strange, wonderful journey this book is! Hilary Leichter is an exciting new voice in literary fiction. Told with marvelous, funny, language, Temporary offers a look at the gig economy through a surreal lens that I've never seen before and didn't know I needed. I find myself thinking about this excellent novel again and again as we contend with what our work will look like when this health crisis is over (and if it matters). Leichter reminds me that though we often try to define ourselves by our careers, we are always more than the mold we we've taken up. —Emma


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