Portsmouth Library book recommendations

Staff report

The Portsmouth Public Library would like to recommend these book titles. Each title is available to borrow with your library card! For more book recommendations or information on applying for a library card go to www.yourppl.org or call 740-354-5688.

Monogamy by Sue Miller – Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years. A golden couple, their seemingly effortless devotion has long been the envy of their circle of friends and acquaintances. Graham is a bookseller, a big, gregarious man with large appetites—curious, eager to please, a lover of life, and the convivial host of frequent, lively parties at his and Annie’s comfortable house in Cambridge. Annie, more reserved and introspective, is a photographer. She is about to have her first gallery show after a six-year lull and is worried that the best years of her career may be behind her. They have two adult children; Lucas, Graham’s son with his first wife, Frieda, works in New York. Annie and Graham’s daughter, Sarah, lives in San Francisco. Though Frieda is an integral part of this far-flung, loving family, Annie feels confident in the knowledge that she is Graham’s last and greatest love. When Graham suddenly dies—this man whose enormous presence has seemed to dominate their lives together—Annie is lost. What is the point of going on, she wonders, without him? Then, while she is still mourning him intensely, she discovers that Graham had been unfaithful to her; and she spirals into darkness, wondering if she ever truly knew the man who loved her. Readers might also enjoy Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpoint or Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley.

Bitter, a new book by Akwaeke Emezi, places us into the world of the titular character, Bitter, as she is accepted into the prestigious school, Eucalyptus. At her new school, she can focus on her art while surrounded by similarly creative teens. However, there are mass protests happening on the streets of her city against injustices that her friends can’t simply ignore. Bitter has to make a choice, whether to stay in the safe walls of Eucalyptus or join her friends in protest. Readers might also enjoy The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson or Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed.

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka – In this book, Otsuka takes us on an unforgettable journey through the life of Alice, one of the swimmers, who uses the pool to keep her mind and body occupied. But when the pool gets a crack in the bottom, it is more devastating than Alice or her daughter could ever imagine. Alice’s mind sinks into dementia. Alice shares stories with her daughter from her childhood. What will these stories reveal about her mother? Readers might also enjoy Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo or The Convert by Stefan Hertmans.

The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky – It is 1939 in Vienna, and as the specter of war darkens Europe, Rose Zimmer’s parents are desperate. Unable to get out of Austria, they manage to secure passage for their young daughter on a kindertransport, and send her to live with strangers in England. Six years later, the war is finally over, a grief-stricken Rose attempts to build a life for herself. Alone in London, devastated, she cannot help but try to search out one piece of her childhood: the Chaim Soutine painting her mother had cherished. Many years later, the painting finds its way to America. In modern-day Los Angeles, Lizzie Goldstein has returned home for her father’s funeral. Newly single and unsure of her path, she also carries a burden of guilt that cannot be displaced. Years ago, as a teenager, Lizzie threw a party at her father’s house with unexpected but far-reaching consequences. The Soutine painting that she loved and had provided lasting comfort to her after her own mother had died was stolen, and has never been recovered. This painting will bring Lizzie and Rose together and ignite an unexpected friendship, eventually revealing long-held secrets that hold painful truths. Readers might also enjoy The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor or Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albane.

Staff report