Fiction Titles from the DP Nightstand Event

Posted on January 13, 2012. Filed under: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , |

This Spring during orientation many faculty, staff, and administrators met to discuss what they are reading or have recently read at our “What’s On Your Nightstand” events. Here are the fiction titles discussed at DP’s event. In the next few weeks I will also post the nonfiction titles from the DP event and the titles from the RHC event.

The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka

This book “is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as ‘picture brides’ nearly a century ago.

In eight incantatory sections,The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.

In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream” (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese

“Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles – and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Explosive EighteenExplosive Eighteen
by Janet Evanovich

“Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich. Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo – Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back. Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii? Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated” (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Invention of Hugo CabretThe Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

“Caldecott Honor artist Brian Selznick’s lavishly illustrated debut novel is a cinematic tour de force not to be missed!

ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery” (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Marriage PlotThe Marriage Plot
by Jeffrey Eugenides

It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

As Madeleine tries to understand why “it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France,” real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old “friend” Mitchell Grammaticus—who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
by William Goldman

“William Goldman’s modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests—for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love—that’s thrilling and timeless.

Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an ‘abridged’ retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to ‘Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions'” (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Salmon Fishing in YemenSalmon Fishing in the Yemen
by Paul Torday

“Dr. Alfred Jones is a henpecked, slightly pompous middle-aged scientist at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence in London when he is approached by a mysterious sheikh about an outlandish plan to introduce the sport of salmon fishing into the Yemen. Dr. Jones refuses, but the project, however scientifically absurd, catches the eye of British politicians, who pressure him to work on it.

His diaries of the Yemen Salmon Project, from beginning to glorious, tragic end, form the narrative backbone of this novel; interspersed throughout are government memos, e-mails, letters, and interview transcripts that deftly capture the absurdity of bureaucratic dysfunction. With a wickedly wonderful cast of characters—including a weasel-like spin doctor, a missing soldier and his intrepid fiancée, and Dr. Jones’s own devilish wife—Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the whimsical story of an unlikely hero who discovers true love, finds himself first a pawn and then a victim of political spin, and learns to believe in the impossible” (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

book cover of Sarah's KeySarah’s Key
Tatiana de Rosnay

“Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah.

Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode” (Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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2 Responses to “Fiction Titles from the DP Nightstand Event”

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Thanks Gretchen for your quick post on this. Wonder if you also have the official title of the Essays on Paris book which we discussed on Wed? chris

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I do. It will be posted at the end of this week when I post the Nonfiction titles discussed at the DP event. Stay tuned!

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