10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in November 2017

These ten great novels are heading to Oakland Public Library this month. You can place your holds now!

Future Home of the Living God 
by Louise Erdrich
Multi-award winning author Erdrich goes dystopian. Human evolution is running in reverse, and the fascist evangelical government is imprisoning pregnant women. So when Cedar Hawk Songmaker discovers she is pregnant she goes into hiding and heads to her birth mother’s Ojibwe reservation. A “masterful, full-tilt dystopian novel with stinging insights into the endless repercussions of the Native American genocide, hijacked spirituality, and the ongoing war against women’s rights. A tornadic, suspenseful, profoundly provoking novel of life’s vulnerability and insistence.” (Booklist)

Mean
by Myriam Gurba
Gurba’s sharply smart and wry “nonfiction novel” looks back at her coming-of-age in California’s central coast, recounts her experiences as a sexual assault survivor, and takes a close look at personal identity from the viewpoint of a queer, biracial Chicana woman. “With its icy wit, edgy wedding of lyricism and prose, and unflinching look at personal and public demons, Gurba's introspective memoir is brave and significant.” (Kirkus) Gurba's debut novel Dahlia Season (2007) won The Edmund White Award and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Mrs. Osmond
by John Banville
Banville has won the Booker Prize (The Sea, 2005), writes marvelous mysteries under the penname Benjamin Black, and now he’s taking on the legacy of Henry James. Banville continues the story of Isabel Archer Osmond that began in James’ The Portrait of a Lady. “A delightful tour de force that channels James with ease. The rich and measured prose style is quintessentially Jamesian: the long interior monologues perfectly capture the hum of human consciousness, and the characters are alive with psychological nuance... a novel that succeeds both as an unofficial sequel and as a bold, thoroughly satisfying standalone.” (Publishers Weekly)

Madonna in a Fur Coat
by Sabahattin Ali, translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe
Originally written in the 1940s by a Turkish leftist dissident, this book recently became a sensation in Turkey and is now available to US readers. In the 1930s, Raif Efendi is a young man from rural Turkey who travels to Berlin, where he meets and falls in love with a bold, complex and modern woman in a story that rejected the conventional gender roles of its time. “Ali's affecting story of love and loss is both timeless and grounded in its distinctive setting, with sometimes old-fashioned charm that will appeal to many readers.” (Library Journal)

The City of Brass
by S. A. Chakraborty
On the streets of 18th century Cairo, Nahri is a swindler who cons people by pretending to have supernatural powers. She doesn’t actually believe in magic though, at least until she accidentally summons a djinn during a staged exorcist. Whisked away to Daevabad, the City of Brass, Nahri discovers her noble lineage and becomes embroiled in courtly politics. “Chakraborty has constructed a compelling yarn of personal ambition, power politics, racial and religious tensions, strange magics, and terrifying creatures, culminating in a cataclysmic showdown that few readers will anticipate... Highly impressive and exceptionally promising.” (Kirkus)

Last Man in Europe
by Dennis Glover
First-time novelist Glover offers a fictionalized take on the life of George Orwell, from his beginnings as a struggling writer to his final days when he was suffering from tuberculosis and struggling to finish his enduring novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. “One of the strengths of this book is nonfiction author Glover's (Orwell's Australia) ability to transport readers to 1940s Europe, proving the author has a great eye for detail… This engrossing, timely, and finely detailed first novel about the creation of a 20th-century literary masterpiece is a must-read for lovers of history, literature, or politics.” (Library Journal)

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
by Andrea Lawlor
It’s the 1990s, and Paul Polydoris is a bartender at a gay club in a college town with secret special abilities: he’s a shape-shifter. This talent allows Paul to explore different gender roles, academic venues, social scenes and queer communities while seeking romantic conquests and self-exploration. “A magical, sexual, and hopeful debut novel… This is groundbreaking, shape- and genre-shifting work from a daring writer; a fresh novel that elevates questions of sexual identity and intimacy.” (Kirkus)

Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance
by Bill McKibben
When a political stunt at a Wal-Mart goes awry, 72-year old Vermont resident and underground radio personality Vern Barclay inadvertently launches a statewide secessionist movement. Non-fiction author and environmentalist McKibben (The End of Nature, 1989) “orchestrates wildly imaginative dissent, crazy escapes, risky rescues, and rousing paeans to nature and homegrown democracy. In a time when smart comedy is essential to survival, McKibben’s shrewdly uproarious and provocative fable of resistance is exhilarating.” (Booklist)

The Night Language
by David Rocklin
In 1868, recently orphaned Prince Alamayou of Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia) is taken as a war prisoner to London. On his voyage, he meets Philip Layard who becomes his translator, lover and defender in Queen Victoria’s court. “A historical novel wedged tightly at the center of a grave political uproar and an unlikely relationship... A moving and inspiring novel that shows what happens when those in power listen to foreign visitors.” (Kirkus) Rocklin is the author of The Luminist (2011).

Someone You Love Is Gone
by Gurjinder Basran
Simran, an Indian woman living in Canada, is struggling with grief after losing her mother, prompting her to ask questions about her family’s past and examine her strained family relationships. “A heartfelt story of family and self-exploration to which Basran (Everything Was Good-Bye, 2013) adds depth with scattered cultural and historical references and a touch of mysticism.” (Booklist)

 

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