Sybil Steinberg is a contributing editor and former book review section editor for Publishers Weekly. Sybil's List is from her September 2012 book talk at the Library. Need a good book? Get your suggestions here!
BRING UP THE BODIES view in catalog
Sequel to Wolf Hall. Henry VIII commands Thomas Cromwell to get rid of Anne Boleyn.
THE AGE OF MIRACLES view in catalog
The pace of our planet in space slows inexorably. A haunting story told from the perspective of an 11-year-old girl.
THE SONG OF ACHILLES view in catalog
Why was Achilles so enraged by the death of Patroclus in The Iliad? A beautifully written and paced story of male love.
CANADA view in catalog
After both his parents are arrested, a young boy is forced to flee to Canada. That country is symbolic of his alienated adolescence.
THE STARBOARD SEA view in catalog
At a prep school in New England, an adolescent boy encounters some brutal truths.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN view in catalog
Anybody over the age of 50 will relate to this beguiling story of how a woman’s broken hip sets off a chain of circumstances that change the lives of those around her.
WAITING FOR SUNRISE view in catalog
In Vienna just before WW I, a British actor consults a disciple of Freud and falls in lust with a scheming sexpot.
THREE STRONG WOMEN view in catalog
A bleak portrait, set in Senegal and France, of people who are victims of society and their own weaknesses.
Coming in September and October
TELEGRAPH view in catalog
A rollicking good story of two men, one black, one white, who own a used vinyl record store in Oakland, California.
THE ROUND HOUSR view in catalog
When an Ojibwe woman is raped the legal issue revolves on whether the attack occurred on the reservation in North Dakota, which is federal land, or on state land. A deep moral dilemma develops within her family.
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR view in catalog
A cogent, diverting and suspenseful narrative about global warming is embraced in a story about a young wife and mother who is fighting her way to self-esteem.
LIONEL ASBO: Or The State of England view in catalog
Asbo stands for Anti-Social Behavior Order, and the eponymous protagonist is one of the nastiest characters you’ll ever encounter and this book is one of the funniest I’ve ever read. You’ll either hate him or be mesmerized as Amis delivers an unforgettable story suffused with gallows humor.
THE ORCHARDIST view in catalog
A quiet, haunting novel of a bachelor farmer who adopts two girls who’ve been sexually abused, and raises them amidst his orchard in Washington State.
THE FORGETTING TREE view in catalog
Another novel that celebrates the natural world in this case a California citrus orchard, which is the background for a complex, unsettling story of a woman who feels tied to the land despite her family’s urgent wish that she sell to a developer.
THE PEOPLE OF FOREVER ARE NOT AFRAID view in catalog
Three young women growing up in an isolated Israeli settlement experience social stigma and male brutality when they come of age to be drafted into the Israeli army. Bound to be provocative.
LIVE BY NIGHT view in catalog
This is a corker of a literary thriller set during Prohibition and continuing the story of the Coughlin family of Boston from The Given Day.
JOHN SATURNALL‘S FEAST view in catalog
Set in 17th century England, this is a mixed bag of fascinating historical detail and a sentimental plot in which an orphan boy becomes a master cook and the lover of a high-born lady.
NW view in catalog
An ambitious, attempt that uses varied literary styles to chronicle the lives of two women who grow up together in a poor London suburb and whose lives take dramatically different turns. This is not an easy book to read.
More Good Books
THE QUALITY OF MERCY view in catalog
An historical novel set in England in the 1700s, that illuminates the efforts to abolish slavery in England.
THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON view in catalog
A scathingly honest and brutal account of a young man’s coming of age in North Korea.
THE LIFEBOAT view in catalog
The unreliable narrator of this suspenseful tale of ocean liner passengers adrift on the Atlantic leaves many questions unanswered, including her own culpability.
THE UNINVITED GUESTS view in catalog
A funny and savage portrait of snobbish English aristocrats that veers into gothic horror.
THE GRIEF OF OTHERS view in catalog
Leah Hager Cohen
When a woman decides not to acknowledge the fact that the baby she’s carrying has died in the womb, her family almost implodes.
THE ABSOLUTIST view in catalog
During WW I, men who refused to fight but were not conscientious objectors were called Absolutists and were sent to the front as expendable bodies
SALVAGE THE BONES view in catalog
An impoverished black family on the Gulf Coast, already barely surviving joblessness and hunger, endures Hurricane Katrina. Won the National Book Award for 2011
THE STRANGER’S CHILD view in catalog
An aristocratic poet modeled on Rupert Brooks, who is killed in WW I, leaves a legacy of misunderstanding in a London family.
Lighter Fiction but Not Lightweight
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? view in catalog
Deliciously funny satire of life in Seattle, home of do-gooders and green ecology and one woman who hates them all.
SEATING ARRANGEMENTS view in catalog
Another very funny social satire, set in a WASPy New England island where a wedding will take place.
BEAUTIFUL RUINS view in catalog
Set in a gorgeous corner of Italy, a lovely story about a betrayed film star and the man who loves her all his life.
THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY view in catalog
Sentimental, feel-good story of an Englishman who decides to walk 600 miles across Britain to say good bye to a dying friend. Saved by fine writing.
THE BEGINNER’S GOODBYE view in catalog
Not Tyler’s best, but a heartwarming story about a widower and his new life.
GONE GIRL view in catalog
Wife goes missing on her wedding anniversary; husband feels guilty; both are not-so-nice. The plot tricks and turns.
More Good Books
THE CAT’S TABLE view in catalog
A coming-of-age tale in which three adolescent boys on a voyage through the Suez Canal to England encounter the mysteries of adult life.
HOME view in catalog
Morrison’s musical prose animates the story of a black soldier emotionally maimed by the Korean War and the racial prejudice he has endured.
THE SENSE OF AN ENDING view in catalog
A middle aged man looks back at the suicide of the best and brightest man in his group of college friends and the diary he left behind.
CARRY THE ONE view in catalog
Driving home after a wedding, a car full of drunken guests hits and kills a child.
THE RIGHT-HAND SHORE view in catalog
A passionless marriage between a woman from Bangladesh and a bachelor from Rochester NY approaches destruction.
IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN view in catalog
The Catholic faith is the Kingdom of God. A woman who rebels against its restrictions encounters restrictions against women as in the Kingdom of Men, Saudi Arabia.
THE NEWS FROM SPAIN view in catalog
A collection of seven stories about love that come together in a surprising way.
AEROGRAMMES view in catalog
Brilliantly diverse stories about relationships set in locales all over the world.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK view in catalog
Provocative stories about Israelis and American Jews. Englander leaves no religious or social strata unscathed.
CATHERINE THE GREAT view in catalog
The most fascinating account of Russia’s empress ever written.
THE SWERVE view in catalog
The chance discovery of a “lost” manuscript by the ancient Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius changed the course of Western thought and humanity.
WILD view in catalog
Bereft of her mother and her marriage, Strayed determined to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail—1100 miles—a foolhardy but triumphant quest.
A DISPOSITION TO BE RICH view in catalog
An arch swindler without one whit of remorse bankrupted Ulysses Grant and Samuel Clemens.
WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU CAN BE NORMAL view in catalog
An account of her upbringing by a fanatically religious mother who abhored the fact that her daughter was a lesbian.
THE LADY IN GOLD view in catalog
The famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Klimt was finally returned to her descendants by the Austrian government.
THE SCIENTISTS view in catalog
Growing up in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Roth was forced to keep secret his scientist father’s terminal illness from AIDS.
MRS ROBINSON’S DISGRACE view in catalog
The true story of a scandalous trial that rocked Victorian England, in which a wife accused of adultery protected her purported lover.
WANTED WOMEN view in catalog
Two women, born Muslim. One turned away from her religion; the other became a fanatic terrorist.
DROPPED NAMES view in catalog
A series of wickedly perceptive character portrayals of the rich and famous he has known.
Marta Campbell - Head of Collection Management
Tel: 203.291.4842 Email: mcampbell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org