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Monday, October 7, 2013

Big fall books

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

We have many customers who like to keep up on the latest and greatest books.  Here is an overview of some of the books we have at the library that are generating the most buzz around the country this fall.

Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam completes her MaddAddam trilogy, which also includes Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood.  It’s a dystopian imagining of the near future.  Atwood says, “Although MaddAddam is a work of fiction, it does not include any technologies or bio-beings that do not already exist, are not under construction or are not possible in theory.”  Reviewers say this satire is full of humor and hope.  Atwood is the winner of many literary awards over the past fifty years.

Jhumpa Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for her first book, Interpreter of Maladies.  Her new book, The Lowland, is on the short list for the Man Booker Prize, a major book award in the United Kingdom.  The novel tells the story of two brothers, one a radical who stays in India and one a parent-pleasing academic who goes to America. 

Thomas Pynchon is a reclusive author who won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1974.  Bleeding Edge is his newest, a detective story set in 2001 after the dotcom bubble has burst.  The story leads up to and through September 11th in New York City.  Some people praise the genius of Pynchon’s writing while others call it unreadable.  Publishers Weekly says that “reading Pynchon for plot is like reading Austen for sex”: you never quite get there.


Stephen King has just come out with a sequel to The Shining, 36 years later.  In Doctor Sleep, Dan Torrance is now a middle-aged hospice worker who uses his dimmed supernatural powers to aid the dying.  When he meets a young girl with far stronger powers than he ever had, he has to help protect her from a group that wants to prey upon her to stay alive.

The author of Eat, Pray, Love has a new book out: The Signature of All Things.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s historical novel tells the story of a woman botanist in the nineteenth century.  This was a time when ideas about science and religion were changing rapidly and amateur scientists and explorers could still make great discoveries.  The reviews are positive.

Malcolm Gladwell made a name for himself with his books The Tipping Point and Outliers.  His newest is David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.  This nonfiction book looks at how success can arise from obstacles and disadvantages.  It sounds like his conclusions are controversial and thought-provoking, as usual.


New books that everyone is talking about can be hard to find on the library shelf for a while.  I suggest that you request these titles through the library catalog or ask a staff member to request them for you if you want to read one of these books soon.