Twenty-Somethings Book List

Reading in your twenties can be difficult. Many readers find themselves trying to bridge the gap between young adult fiction and adult fiction. Many of these issues stem from the fact that a large amount of adult literature focuses on an older adult audience, featuring protagonists whose dilemmas may still seem foreign to someone in their twenties. Many twenty-somethings, including myself, often find themselves searching for books that feature characters their own age.

Well, look no further. Click “read more” to see our list of books about people in their twenties, with the ages of the protagonists included.

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Morbid Curiosity Reads

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a morgue? Want to know what uses science has for human cadavers? You might have a case of what’s been dubbed “morbid curiosity,” or a fascination with the macabre. Inspired by this month’s Get Lit! Book Club pick, here are a few morbidly curious nonfiction titles that approach death from a unique, fresh perspective.

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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr
‘s latest book, All The Light We Cannot See, tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II. The novel was ten years in the writing and highly anticipated. If you haven’t placed a hold for it and would like to, take a look at it in our catalog and request it here.

In the meantime, here are five similar books to tide you over until you can get your hands on it:


STONES FROM THE RIVER by Ursula Hegi

Follows Trudi Montag, a dwarf who serves as her town’s librarian, unofficial historian, and recorder of the secret stories of her people, in a novel that charts the course of German history in the first half of the twentieth century. This book is also stylistically complex and describes the challenges that the characters surmount to survive the Second World War.


JACOB’S OATH by Martin Fletcher

As World War II winds to a close, Europe’s roads are clogged with twenty million exhausted refugees walking home. Among them are Jacob and Sarah, lonely Holocaust survivors who meet in Heidelberg. But Jacob is consumed with hatred and cannot rest until he has killed his brother’s murderer, a concentration camp guard nicknamed “The Rat.” Now he must choose between revenge and love, between avenging the past and building a future. This book is also atmospheric and depicts the brutality of the War, with characters experiencing its emotional and psychological effects.


THE ENGLISH PATIENT by Michael Ondaatje

With unsettling beauty and intelligence, Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II. The nurse Hana obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the center of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions-and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. This moving, stylistically complex novel is similar in that it reflects on the brutality of World War II and its lingering effects.


SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future. This book is moving and lyrical, and gives a perspective of family relationships in the desperate times of World War II.


THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE by Julie Orringer

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he promised to deliver. But when he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret that will alter the course of his-and his family’s-history. From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in labor camps, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour.

Click the titles to visit our online catalog and place a request for any of these books. Descriptions and cover images are from the library online catalog, descriptors of how these books are similar to All The Light We Cannot See are from Novelist.

Spotlight on New Historical Fiction

If you enjoy history, but like a good story to go along with it, you may have already discovered the genre of historical fiction. If not, consider this your introduction.

Your librarian can help you to find a great historical novel set in any era using tools such as NoveList. Or follow the link to our library database page and under the heading for literature, click on ‘NoveList’ (or ‘Remote Access’ from home) to access this useful resource for readers.

Take  a look at these works of historical fiction, recently added to the shelves at Sewickley Public Library. You can follow the linked titles to find them in the library catalog, where you may request a copy for pickup.

 


THE PAGAN LORD: A NOVEL by Bernard Cornwell

The seventh and latest in the ‘Saxon Tales Saga,’ also referred to as ‘The Warrior Chronicles’ and ‘Saxon Stories,’ this book is by “the move prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today,” according to a Wall Street Journal review. The Pagan Lord continues Cornwell’s epic telling of the making of England in the middle ages and the struggle to unite Britain, centering on the stories of Alfred the Great and his descendents. If you are an Anglophile or love Viking stories (or both!), this book and series will have appeal.

The full list of books in the ‘Saxon Stories’ can be found on Bernard Cornwell’s website. If this series and setting sounds intriguing and you’d like to begin at the beginning, the first in this series is The Last Kingdom: A Novel.


THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE by Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin’s latest work of historical fiction explores the unanswered questions surrounding the Mary Celeste, an American merchant vessel found adrift off the Spanish coast in 1872, cargo intact but the entire crew vanished with no signs of foul play.

Martin has written other acclaimed works of historical fiction. Mary Reilly, a retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the point of view of a young female servant, won both the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award. And Property, which tells the story of a plantation master’s wife and her slave on a sugar plantation near New Orleans in 1828, won the Orange Prize (now called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction) and was named one of the 10 best historical novels by The Observer in 2012.


THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS by Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon’s debut novel, set in Jazz Age New York, The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is an fictionalized account of the real disappearance in 1930 of Justice Joseph Crater. The investigation is undertaken by newly promoted police officer Jude Simon, who proceeds by questioning three women in Crater’s life: his wife, his mistress, and his maid (who also happens to be Simon’s wife). The mystery winds its way through speakeasies and involves the most notorious gangsters of the day.

 

Of course, these are only three recently written historical fiction novels, set in three eras, and in three different geographic settings. There is sure to be a great work of historical fiction set in whatever time period or in whatever place interests you.