Heather's Picks

Heather found her way to Phoenix Books after retiring from full-time teaching. Her primary interest is in fiction, but she also ventures into poetry, nature, gardening, biography, history, and mystery. Lately, she has been reading some middle grade fiction to help young people.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Reviewed by: 
Heather
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Everything I Never Told You: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143127550
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Penguin Books - May 12th, 2015

When the Lee's teenage daughter is found dead in a nearby lake, Ng holds us spellbound to find out what has led to her death. Ng explores issues of race and gender, personal histories of the characters that precede Lydia's disappearance while holding us close to the idea of family. She makes us ponder what is given, what is withheld and what can never be known. We feel their grief.


The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Asway

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Heather
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The Automobile Club of Egypt Cover Image
By Alaa Al Aswany, Russell Harris (Translator)
$27.95
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ISBN: 9780307957214
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 18th, 2015

Al Aswany reminds me of a modern day Dickens. As a talented storyteller, he weaves a tapestry that shows how some characters could transcend oppression while others are crushed by it. Certainly the tension that existed between the corrupt Egyptian king and British colonials and the native Egyptian workers reminds readers that the need for freedom has been an ongoing struggle.
The author creates dramatic tension as he tells the story of 4 adult children of Abd el Aziz. The daughter emerges as a strong female character.  Aswany is compared to Nobel Laureate Mahfouz.


Leaving Before The Rain Comes by Alexandra Fuller

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Heather
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Leaving Before the Rains Come Cover Image
$26.95
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ISBN: 9781594205866
Published: Penguin Press - January 22nd, 2015

Written with the same poignancy that Jeanette Walls expresses in The Glass Castle, Fuller shares her love of Africa while at the same time showing the hazards that colonialism caused. Fuller weaves the tale of her romantic doomed family against the backdrop of her mother's remembered childhood.


The Sunlit Night, by Rebecca Dinerstein

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Heather
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The Sunlit Night Cover Image
$26.00
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ISBN: 9781632861122
Published: Bloomsbury USA - June 2nd, 2015

In the barren landscape of the Far North, Frances and Yasha find refuge in each other. She escapes a broken relationship by going to an artist's colony, and Yasha arrives from Brooklyn to bury his father whose wish is to be buried at the top of the world in Lofoten, 95 miles from the Arctic Circle. Love gives them a place to call home.


My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

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Heather
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My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609450786
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2012

Set in Naples in the 1950s, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is the first in a series about the friendship of two working class young women, Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo. The women depend on each other to confront life's challenges even though friendship is not a perfect shelter from hardship. The author shows a city and a nation undergoing change. This series would appeal to readers who like a sense of place and complex character development. Fans of Downton Abbey or Mr. Selfridge would gravitate to this story.


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The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609451349
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Europa Editions - September 3rd, 2013

The second book in the Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan novels.


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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay: Neapolitan Novels, Book Three Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609452339
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Europa Editions - September 2nd, 2014

The third book in Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan novels.


Blue Horses, by Mary Oliver

Reviewed by: 
Heather
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Blue Horses: Poems Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781594204791
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Penguin Press - October 14th, 2014

In her most recent collection of poems, Oliver again captures my attention. Her poems are like meditations.  She encourages us to be still, to know nature and our relationship to it. She helps us to treasure small moments.


Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

Reviewed by: 
Heather
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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780805095159
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Metropolitan Books - October 7th, 2014

A professor at Harvard Medical School, Gawande shows how modern medicine counters the realities of aging and death.  By including research on nursing homes and   hospitals and by telling the stories of his own patients and hi own family, Gawande reveals the suffering that this dynamic has created.  His book is hopeful as he shows the ways that doctors, family members and patients can hard the hard conversation to make sure that they do not sacrifice what people care about in their lives. A book we all should read for those we love and for ourselves.


Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, by Carol Wall

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Heather
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Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart Cover Image
$25.95
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ISBN: 9780399157981
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons a Member of Penguin Group - March 4th, 2014

This memoir shows how a magnetic man from Kenya, who is skilled at gardening, transforms the life (and garden) of a middle-aged woman.  By putting assumptions aside, each one of them develops a caring bond for the other.  Moving, uplifting, gently rendered story of love.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, by Haruki Murakami

Reviewed by: 
Heather
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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Vintage International) Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804170123
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Vintage - May 5th, 2015

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki  is another masterpiece by the renowned Japanese author. I couldn’t put this book down.  How masterfully Murakami tells the story of one young man who becomes an outsider from   his tightknit group of friends from his youth.  He seeks to reconnect with his friends and to understand his relationship to others. “Some things are too complicated to explain in any language.”  This book resonates with you long after it has been read. --Heather


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