Heart-warming, heart-rending and heart-racing reading suggestions for the winter months ahead
Uncommon Type: Some Stories
By Tom Hanks
An actor is overwhelmed with his first brush with fame. A woman, recently divorced, moves into a new home and considers her romantic future. A World War II veteran, still bearing scars, finds comfort in his wife and family. These are some of the characters in Tom Hanks’ new short story collection (Yes, THE Tom Hanks, Oscar-winning movie star Tom Hanks). This story collection is romantic, bittersweet, funny and quirky. (All the stories feature a typewriter.) Uncommon Type is a must-read for any Tom Hanks fan.
-- Julie Ellis, Outreach Program Coordinator
The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life
By Sharon Pywell
Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel is what the author describes as a “romance about romances.” At the heart of the novel are twin sisters, Neave and Lilly, who come of age in post–World War II Massachusetts. In addition to the alternating viewpoints, there is a story within a story: passages from Neave’s much-loved and reread bodice-ripping pirate romance are interspersed with her and Lilly’s unfolding story of starting and growing a cosmetics business (at a time when most young women married and worked only in the home). All this while the story of how their own romances play out. The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life is definitely a blend of genres – historical fiction, romance, murder mystery and even a smidge of magical realism to round things out. It is an entertaining read but not necessarily a sweet one. Romance readers, the author states, “are people who trust that love exists and that it is more powerful than bad logic or bad writing.” If you like well-paced novels with romance and smart, gutsy heroines, then give this book a try.
--Chantal Wilson, Librarian and Interim Manager, Research Department
In the Midst of Winter: A Novel
By Isabel Allende
In Isabel Allende’s latest novel, a deep love is realized in the most unlikely of circumstances. The lives of colleagues Richard Bowmaster and Lucia Maraz entwine with that of Evelyn Ortega, a refugee from Guatemala, after a chance encounter on a snowy afternoon. Allende slowly reveals the life stories of each of these characters as the gripping plot unfolds. This novel is a metaphor for the walls both physical and emotional that we build to divide ourselves from others. It is a great read for anyone who wants to understand more about the immigrant experience and the human condition, with a good dose of suspense.
--Allison Thiessen, Film & Sound Librarian
By Michael Poore
Milo’s soul has been reincarnated more times than any other in existence – 9,995 times to be exact. He only has five chances left to get it right and achieve Perfection, or he’ll be tossed into eternal nothingness. To further complicate his plight, attaining Perfection may forever end his epic, millennia-long love affair with Death, who prefers to go by Suzie. Will Milo manage to attain Perfection in his remaining lives and save his soul from the void, or will he sacrifice everything to stay with his love?
Told with Poore’s wonderfully dry humor, this exhilarating journey through Milo’s lives provides the unique experience of reading science fiction, fantasy, futuristic dystopia, historical fiction, adventure and romance all in one book. Lovers of Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman will definitely not want to miss this funny, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, redemptive story.
--Sarah Cameron, Research Librarian