I was wondering around Barnes and Noble the other day with a gift certificate I got for Christmas when I came across a great display of books that are ethnic or offbeat and are not on any of the lists I have recently consulted so I made a list of these interesting options and here it is, with the shelf notes:
The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tabor – a riveting, insightful tale of conspicuously consuming Americans and their Mexican servants in Orange County.
My Long Trip Home: a family memoir by Mark Whitaker – a deeply personal, instructive, and inspiring story of a life in a contemporary biracial American family.
The Dubious Salvation of Jacky: a novel by Jacques Strauss – the Irish Times called this sly darkly wry-toned novel “fresh, funny…unusually vivid and alive.”
Vaclan and Lena by Haley Tanner – the lives of two immigrant families from Russia converge in unexpected ways in this debut novel about love and magic.
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman – Harrison Opuku is just 11 years old, but when a London classmate is murdered, this recent immigrant decides to become a detective.
Child Wonder: a novel by Roy Jacobsen – a young Norwegian boy grapples with changes in his household that he can’t yet fully understand.
Precious Objects: A Story of Diamonds, Family and a way of Life by Alicia Oltuski – a talented journalist with unique family connections exposes the deep and secretive world of the US diamond industry.
The Family Tang: a novel by Kevin Wilson – the unwelcome reunion of two children with their performance artist parents becomes the catalyst for major life changes.
Lightning People: A Novel by Christopher Bollen – a tour-de-force that recalls The Great Gatsby…a canvas of love, loss and youth in New York.
[Sic]: A Memoir by Joshua Cody – the vivid unconventional memoir of a brilliant young composer’s winning battle against cancer.
The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad – a slender, densely nuanced novel set in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Shards by Ismet Prcic – a raucous kaleidoscope of a novel about the Bosnian War from both sides of the Atlantic.
Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China’s Other Billion by Michael Levy – what happens when a New York school teacher joins the Peace Corps and travels to China.
The Disappeared by Kim Echlin – a fiercely beautiful love story for the ages (Canada and Cambodia).
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante – (Lib. Cat) “Implicated in the murder of her best friend, Jennifer White, a brilliant retired surgeon with dementia struggles with fractured memories of their complex relationship and wonders if she actually committed the crimes.”
A Walk Across the Sun: a novel by Corban Addison (India) – (Lib. Cat.) “This story chronicles an unforgettable journey through the underworld of modern slavery and into the darkest and most resilient corners of the human heart.”
The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano – (Lib. Cat. paraphrase) Udo Berger becomes enmeshed in a round of Third Reich, his favorite WWII strategy game – Udo discovers that the game’s consequences may be all too real.
Locked On by Tom Clancy – Back with Jack Ryan and son and John Clark and terrorists – in the crosshairs
White Truffles in Winter by N. W. Kelby – (Lib. Cat.) About the life of French Chef Escoffier – “a novel of the sensuality of food and love amid a world on the verge of war.”
Assholes Finish First by Tucker Max – (Lib. Cat.) “presents a new collection of alcohol-induced “fratire” (a made-up term combining fraternity and satire) adventures in hedonism that convey the author’s experience of being intoxicated at inappropriate times, seducing a ludicrous number of women and otherwise living in complete disregard of social norms.” (sounds like Hangover II, the print version)