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New & Notable Wintry Reads

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New & Notable Wintry Reads

wintry reads

Winter may not be the most enjoyable time of year, especially once the holiday season passes and the temperatures start plummeting. But winter often provides the setting for fascinating works of fiction. Here are some wintry novels from the past year that you can check out using your Livingston Library card, and read by the comfort of a cozy fire.

(Descriptions provided by the publishers)

darkness surrounds us

The Darkness Surrounds Us by Gail Lukasik

Nurse Nellie Lester can’t escape death. Fleeing Chicago at the height of the 1918 Spanish flu, she takes a nursing job at a decrepit mansion on a desolate Michigan island, convinced the island holds the secret to her mother’s murky past. The only problem? Her dead mother seems to have followed her there. Nightly she’s haunted by a ghostly presence that appears in her bedroom. But is it her mother or something more sinister? When the frozen body of the prior nurse is unearthed, Nellie suspects the nurse’s death and her family’s history are connected to a mysterious group that disappeared from the island twenty-four years earlier. As winter closes in, past and present collide resurrecting a lurid killer, hell-bent on keeping the island’s secrets. Will Nellie uncover her mother’s shocking past before the killer enacts his final revenge?

The Wintering Place by Kevin McCarthy

Deserting to escape the horrors of the Indian Wars, two Irish brothers seek peace with the woman they love. For fans of Cormac McCarthy. Dakota Territory, 1867. The O’Driscoll brothers have survived a Sioux massacre, but younger brother Michael is gravely wounded. The deserters are fleeing north with Tom’s lover, Sara, when they come upon a sheltering rock by a stream down off the Bozeman Trail. If there is game here, they may survive the winter. “Wanted” posters appear everywhere along the trail. The likenesses do not resemble the brothers, but their uniforms give them away. Enter any town, and they will have to shoot their way out. The rock and the river become their safe place, and when spring comes, their paradise. But the world seeks its way to them, and even in paradise human nature makes its own trouble. In this follow-up to his acclaimed novel The Wolves of Eden, Kevin McCarthy tells a story of three very human characters battling to survive in a vast, beautiful, and unforgiving landscape.

The English Experience by Julie Schumacher

The bestselling, Thurber-prize winning author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement completes her hilarious trilogy of academic mishap by chronicling the beleaguered Professor Fitger as he leads the annual “Experience Abroad” to London and beyond with eleven clueless undergrads in tow. Jason Fitger may be the last faculty member the dean wants for the job, but he’s the only Professor available to chaperone Payne University’s annual “Experience: Abroad” (he has long been on the record objecting to the absurd and gratuitous colon between the words) occurring during the three weeks of Winter Term. Among his charges are a claustrophobe with a juvenile detention record, a student who erroneously believed he was headed for the Caribbean, a pair of unreconciled lovers, a set of undifferentiated twins, and one young woman who has never been away from her cat before. Through a sea of troubles–personal, institutional and international–the gimlet-eyed, acid-laced Fitger navigates safe passage for all concerned, revealing much about the essential need for human connection and the sometimes quite surprising places in which we find it.

Be Mine by Richard Ford

From Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford: the final novel in the world of Frank Bascombe, one of the most indelible characters in American literature. Over the course of four celebrated works of fiction and almost forty years, Richard Ford has crafted an ambitious, incisive, and singular view of American life as lived. Unconstrained, astute, provocative, often laugh-out-loud funny, Frank Bascombe is once more our guide to the great American midway. Now in the twilight of life, a man who has occupied many colorful lives-sportswriter, father, husband, ex-husband, friend, real estate agent-Bascombe finds himself in the most sorrowing role of all: caregiver to his son, Paul, diagnosed with ALS. On a shared winter odyssey to Mount Rushmore, Frank, in typical Bascombe fashion, faces down the mortality that is assured each of us, and in doing so confronts what happiness might signify at the end of days. In this memorable novel, Richard Ford puts on displays the prose, wit, and intelligence that make him one of our most acclaimed living writers. Be Mine is a profound, funny, poignant love letter to our beleaguered world.

Anangokaa by Cameron Alam

Upper Canada, 1804, on the edge of Chippewa territory. Flora MacCallum wakes from a malarial coma and witnesses the staggering loss her siblings have endured during their first days on the mosquito-infested banks of the Chenail Ecarté. Lured by Lord Selkirk’s promise of fertile grazing land and freedom far from the Highland clearances, Flora’s father staked his life to bring his family across the Atlantic, alongside a motley assortment of Scottish islanders, to settle this deeply forested and foreboding land. During the settlement’s first bleak North American winter, Flora discovers hope through an unlikely friendship. The eldest son of a Chippewa chief offers Flora the gift of his mother tongue. It is a gift which shifts Flora’s relationship with the land and the truth of her own spirit. As their furtive fellowship attracts attention, conflict arises in Baldoon. And among Flora’s own family. Set amid the privation of a struggling frontier settlement, the seduction of the natural world, and an intimate Chippewa forest camp, Anangokaa is the evocative coming-of-age story of a young woman who must determine what sacrifices she is willing to make for the life she longs to live.

crow mary

Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom

In 1872, sixteen-year-old Goes First, a Crow Native woman, marries Abe Farwell, a white fur trader. He gives her the name Mary, and they set off on the long trip to his trading post in Saskatchewan, Canada. Along the way, she finds a fast friend in a Métis named Jeannie; makes a lifelong enemy in a wolfer named Stiller; and despite learning a dark secret of Farwell’s past, falls in love with her husband. The winter trading season passes peacefully. Then, on the eve of their return to Montana, a group of drunken whiskey traders slaughters forty Nakota—despite Farwell’s efforts to stop them. Mary, hiding from the hail of bullets, sees the murderers, including Stiller, take five Nakota women back to their fort. She begs Farwell to save them, and when he refuses, Mary takes two guns, creeps into the fort, and saves the women from certain death. Thus, she sets off a whirlwind of colliding cultures that brings out the worst and best in the cast of unforgettable characters and pushes the love between Farwell and Crow Mary to the breaking point.

This is How We End Things by R.J. Jacobs

A compelling new psychological thriller following a cohort of graduate students studying the psychology of lying—until one of them is discovered dead. But how do you catch a killer who may be an expert in the science of deception? Campus is empty, a winter storm is blowing in, and someone is lurking in the shadows, waiting for their chance to kill again. Forest, North Carolina. Under the instruction of enigmatic Professor Joe Lyons, five graduate students are studying the tedious science behind the acts of lying. But discovering the secrets of deception isn’t making any of the student’s more honest though. Instead, it’s making it easier for them to guard their own secrets – and they all have something to hide. When a test goes awry and one of them is found dead, the students find themselves trapped by a snowstorm on an abandoned campus with a local detective on the case. As harbored secrets begin to break the surface, the graduates must find out who’s lying, who isn’t, and who may have been capable of committing murder. It turns out deception is even more dangerous than they thought…

The Bones of the Story by Carol Goodman

The twisty locked-room mystery from two-time Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author Carol Goodman, about a group of former classmates trapped on their college campus—with a murderer among them. “One of the best and smartest locked-room mysteries I’ve read in a long time. A page-turner with both heart and brains. Don’t miss it!”—David Bell, New York Times bestselling author of Try Not to Breathe and She’s Gone It’s been twenty-five years since the shocking disappearance of a female student and the distinguished Creative Writing professor who died while searching for her. The Briarwood College community has never forgotten the double tragedy. Now, the college President is bringing together faculty, donors, and alumni to honor the victims from all those years ago. On a cold December weekend after the fall semester has ended, guests gather on the vacant campus for the commemoratory event. But as a storm descends, people begin to depart, leaving a group of alumni who were the last ones taught by the esteemed professor. Recriminations and old rivalries flare as they recall the writing projects they shared as classmates, including chilling horror stories they each wrote about their greatest fears. When an alumna dies in a shockingly similar way to the story she wrote, and then another succumbs to a similar fate, they realize someone has decided at long last to avenge the crimes of the past. Will the secret of what they did twenty-five years ago be revealed? Will any of them be alive at the end of the weekend to find out?

On the Way to the End of the World by Adrianne Harun

In 1963, an eclectic group of characters embark on President Kennedy’s ambitious walking challenge. As the Cuban Missile Crisis eases, President Kennedy is casting around for a demonstration of American prowess when one of his Cabinet unearths an old mandate that US Marines be fit enough to walk fifty miles in twenty hours. Perfect! Kennedy decides to throw down the gauntlet to “today’s Marines,” but before he knows it, he’s sparked a wild fad. The entire country has answered the call, it seems, and for a few crazed winter weeks, masses of Americans will embark on their own arduous Big Walks–the “JFK 50-Milers.” Yet in tiny Humtown–an isolated mill town in the Pacific Northwest–not everyone who shows up for a hastily organized Big Walk is motivated by patriotism. Not Helen Hubka, an inveterate gossip; not the suicidal Caroline, who months earlier lost her beloved husband during the Storm of the Century. Not ex-soldier/fisherman Jaspar Goode, nor the unknown man in their midst, a collared priest who seems to shift identities at will. Certainly not Avis, a battered teenager running from her terrifying brother…with a stolen town treasure. And when the walkers stumble upon the abandoned car of a missing young mother, they rekindle a mystery that soon reverberates among them, exposing hidden truths, talents, and alliances. Splendidly imagined, with prose that sings on the page, On the Way to the End of the World is an adventure story riven with secrets, a national fairy tale twisted into a whodunit.

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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