Fall 2011 Leisure Reading

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates.  In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to PowerPoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both—and escape the merciless progress of time—in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3555.G292 V57 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire.  In charting the mistakes and joys of Walter and Patty Berglund as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3556.R352 F74 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

“Through the lives of the eleven main characters (each with their own chapter), Rachman chronicles the rise and fall of a Rome-based international newspaper, which bears a striking resemblance to his former employer, the International Herald Tribune.  This imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions during an era when print news is giving way to the Internet age.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.4.R323 I57 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks and Tisch Tower Cafe

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.  Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs.  Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more.  But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3619.I56294 M35 2011
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“Henrietta Lacks, a poor married, African American mother of five, died at 31 in Baltimore from a vicious form of cervical cancer.  During her treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital and after her death there in 1951, researchers harvested some of her tumor cells.  This wasn’t unusual.  Though Lacks consented to treatment, no one asked permission to take her cells; the era’s scientists considered it fair to conduct research on patients in public wards since they were being treated for free.  What was unusual was what happened next.”

Tisch Library Call Number: RC265.6.L24 S55 2009
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

What happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple–journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday–who should have stayed behind their resort’s walls.  The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn’t explain to the girls from her village because they’d have no context for its abundance and calm.  But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day–with the right papers–and “no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6103.L43 L58 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.  Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion.  The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years”

Tisch Library Call Number: RC275 .M85 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Room by Sarah Donoghue

In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma.  But Jack is different in a big way–he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick.  For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son.  When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary.  Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue’s Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances.  A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6054.O547 R66 2010
Location: Tisch Library Book Stacks and Tisch Tower Cafe

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

“An unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future.  Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved.  In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.  Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.3.A8 O7 2003
Location: Tisch Book Stacks