The Age of Hope by David Bergen

In 1930, a woman named Hope is born into what will be, for all appearances, a completely conventional life in Winnipeg. She loves her husband and her kids, even though things seem so...safe. Her feminist friend Emily leads a life that shocks her even as she finds herself full of envy, but she is inspired to take steps toward breaking out of her conventional roles, although unsure of what she really wants. As her children grow into their own lives and complications, Hope pushes and pulls against what the boundaries of a wife and mother are expected to be, trying to find a place where she can be herself. Continue reading

 

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

It came on suddenly: one morning pre-teen Julia and her family woke up to the news that the earth's rotation had slowed. A day was now 24 hours and fifty-six minutes. No one knows what is causing the slowing that is making each subsequent day longer, or if it will stop before it is too late for human survival. First comes the disbelief, then the panic, and then the conflict, all while Julia is facing all of the other challenges of growing up - friends who outgrow you, crushes, parents who have their own secret lives. Continue reading

 

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper

You couldn't really say that Silver's life is in a downward spiral - he's been firmly lodged at rock bottom since his one-hit-wonder band broke up and his wife left him over seven years ago. He lives in an apartment complex for depressed divorced men and his daughter regards him with a patient expectation of disappointment, so maybe it's not a big surprise when he finds himself opening his mouth to reject life-saving surgery. Instead, he decides to devote his remaining time to helping his daughter Casey through a potentially life-altering decision, so at least he'll do one good thing for her before he dies. Continue reading

 

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J. Jacobs

It seems like every day a new study emerges telling us what's good for us and what isn't. Jacobs decides to spend two years working on as many systems of the body as possible (heart, stomach, ears, teeth, etc) to get them into peak condition. Despite wildly conflicting information and beliefs (e.g. veganism vs. meat-driven diets), Jacobs sets out to become the healthiest man on earth. Continue reading

 

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Tigers in Red Weather follows two cousins, Nick and Helena, who have been waiting for their men to come back after World War II so they could begin their 'real' lives. The book switches perspective between the two women as well as some of their family members, as each recounts life at the rich (and booze-soaked) estates of Tiger House in Martha's Vineyard. Each character is trying to decide how to be happy or if they can settle for what life has given them when all of their lives are shaken up by the discovery of the body of a murdered maid. Desires and suspicions whirl around the characters, largely driven by the formidable and self-centred Nick, whose main wish in life is to not be 'ordinary.' Continue reading

 

How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Part memoir, part rally to feminism, Moran shares her hilariously awkward stories of growing up through to motherhood, using her stories and observations as springboards to pose feminist questions. Why are women currently expected to get Brazilians? Is it anyone's business when or if we have children? Are there any feminist role models for young women in a world where reality TV and tabloids rule supreme? And for anyone new to feminism (the word, if not the accorded freedoms), where do we even start to make sense of it all? Continue reading

 

Skios by Michael Frayn

Stepping off a plane onto the sunny Greek island of Skios, the impulsive Oliver Fox sees the welcoming smile of discreetly blonde and discreetly tanned Nikki Hook and decides he should try to pass as the name on her card - Dr. Norman Wilfred. Dr. Wilfred, who is due to give a lecture at the Fred Toppler Foundation, is too weary to notice he's managed to be mistaken for Oliver - but the woman in his bed isn't about to make the same mistake. This farce plays out over a few days, as we wait for Dr Wilfred (one of them, anyway) to deliver his headlining lecture, or for everything to come crashing down around them. Continue reading

 

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

In the heat of World War II beginning, everyone thought that Michael and Pauline were the perfect couple. No one who had witnessed it would ever forget the way that Michael's usually solemn face lit up with joy when her red coat popped out of the crowd and she chased him down for a goodbye before he boarded his train. But as reality sets in, the plodding and practical Michael and the impulsive and fiery Pauline seem utterly mismatched to each other, and their possible mistake in marrying may reverberate over the next two generations. Continue reading

 

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Eli and Charlie Sisters are hired killers, assigned to end the life of Hermann Kermit Warm in the wild west of the 1850s. They head out for California from Oregon City, butting heads with other criminals who would love the infamy of taking down the Sisters brothers, lusting after women, cheating, stealing, lying, and...dieting? Riding around on an inferior horse out of pity for the poor animal? The lives of these ruthless killers are touched with dry comedy as they set out to do the job they're assigned to do by a powerful man known as the Commodore. Continue reading