Fiction

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry | ,

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Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die. So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband. Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?.

Fiction

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy | Rachel Joyce

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When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, 'Even though you've done your travelling, you're starting a new journey too.' Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning..

Fiction

Perfect | Rachel Joyce

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From the author of the international bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, comes another exquisite and emotionally resonant novel about the search for the truth and unconditional love. On a foggy spring morning in 1972, twelve-year-old Byron Hemming and his mother are driving to school in the English countryside. On the way, in a life-changing two seconds, an accident occurs. Or does it? Byron is sure it happened, but his mother, sitting right next to him in the car, has no reaction to it. Over the course of the days and weeks that follow, Byron embarks on a journey to discover what really happened--or didn't--that fateful morning when everything changed. It is a journey that will take him--a loveable and cloistered twelve-year-old boy with a loveable and cloistered twelve-year-old boy's perspective on life--into the murkier, more difficult realities of the adult world, where people lie, fathers and mothers fight without words, and even unwilling boys must become men. Byron will have to reconcile the dueling realities of that summer, a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit and the power of compassion..

Fiction

The Music Shop | Rachel Joyce

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A love story and a journey through music. The exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. It's 1988. The CD has arrived. Sales of the shiny new disks are soaring on high streets in cities across the England. Meanwhile, down a dead-end street, Frank's music shop stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. It attracts the lonely, the sleepless, the adrift. There is room for everyone. Frank has a gift for finding his customers the music they need. Into this shop arrives Ilse Brauchmann--practical, brave, well-heeled. Frank falls for this curious woman who always dresses in green. But Ilse's reasons for visiting the shop are not what they seem. Frank's passion for Ilse seems as misguided as his determination to save vinyl. How can a man so in tune with other people's needs be so incapable of helping himself? And what will it take to show he loves her? The Music Shop is a story about good, ordinary people who take on forces too big for them. It's about falling in love and how hard it can be. And it's about music--how it can bring us together when we are divided and save us when all seems lost..

Fiction

The Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy 2-book Bundle | Rachel Joyce

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Two beloved novels in one volume! THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die. So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband. Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door? THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, 'Even though you've done your travelling, you're starting a new journey too.' Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning..

Juvenile Fiction

Perfect | Natasha Friend

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Depicting with humor and insight the pressure to be outwardly perfect, this novel for ages 10-13 shows how one girl develops compassion for her own and others’ imperfections. For 13-year-old Isabelle Lee, whose father has recently died, everything's normal on the outside. Isabelle describes the scene at school with bemused accuracy--the self-important (but really not bad) English teacher, the boy that is constantly fixated on Ashley Barnum, the prettiest girl in class, and the dynamics of the lunchroom, where tables are turf in a all-eyes-open awareness of everybody's relative social position. But everything is not normal, really. Since the dealth of her father, Isabelle's family has only functioned on the surface. Her mother, who used to take care of herself, now wears only lumpy, ill-fitting clothes, cries all night, and has taken every picture of her dead husband and put them under her bed. Isabelle tries to make light of this, but the underlying tension is expressed in overeating and then binging. As the novel opens, Isabelle's little sister, April, has told their mother about Isabelle's problem. Isabelle is enrolled in group therapy. Who should show up there, too, but Ashley Barnum, the prettiest, most together girl in class..

Fiction

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County | Tiffany Baker

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When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth and was totally ill-equipped to raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane, the epitome of femine perfection. When he, too, relinquishes his increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege and Truly to live on the outskirts of town, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of her peers. Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of doctors for generations. Though they have long been the pillars of the community, the earliest Morgan married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen forever. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques,hidden within the folds of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places..

Study Aids

Summary of "Educated" By Tara Westover - Free book by QuickRead.com | QuickRead,Lea Schullery

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Want more free books like this? Download our app for free at https://www.QuickRead.com/App and get access to hundreds of free book and audiobook summaries. The captivating memoir of a woman who grew up isolated from society, abused by her family, and despite zero childhood education, she broke the restraints of her father’s twisted worldly views and earned her Ph.D. at Cambridge and Harvard University. Born on a rural farm in Idaho to strict Mormon parents, Tara Westover spent her childhood and teen years working in her father’s junkyard and helping her mother create herbal medicine while attending a small, devout church. Tara’s parents were skeptical of public education, medical institutions, and the government’s role in the lives of its citizens. This skepticism led to their self-sufficient lifestyle, homeschooling their children and even tending to serious burns and injuries with herbal remedies. Plagued with physical and emotional violence, Tara’s household became a space filled with turmoil and brutality. As Tara grew older, she gained a curiosity about the world beyond her family and set out to receive higher education. Going against her father’s wishes, Tara attended Brigham Young University, a Mormon college in Utah, and eventually went on to study at Cambridge University and complete a fellowship at Harvard. As Tara continued her education, her home life became more abusive and violent, eventually forcing her to make the difficult decision to choose between her family and education..

Fiction

American Romantic | Ward Just

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A young diplomat is torn between two women during the earliest days of the Vietnam War in this “wide-ranging and well-written” novel (The Christian Science Monitor). Harry Sanders is a young Foreign Service officer in 1960s Indochina when the course of his life is suddenly altered by a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents that ends in quiet disaster—and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman. Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before traveling to Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean on assignments. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in New England and looking for an escape into Harry’s diplomatic life. On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple—but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harry’s thoughts, and May has her own secrets too. As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to narrow the distance between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him, in a novel from a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist that “considers the toll that a life lived upon the great stage of international politics can take on a man of substance” (Kirkus Reviews)..

Biography & Autobiography

I'll Push You | Patrick Gray,Justin Skeesuck

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2018 ECPA Christian Book Award Winner 2018 Christopher Award Winner Two best friends, 500 miles, one wheelchair, and the challenge of a lifetime. Friendship takes on new meaning in this true story of Justin and Patrick, born less than two days apart in the same hospital. Best friends their whole lives, they grew up together, went to school together, and were best man in each other’s weddings. When Justin was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease that robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, Patrick was there, helping to feed and care for him in ways he’d never imagined. Determined to live life to the fullest, the friends refused to give into despair or let physical limitations control what was possible for Justin. So when Justin heard about the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trek through Spain, he wondered aloud to Patrick whether the two of them could ever do it. Patrick’s immediate response was: “I’ll push you.” I’ll Push You is the real-life story of this incredible journey. A travel adventure full of love, humor, and spiritual truth, it exemplifies what every friendship is meant to be and shows what it means to never find yourself alone. You’ll discover how love and faith can push past all limits—and make us the best versions of ourselves..

Fiction

The Girl with Glass Feet | Ali Shaw

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An inventive and richly visual novel about young lovers on a quest to find a cure for a magical ailment, perfect for readers of Alice Hoffman Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda's Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a mainlander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure. Midas Crook is a young loner who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defenses. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart. Love must be paid in precious hours and, as the glass encroaches, time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass? The Girl with Glass Feet is a dazzlingly imaginative and magical first novel, a love story to treasure..

Fiction

The Fever Tree | Jennifer McVeigh

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“There is nothing more exciting than a new writer with a genuine voice. I loved it.” —Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey Frances Irvine, left destitute in the wake of her father’s sudden death, has been forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Southern Cape of Africa. 1880 South Africa is a country torn apart by greed. In this remote and inhospitable land she becomes entangled with two very different men—one driven by ambition, the other by his ideals. Only when the rumor of an epidemic takes her into the dark heart of the diamond mines does Frances see her road to happiness. But before she can follow that path, Frances must choose between passion and integrity, between her desire for the man who captured her heart and her duty to the man who saved her from near ruin, a decision that will have devastating consequences..

Fiction

Fear of Dying | Erica Jong

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Fear of Dying is a hilarious, heart wrenching, and beautifully told story about what happens when one woman steps reluctantly into the afternoon of life. Vanessa Wonderman is a gorgeous former actress in her 60's who finds herself balancing between her dying parents, her aging husband and her beloved, pregnant daughter. Although Vanessa considers herself "a happily married woman," the lack of sex in her life makes her feel as if she's losing something too valuable to ignore. So she places an ad for sex on a site called Zipless.com and the life she knew begins to unravel. With the help and counsel of her best friend, Isadora Wing, Vanessa navigates the phishers and pishers, and starts to question if what she's looking for might be close at hand after all. Fear of Dying is a daring and delightful look at what it really takes to be human and female in the 21st century. Wildly funny and searingly honest, this is a book for everyone who has ever been shaken and changed by love..

Fiction

The Death of Bees | Lisa O'Donnell

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WINNER OF THE COMMONWEALTH BOOK PRIZE 2013 Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved. Marnie and her little sister Nelly have always been different. Marnie leads a life of smoking, drinking and drugs; Nelly enjoys playing the violin, eating cornflakes with Coke and reading Harry Potter. But on Christmas Eve, the sisters have to join forces and put their differences aside. And when Lennie, the old guy next door, starts to get suspicious, it’s only a matter of time before their terrible secret is discovered..

Philosophy

The Case for Rational Optimism | Frank Robinson

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The Case for Rational Optimism tackles a host of challenging subjects in an engaging, accessible, down-to-earth style. It is intellectually serious, ceaselessly intriguing, and devoid of banalities. While other books in this genre tend to be oriented toward self-help, this volume brings evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, economics, and a keen sense of history to the topic. Robinson begins with three goals: making the case for feeling good about oneself, about humanity in general, and about the global situation. He addresses such seemingly disparate subjects as selfi shness versus altruism, mind and free will, human nature, and issues relating to economics, technology, the environment, and more. Unifying these ideas into a coherent philosophical whole are central concepts: evolution has endowed our species with more good qualities than bad, and why; those qualities, and our use of reason, are the foundations of civilization, and how; and, consistent with our nature, we make a better world by valuing human life therefore enabling others to fl ourish in ways they freely choose. The Case for Rational Optimism argues that the highly challenging conditions confronting early man created a Darwinian selective pressure for cooperation, even altruism, among members of a tribe. Th e author fi nds evidence for this in the way our brains work, and in observable human behavior. He argues against existential despair over the human condition. Even though there probably is no grand celestial design investing life with meaning, he considers this liberating, giving every person the freedom to craft their own meaning. To Robinson, whether sentient beings experience suff ering or joy is the only thing that matters; without emotive highs and lows, the Universe would hardly matter..

Fiction

Skios | Michael Frayn

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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 'Good God, thought Oliver, as he saw the smile. She thinks I'm him! And all at once he knew it was so. He was Dr Norman Wilfred.' On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation's annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be surprisingly young and charming - not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation's guests are soon eating out of his hand. So, even sooner, is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki's old school-friend Georgie waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with, and who has only too characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and increasingly all normal sense of reality - everything he possesses apart from the flyblown text of a well-travelled lecture on the scientific organisation of science... And as the time draws ever nearer for one or other Dr Wilfred - or possibly both - to give the eagerly awaited lecture, so Skios - Greece - Europe - career off their appointed track. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Skios is a story of mislaid identity, misdirected passion and miscalculated consequences. Michael Frayn is also the celebrated author of fifteen plays including Noises Off, Copenhagen and Afterlife. His other bestselling novels include Headlong, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Spies, which won the Whitbread Best Novel Award..

Fiction

The Book Charmer | Karen Hawkins

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Prepare to fall under the spell of “this sometimes whimsical, often insightful, always absorbing story” (Shelf Awareness) following two fiercely independent women and their truly magical friendship in a sleepy Southern town, from New York Times bestselling author of Karen Hawkins. Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books live, breathe, and sometimes even speak. As the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler. If the books are right, Grace could be the savior Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. But with a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, will Grace ultimately embrace the challenge to rescue her charmed new community? “A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself..

Fiction

This Could Hurt | Jillian Medoff

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“Periodically a writer captures the pattern of comedy and tragedy that peppers office life like alternating colors of carpet squares. . . . As smart as Medoff’s critique of corporate inanity is, it’s tempered by compassion for these people, who are ultimately tender with each other, too. . . . Medoff finds plenty of hurt—but strains of hope, too.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives—a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them. Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery. While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company’s bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his "work wife," Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something—a romance, a promotion—to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places—that is, if his high-powered wife has her way. Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant—Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning. Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life..

Fiction

Everything Was Goodbye | Gurjinder Basran

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Raised by her widowed mother and the youngest of six daughters, Meena is a young Indo-Canadian woman struggling to find her place in the world. As a restless and headstrong teenager, she knows that the freedom experienced by her Canadian peers is beyond her reach. But unlike her older sisters, Meena refuses to accept a life that is defined by an arranged marriage. She befriends a young man named Liam, a social outcast and kindred spirit, who asks her to run away with him. As she weighs her decision carefully, she learns that she is too late-he has already left without a trace. Faced with increasing pressure from her family and her tight-knit community, Meena must confront the expectations placed on her, and with them, all the rippling consequences that follow. Heartbreaking and beautiful, Everything Was Good-bye is an unforgettable story about family, love, and loss, and the complexities of living in two different cultural worlds..

Fiction

One Good Hustle | Billie Livingston

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From award-winning writer Billie Livingston, an unsparing novel of loyalty and survival that is fierce, sharp and funny even when it's breaking your heart. The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death--a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices. With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other--and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the "weird, spearmint-fresh feeling" of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility. One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell's struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler..