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#OffTheRailsBookClub Picks

#OffTheRailsBookClub Picks

This is a selection of the titles from our #OffTheRailsBookClub 2020.

Playlist Tags: audience: book clubs influencer-created

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Valentine

A Novel

By Elizabeth Wetmore
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell & Jenna Lamia
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes

Valentine

“After listening to the first chapter of Elizabeth Wetmore's debut (which I guarantee you will RIP through), it is easy to expect the rest of the book to be either a thriller or a courtroom drama. You would be wrong in these assumptions, but far from disappointed. In February 1976 in Odessa, Texas, after the assault and rape of a fourteen-year-old Mexican girl at the hands of the town's high school golden boy, we the readers are introduced to a cast of strong and flawed women and are shown how this heinous crime rocks the small town they inhabit to its core. Through their eyes, we see the underbelly; our fingers are placed on the pulse of this small town. We see the nature of suburban life and the poison that seeps through the cracks of the American dream where bigotry and misogyny sweep across the landscape as ordinary at the dusty winds on the oil patches that blemish Odessa and the miles of hostile desert beyond. What is strength and where does it come from when justice is so hard to come by? I was hanging on to every word of Valentine as if Wetmore was wringing out the last drops of water from an old rag into my parched mouth. I listened and re-listened to each gorgeous sentence until it seared into my brain. This masterful debut, both tender and serrated, beautifully captures the spirit of the new and old west... it is not easily forgotten.”

BookBar image Conner, BookBar
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The Glass Hotel

A novel

By Emily St. John Mandel
Narrated by: Dylan Moore
Length: 10 hours 28 minutes

If you enjoyed The Dutch House, then you’ll love The Glass Hotel.

“This is not a trite story of redemption. It ends with a reunion, perhaps the only meaningful kind of reunion, though it changes nothing. There are dozens of kinds of heartbreak, and none of them are mended in any conventional way. Characters who seemed cruel and characters who seemed incorruptible turn out, in dozens of ways, to be more alike than different, but without cynicism and without sentimentalism. And one perfectly timed revelation at the very end gives two characters precisely the resolution they craved, though the revelation neither draws them together nor has a similar effect on them both. And yet—and yet—this is a book exactly and precisely about redemption, maybe the only kind that ever really makes a positive difference in the world, and it gives hope specifically by showing how multiple lives continue from a crisis into a livable future. Beautifully described, unexpected, and powerful, this is the ghost story we need now.”

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Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“What a beautifully rich and nuanced book! Emira, a mid-twenties educated but slightly driftless woman is working 2 part time jobs still trying to find her passion. She find joy in her part time babysitting job, finding her three year old charge a delightfully odd little person who keeps her interested. But things turn complicated when she is asked to take her charge to the local grocery store late at night and is accosted by the store security guard and a "well meaning" patron. Accused of kidnapping and unable to leave Emira holds her dignity and stands up for herself as another patron films the incident. Emira wants nothing more than to put the incident behind her but those closest to her have other ideas of what is best for her. This novel packs an emotional punch, making us question our own motives and wondering if we really have our loved ones best interests at heart. A perfect book group pick for those who like to focus on character driven stories.”

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A Burning

A novel

By Megha Majumdar
Narrated by: Vikas Adam, Priya Ayyar, Deepti Gupta, Ulka Simone Mohanty, Soneela Nankani & Neil Shah
Length: 7 hours 21 minutes

A Burning

“Wonderfully read by a full cast, Megha Majumdar’s A Burning is especially relevant in the age of highly-politicized social media and government extremism.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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Girl, Woman, Other

By Bernardine Evaristo
Narrated by: Anna-Maria Nabirye
Length: 11 hours 6 minutes

Girl, Woman, Other

“The twelve Black British women who are the central characters in Bernardine Evaristo's GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER are so vastly different that when their connections are slowly revealed, like a spider web you didn't see until the light hits it just so, you'll settle in and become entranced. I loved this deep dive into a part of British culture that isn't often depicted. The form is unusual but once you give yourself over to it, you'll see why it works. I particularly loved the last part of the book which reminded me of enjoying a long leisurely meal and still leaving room for the perfect dessert. The ending was terribly satisfying. Highly recommend.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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The Mountains Sing

By Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Narrated by: Quyen Ngo
Length: 10 hours 44 minutes

The Mountains Sing

“Deep human bonds of family, place, and memory are written of in ways that are often heartbreaking, but show the strength and persistence of those ties. This is a book that glows with spirit and those larger life forces that include love. I look forward to the day I can put this book in readers' hands.”

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