A Super Tall Stack of New Paperbacks

2014 paperbacks

Before the days of instant gratification downloading, people like me used to get all excited about bestsellers coming out in paperback, so we could snatch them up and add them to our home library, or choose them for our book group without making everyone cough up big bucks for a hardcover. Even with Kindles and iPads, it's still nice to wait for new trade paperbacks -- they give you enough time to determine if you really think a book is good/fun enough to add to your ever-growing list of to-be-reads, and they have lots better info on the back (reviewer quotes) than new hardbacks. Plus, you can pass them on to friends.

I've got a (virtual) pile of books that were published in trade paperback in 2014, and I hope to get to every one of them ... just in time for this year's hardcover bestsellers to come out in 2015. Ack ... never, never enough time for all the books I want to read! Here are the newest trade paperbacks I hope to get to, with library blurbs and reviewer accolades:

rosie

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. 

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus

lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Lowland is an engrossing family saga steeped in history: the story of two very different brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn apart by revolution, and a love that endures long past death. Moving from the 1960s to the present, and from India to America and across generations, this dazzling novel is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.

Starred reviews in Kirkus, Library Journal, and Booklist, New York Times Notable Book, Kirkus Favorite Book, National Book Award Finalist, Shorlisted for Man Booker Prize

signature

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love traces the multi-generational saga of the Whittaker family, whose progenitor makes a fortune in the quinine trade before his daughter, a gifted botanist, researches the mysteries of evolution while falling in love with an utopian artist against a backdrop of he Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

Starred reviews in Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus

completely

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.

Starred reviews in Booklist, Kirkus, and Library Journal

bird

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Mistaken for a girl on account of his curly hair, delicate features, and sackcloth smock, 12-year-old slave Henry Shackleford realizes that his accidental disguise affords him greater safety and decides to remain female. Dubbed "Little Onion" by his liberator, abolitionist John Brown, Henry accompanies the increasingly fanatical Brown on his crusade to end slavery -- a picaresque journey that takes them from Bloody Kansas to Rochester, New York, where they attempt to enlist the support of such notables as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman before embarking on the infamous, ill-fated 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry.

Starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year, Pubishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, Winner of the National Book Award

burial

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

In March 1829, servant girl Agnes Magnúsdóttir is sentenced to death for the murder of her employer. However, since Iceland's nascent prison system is ill-equipped to house inmates, Agnes must await execution in the home of local farmer Jon Johnsson, his wife Margrét, and their daughters. The family must also extend their hospitality to include the Assistant Reverend Thorvardur "Toti" Jonsson, the young priest whom Agnes has chosen as her spiritual confessor. As Toti counsels Agnes, their conversations segue into flashbacks that reveal the complicated story behind the young woman's situation.

Starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus, Indie Awards Debut Fiction of the Year Winner

constellation

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

This debut novel by Pushcart Prize-winning author Anthony Marra is set in rural Chechnya during the region's war with Russia. Though events shift in time, the main focus is a five-day period in 2004, when an eight-year-old girl witnesses her father's abduction by Russian soldiers. Swearing to protect the girl, local doctor Akhmed (whose true passion is portraiture), brings her to a crumbling hospital, run by a hardened but dedicated surgeon, for safety.

Starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, New York Times Notable Book, Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year

behind

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Unwillingly rendered an object of obsession by the Kommandant occupying her small French town in World War I, Sophie risks everything to reunite with her husband a century before a widowed Liv tests her resolve to claim ownership of Sophie's portrait.

Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal

someone

Someone by Alice McDermott

An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice.

Starred reviews in Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus, Publishers Weekly Best Fiction Book of the Year, Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the Year, New York Times Notable Book, Washington Post Notable Book, National Book Award Finalist

owls

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

Traces the author's offbeat world travel experiences, which involved surreal encounters with everything from French dentistry and Australian kookaburra eating habits to Beijing squat toilets and a wilderness Costco in North Carolina.

burgess

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Catalyzed by a nephew's thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys, a loss linked to a heartbreaking deception that shaped their personal and professional lives.

Starred review in Library Journal

fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

Starred review in Library Journal, Indie NextPicks, LibraryReads Selection