West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Standout Books of the Decade

These books have been featured on many different "best books of the decade" (2010s) list. Have you read them all?

A visit from the Goon Squad by Egan, Jennifer

Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the post-war future

All the light we cannot see : a novel by Doerr, Anthony

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Americanah : a novel by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

"A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected"--

Between the world and me : notes on the first 150 years in America by Coates, Ta-Nehisi

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis

Commonwealth : a novel by Patchett, Ann

Dept. of speculation : a novel by Offill, Jenny

An unflinching portrait of marriage features a heroine simply referred to as "the Wife," who transitions from an idealistic woman who once exchanged love letters with her husband and who confronts an array of universal difficulties

Exit west : a novel by Hamid, Mohsin

"From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, a love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, twoyoung people meet--sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors--doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner--both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid's most ambitious and electrifying novel yet"--

Fates and furies by Groff, Lauren

Fates and Furies is a dazzling examination of a marriage, and a portrait of creative partnership. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed

Gone girl : a novel by Flynn, Gillian

When a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage, while her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred

Homegoing : a novel by Gyasi, Yaa

"Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the troubled spirit of our own nation"--

Imagine me gone : a novel by Haslett, Adam

When Margaret's fiancé, John, is hospitalized for depression, she faces a choice: carry on with their plans, or back away from the suffering it may bring her. She decides to marry him. What follows is the unforgettable story of what unfolds from this act of love and faith. At the heart of it is their eldest son, Michael, a brilliant, anxious music fanatic, and the story of how, over the span of decades, his younger siblings-the responsible Celia and the tightly controlled Alec-struggle along with their mother to care for Michael's increasingly troubled existence.

LaRose : a novel by Erdrich, Louise

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence - but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich. The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux's wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty's mother, Nola. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition - the sweat lodge - for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them

Life after life : a novel by Atkinson, Kate

"What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best. "--

Lincoln in the bardo : a novel by Saunders, George

Traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the sixteenth president after the death of his eleven-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War

Little fires everywhere : a novel by Ng, Celeste

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster

Milkman : a novel by Burns, Anna

In Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s, an unnamed narrator finds herself targeted by a high-ranking dissident known as Milkman

Mr. Splitfoot by Hunt, Samantha

"A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning. Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth's niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who -- or what -- has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road? In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that is carefully plotted and elegantly constructed, Mr. Splitfoot will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa. Making good on the extraordinary acclaim for her previous books, Samantha Hunt continues to be "dazzling" (Vanity Fair) and to deliver fiction that is "daring and delicious" (Chicago Tribune)"--Provided by publisher

My brilliant friend : book one : childhood, adolescence by Ferrante, Elena

Beginning in the 1950s Elena and Lila grow up in Naples, Italy, mirroring two different aspects of their nation

My year of rest and relaxation by Moshfegh, Ottessa

"From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a shocking and tender novel about a young woman's efforts to sustain a state of deep hibernation over the course of a year on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong? My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question.

News of the world : a novel by Jiles, Paulette

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust

Normal people : a novel by Rooney, Sally

"At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He's popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne's house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers--one they are determined to conceal. A year later, they're both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other" --

Salvage the bones : a novel by Ward, Jesmyn

Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups

Sing, unburied, sing : a novel by Ward, Jesmyn

"A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward. In Jesmyn Ward's first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi's past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature"--

Station eleven : a novel by Mandel, Emily St

An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse

The fifth season by Jemisin, N

The overstory : a novel by Powers, Richard

A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest

The sympathizer : a novel by Nguyen, Viet Thanh

The story of a South Vietnamese captain -- a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America -- who returns to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause

The woman upstairs : a novel by Messud, Claire

Relegated to the status of schoolteacher after abandoning her dreams of becoming an artist, Nora advocates on behalf of a Lebanese student and is drawn into the child's family until his mother's ambition leads to betrayal

Trust exercise : a novel by Choi, Susan

In 1982 in a southern city, David and Sarah, two freshmen at a highly competitive performing arts high school, thrive alongside their school peers in a rarified bubble, ambitiously devoting themselves to their studies―to music, to movement, to Shakespeare and, particularly, to classes taught by the magnetic acting teacher Mr. Kingsley. It is here in these halls that David and Sarah fall innocently and powerfully into first love. And also where, as this class of students rises through the ranks of high school, the outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and the future, does not affect them―until it does―in a sudden spiral of events that brings a startling close to the first part of this novel

There there : a novel by Orange, Tommy

A multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people.
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