Without a doubt, State of Wonder (HarperCollins, $26.99), by Ann Patchett, is the book I enjoyed reading the most in 2011. For a bookseller, that’s a pretty bold statement. Open this novel and let Patchett’s beautiful, evocative writing take you far away to a place you probably never want to visit, the Brazilian rain forest.  It’s full of excessive heat, very large snakes, and a LOT of insects.  Nevertheless, our heroine, Marina, a research physician from Minnesota, goes there to bring back the body of her colleague.   He died mysteriously while on assignment for the drug company they both work for.   While there, she encounters her former mentor who is working on a very secret (and potentially lucrative) fertility drug.  We go with Marina from cold, desolate Minnesota to the sweaty depths of the rain forest as she uncovers truths, including her own. Patchett has a way of making every detail of Marina’s journey interesting and believable.  I couldn’t put it down.

State of Wonder: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062049810
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper Perennial - May 8th, 2012

What would happen if the winning designer of the 9/11 memorial was a Muslim? In this provocative, deeply resonant debut, Amy Waldman imagines the frenzy as the news spirals outward to inflame politicians, reporters, bloggers, lawyers, Muslim activists, and the victims’ families—the relatives of a firefighter, the wife of an illegal Bangladeshi immigrant who worked as a janitor in the Twin Towers. Then there’s the artist himself, the enigmatic Mohammad “Mo” Kahn, an architectural whiz-kid and the child of secular Indian immigrants from suburban Virginia. The Submission (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26) is a blistering social commentary and a vivid tapestry of post-9/11 New York, but it’s Waldman’s complex, humane characters who keep the pages turning.

The Submission: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374271565
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 16th, 2011

The Submission: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250007575
Availability: Backordered
Published: Picador - March 27th, 2012

Justin Torres’s slender, spare debut novel is the story of three mixed-race brothers growing up amid the chaos of their dysfunctional family in New York. The prose is clean, evocative, and purposeful, recounting the boys’ coming-of-age experiences in a series of vignettes. We The Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18) manages to tackle the underside of family life, the complexities of sibling relationships, and a few other social taboos with emotion at once raw and deeply touching. I loved this book and am excited to have been introduced to Justin Torres, an exciting and talented new addition to the literary scene.

We the Animals: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547576725
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - August 30th, 2011

We the Animals Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780547844190
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 11th, 2012

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