Adult Fiction (2010 Gift Guide)

The staff of the Everett Public Library has put together a fabulous gift guide of books and music in a variety of subjects. You’re sure to find something to please every reader on your list. Why not give yourself a gift and check one out today?

Click here to view or print the complete list. Read on for our guide to adult fiction.

Debut Fiction
2010 was a stellar year for first-time novelists. Surprise the fiction readers on your list with these exceptional new titles.

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Model Home by Eric Puchner
Domestic dysfunction is the name of the game in this hilarious and harrowing tale. A catastrophe-prone real estate speculator, his sex-ed video-producing wife and their kids head to California to develop desert property slated to be a toxic sludge site. The misadventures of this engaging cast are presented with pitch-perfect timing and psychological insight. Puchner has created a fast-paced, funny and uplifting story of a modern American family.

 The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
An English-language newspaper in Rome struggles against insolvency in this captivating exploration of the personal and professional lives of some of the most vividly realized characters to ever inhabit a newsroom. This timely view into the collapse of a newspaper in the internet era is handled with vitality and compassion by Rachman, a former editor at the International Herald Tribune.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
This feel-good novel is set in a changing English country village where estates are parceled out to developers and Pakistanis run the local market. Stately retiree and widower Major Ernest Pettigrew’s interest in reuniting two heirloom firearms alienates him from his materialistic son and his brother’s widow, while a shared love of literature brings him together with shopkeeper Jasmina Ali.

Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco
The body of famous Filipino author, Crispin Salvador, is found floating in the Hudson River. His protégé and fellow member of the Filipino intelligentsia returns to Manila to search for clues regarding his death and to find Salvador’s missing manuscript about corruption in the Philippines. This ambitious novel about a literary friendship and the postwar history of the Philippines won the Man Asian Literary Award and the Palanca Grand Prize.

The Rhetoric of Death by Judith Rock
Set in 17th century France, this excellent historical mystery is loaded with interesting characters, intrigue, heresy, murder and more. An ex-soldier and Jesuit has been helping heretics escape until his bishop uncle sends him off to teach college theatre, dance and rhetoric. As his students begin to disappear then turn up dead, Charles falls under suspicion and feels a personal need to find the killer. 

The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason
Episodes from Homer’s classic are completely recast in this wildly inventive and imaginative reappraisal of The Odyssey. Readers familiar with Homer’s work will benefit the most, but Mason provides enough backstory to situate these brief tales before turning them on their heads.

 Literary and Genre Fiction
These outstanding books by established authors are sure to be a hit.

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Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The big American novel of the year, Freedom, follows the Berglund family over 30 years. Its major concerns are the personal choices they make regarding family, love, friendship, infidelity and work, as well as the threats of overpopulation and environmental degradation. Franzen’s richly imagined and guilt-wracked characters make many mistakes and find freedom to be laced with disappointment and regret.

Nowhere to Run by C.J. Box
Joe Pickett works as a game warden in Wyoming’s high country. When he tickets angry anti-government twins for fishing without a license, he receives a beating that leaves him barely alive. Pickett retreats but returns to confront the twins and to find a missing Olympic runner. Nowhere to Run offers loads of suspense while exploring the tensions between governmental rules and individual rights.

Agents of Treachery: Never Before Published Spy Fiction from Today’s Most Exciting Writers by Otto Penzler (ed.)
This one-of-a-kind collection of short spy fiction by contemporary writers is not to be missed. Fourteen acclaimed novelists including Lee Child, Joseph Finder, David Morrell, Stella Rimington and Charles McCarry contribute powerfully gripping stories of international espionage.

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
In honor of his dead father, Shen Tai has spent years burying the dead from both sides of a battle on the empire’s border, thereby giving rest to their ghosts. When his efforts attract the attention of his enemy’s court, Shen Tai is surprised by a gift of 250 coveted horses – bestowing power upon him but also great danger. Kay delivers realistic characters and historical details in a fascinating story based on Tang-dynasty China.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
A government experiment to create a super-soldier leads to the discovery of a South American jungle virus that gives humans superhero abilities and healing powers. The downside? Those with the virus are turned into blood-craving monsters known as “virals” or “dracs.” The race is on to defeat them, and the fate of the human race as we know it hangs in the balance.  

Revived Classics
Lovers of classic literature will want to own these standard-setting new translations.

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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (translated by Lydia Davis)
Emma Bovary is a bored housewife who loses herself in romantic novels which feed her unrealistic dreams, leading to foolish infatuations and reckless decisions. In composing this masterpiece of literary realism, Flaubert famously obsessed over finding precisely the right words. This new translation by Lydia Davis gives us an English version that lives up to his ambition.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
In 1958, an English translation of Doctor Zhivago was rushed out when Pasternak received the Nobel Prize. This is the first English translation published since then. Based on the authentic text, this new translation captures the style and nuances of Pasternak’s story of love and war during the tumultuous Russian Revolution.