QABC Winter '23/'24 Recommendations

Below are our recommendations for reading during these wintry days and nights.

Houses with a Story: A Dragon’s Den, a Ghostly Mansion, a Library of Lost Books, and 30 More Amazing Places to Explore By Seiji Yoshida, Jan Mitsuko Cash (Translated by) Cover ImageHouses with a Story by Seiji Yoshida
I have always loved cross-sections and books that give us inside glimpses into other worlds, so I can’t stop admiring the beautiful, detailed pages of this gorgeous gift book. Each spread is a different setting sure to inspire the imagination. Full color illustrations, terrifically specific text, and backmatter with behind-the-scenes details fill over 120 magical pages. Seekers of wonder of all ages (8 to adult!) will treasure this.  TEGAN 


Titus Groan By Mervyn Peake, Anthony Burgess (Introduction by) Cover ImageTitus Groan by Anya Johanna Deniro
The quintessential gothic drama! First published in 1946, this labyrinthian tale is the first in a trilogy, but serves as a perfect standalone. A heady blend of Tolkien, Tim Burton, and Dickens; this book—set in an ancient, crumbling castle with as much character as any protagonist—oozes atmosphere. The cast of oddballs found in these pages are absurd and delightful. The perfect story to get lost in as the nights get longer.  COLE 


The Last Unicorn By Peter S. Beagle, Patrick Rothfuss (Introduction by) Cover ImageThe Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The perfect fairytale fantasy; expansive, moving, thematically dense yet gripping, stands on its own outside of any series. An ideal gift for anyone young or old who wants to get lost in a world of evergreen trees and slate-gray waves below solitary castle towers. You will not return the same. GABRIEL


But She Is Also Jane (Juniper Prize for Poetry) By Laura Read Cover ImageBut She Is Also Jane by Laura Read
Laura Read’s poems are disarming; their conversational tone feels as if we’re behind them in line at the grocery store listening to the good-natured checker continuing a story as she rings up each customer’s items. They begin with a memory or confession that takes its time, thinking out-loud, drawing you in with its charm—and then pivoting to knock you flat. These poems are quiet; they are poems about what it is to be a girl, a woman, with girl and women worries, and they should never, ever be underestimated. Laura Read is a wonder.   ERIN 


 My Name Is Barbra By Barbra Streisand Cover ImageMy Name is Barbra by Barbra Streisand
Called a perfectionist (or worse!), it is clear that Barbra Streisand is passionate about every one of her projects. She takes them very personally—especially when it comes to telling her own story. My Name Is Barbra is the long-awaited memoir that Streisand penned to counter the rumor mill and celebrity gossip. But it is much more than that. Here Streisand, ever the stickler for details, takes us behind the scenes from her early days and career—from Brooklyn to Broadway, and from our home screen televisions to Hollywood. Along the way she has broken barriers, suffered setbacks, and achieved astonishing accomplishments and accolades. This is her remarkable life told from her inimitable point of view.  JAMES 



 Let Us Descend: A Novel By Jesmyn Ward Cover ImageLet Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward
This novel is truly brilliant! From the first page until the last, the lyricism and poetry of the writing was entrancing. This is a story of American slavery and of separation. Intense, heartbreaking, spiritual. When I finished the last page, I sighed and put my head in my hands. BEAUTIFUL!  JUDY 


I Will Greet the Sun Again: A Novel By Khashayar J. Khabushani Cover ImageI Will Greet the Sun Again by Khashayar J. Khabushani
A tender and soft agony. It's a beautifully written coming of age story about a young queer Iranian American boy growing up in the 90s. It's about belonging, longing, brotherhood, and overcoming trauma. A glowing debut.  TORRIN 

How to Build a Boat By Elaine Feeney Cover Image

How To Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney
Hands down, my favorite novel of the year! One boy, an outsider, pursues an impossible dream of attempting to connect with the mother who died shortly after he was born. Once he’s set a more practical task that just might do the trick, he finds himself the center of a rag-tag community who come together to make it all happen. Long-Listed for the Booker Prize 2023, this Irish novel is a glorious triumph of the human spirit.  JAMES 



AAbsolution: A Novel By Alice McDermott Cover Imagebsolution by Alice McDermott
McDermott's novel is set in 1963 Saigon, and tells the story of the wives, known as "helpmeets," of American engineers and attorneys during the days of the Vietnam War. Searing, evocative, and thought-provoking. I found this a timely read as comparisons of the current Israeli-Hamas conflict to the Vietnam War emerge in our political dialogue. Ann Patchett predicts a Pulitzer for this absorbing novel. I hope she's right.  WENDEE 



The Lost Tomb: And Other Real-Life Stories of Bones, Burials, and Murder By Douglas Preston, David Grann (Foreword by) Cover ImageThe Lost Tomb by Douglas Preston
Short-format nonfiction by a master of truth-stranger-than-fiction and real life suspense is perfect for busy readers. Some of these pieces might be categorized as true crime, some archaeology, some real-life mysteries, but all are fast-paced and well-written, brimming with Preston’s usual intellectual curiosity and incredible research.  TEGAN 



Wellness: A novel By Nathan Hill Cover ImageWellness by Nathan Hill
It’s the late 90’s in Chicago, and Jack and Elizabeth each feel their lives are about to change. When they find each other, it’s love at first sight—or is it? Two decades in, their marriage starts to fray under the strains of perfectionist parenting, home renovations, and secrets. This second novel by Nathan Hill is a deliciously compulsive commentary on love and intimacy in a high tech, fast-paced, moneyed society. It’s dead-on funny, but with lots of heart.  ERIN 



The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel: Genius, Power, and Deception on the Eve of World War I By Douglas Brunt Cover ImageThe Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel by Douglas Brunt
Diesel believed his invention could make the world a better place. Instead, it had a monumental impact on politics leading up to WWI. This well-written biography and riveting story provides a fascinating and readable overview of political developments leading up to the Great War.  KRIJN 



The Trio By Johanna Hedman, Kira Josefsson (Translator) Cover ImageThe Trio by Johanna Hedman
From the first few pages, I knew that I was going to be invested in this story and to feel it deeply. The characters feel real, raw, and honest, and I empathize with their insecurities and regrets. Oh, how I wish I could be stumbling across Europe in early adulthood with two people I love, waiting for something, anything, to happen.  TORRIN