Book of the Month for September 2014
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
Our Wilton Reads choice is a classic published in 1975. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow’s imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.
Book of the Month for August 2014
Signed, Sealed Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing by Nina Sankovitch
The author of the much-admired Tolstoy and the Purple Chair goes on a quest through the history of letters and her own personal correspondence to discover and celebrate what is special about the handwritten letter. “It’s a sweet-natured, well-written affirmation of the time-honored role of letters as a uniquely personal way to communicate,” Kirkus Reviews.
Book of the Month for July 2014
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore – an arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over. “It is marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both,” The Washington Post.
Book of the Month for June 2014
“Board games and card games were for rainy days, and if it looked like the rain was never going to stop we’d get out Monopoly. Despairing of its page upon page of rules, we’d make up our won. This is how both Wall Street investment strategy and Washington economic policy were invented by our generation. The 21st century financial climate was caused by too much rain in the 1950s.”
Book of the Month for May 2014
And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass
Kit Noonan is an unemployed art historian with twins to help support and a mortgage to pay—and a wife frustrated by his inertia. Raised by a strong-willed, secretive single mother, Kit has never known the identity of his father—a mystery that his wife insists he must solve to move forward with his life. Glass’ tale is about the youthful choices that steer our destinies, the necessity of forgiveness, and the risks we take when we face down the shadows from our past. “This warm and engaging story about what it means to be a father will appeal to most readers,” Library Journal.
Book of the Month for April 2014
When Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. “Meticulous and absorbing,” Bloomberg Businessweek.
Book of the Month for March 2014
Innocence by Dean Koontz
He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. “Laced with fantastical mysticism, it’s an allegory of nonviolence, acceptance and love in the face of adversity,” Kirkus Reviews.
Book of the Month for February 2014
Brown’s book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler. “This is Chariots of Fire with oars,” David Laskin.
Book of the Month for January 2014
We Are Water by Wally Lamb
Lamb’s novel is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs – nonconformist Anna; her ex-husband, Orion,
a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, and the nature of creativity and art. “We all know that life is tangled and messy. Still, in reminding readers of this fact, Lamb turns in a satisfying grown-up story, elegantly written,”
Book of the Month for December 2013
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
It’s the summer that Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, President Coolidge chose not to run, work began on Mount Rushmore, the Mississippi flooded like never before, The Jazz Singer was filmed and television was created. “All of which Bryson covers in characteristically sparkling prose,” Publishers Weekly.
Book of the Month for November 2013
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Ursula Todd is born in 1910 to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be most unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly. “One of the best novels I’ve read this century,” Gillian Flynn.
Book of the Month for October 2013
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative report Moss’s explosive, empowering narrative is grounded in meticulous, eye-opening research and features examples from some of the most recognizable brands including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Nestle and more. “Vital reading for the discerning food consumer,” The Wall Street Journal.