The Grafton Public Library presents…

Notable Books of 2019

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Dewey Number


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Vuong, Ocean


A young man writes a letter to his illiterate mother in an attempt to make sense of his traumatic beginnings.

The Nickel Boys

Whitehead, Colson


Inspired by disclosures of a real-life Florida reform school’s long-standing corruption and abusive practices, Whitehead’s novel displays his skill at weaving narrative strands into an ingenious if disquieting whole.

Olive, Again

Strout, Elizabeth


The thorny matriarch of Crosby, Maine, makes a welcome return. Beautifully written and alive with compassion, at times almost unbearably poignant. A thrilling book in every way.

The Old Drift

Serpell, Namwali


The past, present, and future of an African nation is filtered with humane wit, vibrant rhetoric, and relentless ingenuity through the interweaving sagas of three very different families.

Women Talking

Toews, Miriam


An exquisite critique of patriarchal culture. Stunningly original and altogether arresting.

The Dutch House

Patchett, Ann


Their mother's disappearance cements an unbreakable connection between a pair of poor-little-rich-kid siblings.

Big Sky

Atkinson, Kate


Jackson Brodie is back.

Lady in the Lake

Lippman, Laura


Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this historical fiction about a real-life unsolved drowning. The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom and the city it covers.

The Turn of the Key

Ware, Ruth


Ware channels The Turn of the Screw in her latest creepy mystery when a nanny takes a post at a haunted country house.

The Night Tiger

Choo, Yangsze


A young houseboy and a dressmaker’s apprentice get drawn into a mystery in 1930s Malaya. A sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world.

The Testaments

Atwood, Margaret


Atwood goes back to Gilead.

Normal People

Rooney, Sally


A young Irish couple gets together, splits up, gets together, splits up—sorry, can't tell you how it ends! Absolutely enthralling. Read it.

Ask Again, Yes

Keane, Mary Beth


Neighboring families in a New York commuter suburb are entwined, root and branch, through work, their children, and a tragedy of profound consequence.

The Silent Patient

Michaelides, Alex


This mystery is one of the 2019 Goodreads Choice award winners.

Daisy Jones & the Six

Reid, Taylor Jenkins


What ever happened to Daisy Jones and The Six, the iconic 1970s rock band that topped the charts and sold out stadiums?


Obreht, Tea


A frontier tale dazzles with camels and wolves and two characters who never quite meet. The final, luminous chapter is six pages that will take your breath away.

The Starless Sea

Morgenstern, Erin


This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

The World That We Knew

Hoffman, Alice


In this tale of a young German Jewish girl under the protection of a golem—a magical creature of Jewish myth created from mud and water— the author employs her signature lyricism to express the agony of the Holocaust with a depth seldom equaled in more seemingly realistic accounts.

The Lost Man

Harper, Jane


A timely novel set in the furthest reaches of Australia . A twisty slow burner by an author at the top of her game.

Fleishman Is In Trouble

Brodesser-Akner, Taffy


Firing on all circuits, from psychological insight to cultural acuity to narrative strategy to very smart humor. Quite a debut!

The Guest Book

Blake, Sarah


This novel sets out to be more than a juicy family saga—it aims to depict the moral evolution of a part of American society. Its convincing characters and muscular narrative succeed on both counts.

Rules for Visiting

Kane, Jessica Frances


Engagingly cleareyed prose about a winningly eccentric heroine in love with trees and literature.

Mrs. Everything

Weiner, Jennifer


An ambitious look at how women’s roles have changed—and stayed the same—over the last 70 years.

Good Talk

Jacob, Mira

92 JAC

Author explores the perils and joys of parenting, marriage, and love in this showstopping memoir about race in America in this graphic novel.


McKibben, Bill

909.83 MCK

The noted environmental activist reprises his proposals to save humanity.

Three Women

Taddeo, Lisa

306.708 TAD

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.


Land, Stephanie

331.761 LAN

First-time author Land chronicles her years among the working poor as a single mother with only a high school diploma trying to earn a living as a minimum-wage housecleaner. An important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

Trever, David

970.004 TRE

An Ojibwe novelist and historian delivers a politically charged, highly readable history of America’s Indigenous peoples after the end of the wars against them.


MacFarlane, Robert

551.447 MAC

A treasure all its own. An essential text.


Benfey, Christopher

92 KIP

Intelligent and well-researched, Benfey’s book accomplishes a delicate feat by highlighting the complexity of Kipling’s life and work without seeking to minimize his colonialist, racist views.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Gottlieb, Lori

616.891 GOT

A vivacious portrait of a therapist from both sides of the couch. Saturated with self-awareness and compassion, this is an irresistibly addictive tour of the human condition.

Save Me the Plums

Reichl, Ruth

92 REI

The renowned food writer recounts her adventures as editor-in-chief of the noted epicurean magazine Gourmet in its last decade.An absolutely delightful reading experience.

A Woman of No Importance

Purnell, Sonia

92 GOI

A remarkable chronicle of a courageous woman who worked undercover for British and American intelligence in occupied France during World War II and had to fight for every ounce of recognition she deserved.


Shapiro, Dani

92 SHA

Shapiro delves into an origin story that puts everything she previously believed and wrote about herself in fresh perspective.

Year of the Monkey

Smith, Patti

818.54 SMI

This chronicle of a chaotic year filled with deep losses and rich epiphanies finds the writer and performer covering a whole lot of ground. A captivating, redemptive chronicle of a year in which Smith looked intently into the abyss.

Women Rowing North

Pipher, Mary

305.262 PIP

A distinguished clinical psychologist and bestselling author examines the personal and social issues that aging women face in modern American society. Thoughtful, wise, and humane.

The Yellow House

Broom, Sarah

On order

Broom’s lyrical style celebrates her family bonds.

Talking to Strangers

Gladwell, Malcom

302.23 GLA

Gladwell emphasizes that society could not function if we did not give everyone the benefit of the doubt. “To assume the best of another is the trait that has created modern society,” he writes. “Those occasions when our trusting nature is violated are tragic. But the alternative—to abandon trust as a defense against predation and deception—is worse.” Another Gladwell tour de force but perhaps his most disturbing.

They Called Us Enemy

Takei, George

92 TAK

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei's childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.