Library Column for March 10, 2023

@ Your Library

March can be a up and down month. Some days seem like spring is around the corner and other days make us wonder if we’ll ever see warm weather again. Escape into a good book and don’t worry about the weather.

Here are some titles that will help you focus on the story and not the weather. Madeline Miller brought the Trojan War back into prominence with her 2012 novel The Song of Achilles told from the point of view of an awkward young prince, Patroclus, who follows Achilles into war.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is told after the climatic events that open the 2019 novel. A famous painter, married to an in-demand fashion photographer, shoots her husband in the face five times when he return home and then she never speaks another word. Gilliam Flynn is a master at plot and Gone Girl is a suspenseful story of Nick, whose wife Amy disappeared on their fifth wedding anniversary. Police immediately suspect Nick and who is persistently calling his mobile phone? Who is telling the truth and what happened to Nick’s beautiful wife? Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is a suspenseful tale of three mothers and their involvement in a riot at a school trivia night. Was the death of a parent a tragic accident or was it premeditated?

Ernest Cline published Ready Player One in 2011, and it has aged extremely well for a novel set in the not-too-distant future. The world is a very bleak place, but virtual reality provides a vast utopia where people spend much of their lives. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is an ode to George Orwell’s 1984. It is told in alternating voices and relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers she has been transported to an alternate reality and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.

I’ll end this week with some retellings of classic literature. If you’ve always meant to read that classic or read it and loved it, these titles might be just the ticket to get through March. The Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Another Shakespeare retelling is Ian McEwan’s Nutshell, this time of Hamlet. March by Geraldine Brooks is a retelling of Little Women, sort of as it is the story of the absent father. Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Try The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow or Longbourn by Jo Baker for retellings of Jane’s Pride and Prejudice. And Alexander McCall-Smith got into the game with his Retelling of Emma, suitably called Emma. A retelling of Beowulf can be found in A.E. Kaplan’s Grendel’s Guide to Love and War: a tale of rivalry, romance, and existential angst. This is just the tip of this particular iceberg. If you find yourself enjoying retellings, let me know and I can direct you to lots more. Of course, you can also explore the whole world of movie retellings.

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