Reinventing Yourself

reinvent

Britt-Marie Was Here: a novel / Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie is a woman who is used to her life being organized. But when she leaves her cheating spouse and takes a temporary job as caretaker of the recreation center in the tiny town of Borg, her life changes in unpredictable ways. With its wonderful cast of oddball characters and sly sense of humor, this novel is sure to capture readers’ hearts.

 

The Versions of Us / Laura Barnett

A novel musing on the role small choices can play in determining the course of a life follows Eva and Jim, who meet by chance on a Cambridge street, and the three different paths their lives could take.

 

Sweetbitter / Stephanie Danler

At her new job at one of NYC’s posh restaurants, Tess falls for a mysterious bartender and negotiates the politics of the service industry while building a social life. Danler drew from her own experience and the writing is vivid and stimulating. I’m always interested in a story about a girl trying to find her place in the world and her adventures, but anyone who appreciates writing that pulses with life will drink this down.

 

Ladivine / Marie NDiaye

After a woman, Clarisse, is murdered on a trip to visit her mother in Bordeaux, her daughter tries to uncover what happened to her with the help of a brown dog who appears to have taken in the spirit of the deceased.

 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper / Phaedra Patrick

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed, dresses, waters his fern, and heads out to his garden, carrying on just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

 

Queen Sugar / Natalie Baszile

A mother-daughter story of reinvention-about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles. They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.

 

 Signed, Mata Hari: a novel /Yannick Murphy

A tale inspired by the life of the infamous spy finds a woman awaiting execution in Paris and attempting to save herself by recounting the story of her Netherlands childhood, self-reinvention after ending a loveless marriage, and performances for the crowned heads of Europe.

 

Lucky Us: a novel / Amy Bloom

Forging a life together after being abandoned by their parents, half-sisters Eva and Iris share decades in and out of the spotlight in golden-era Hollywood and mid-twentieth-century Long Island.

 

The Ten-Year Nap / Meg Wolitzer

For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that they would conquer the world, they then left prestigious jobs to stay home with their babies. What was meant to be a temporary leave of absence has lasted a decade. Now, at age forty, with the halcyon days of young motherhood behind them and without professions to define them, Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen face a life that is not what they were brought up to expect but seems to be the one they have chosen. But when Amy meets someone who seems to have fulfilled the classic women’s dream of having it all–work, love, family–without having to give anything up, a lifetime’s worth of concerns, both practical and existential, opens up. As her obsession with this woman’s bustling life grows, it forces the four friends to confront the choices they’ve made–until a series of startling events shatters the peace and, for some of them, changes the landscape entirely.

 

Life After Life: a novel / Kate Atkinson

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. Ursula dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can — will she?

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