5 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
In this you didn’t know (and we didn’t), Guernsey is a British island that was occupied by the Germans during WWII where the Nazi forces established the only concentration on British soil. The book takes place immediately after the war ends and tells stories of the inhabitants’ lives through a series of letters written by and to a writer doing research about the island. This novel’s strong point is that it manages to view the horrors and atrocities of war through the lens of cheerful daily lives. Although the events of the war are never ignored or even glossed over, they are not the focus here. Instead it demonstrates mankind’s ability to persevere through adversity and the power of humor and the written word to help with that process.
4 Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
If you missed the last bunch of Stephanie Plum novels then it’s time to get started. Janet Evanovich’s bestselling series is about a clumsy girl-next-door type who loses her job in retail and stumbles into a brand new career as a bounty hunter. She manages to use her intuition and persistence to make up for the fact that she dislikes guns and violence in general. In this newest adventure she joins her gang of adorable misfits to solve a mystery at a cook-off. This is the perfect beach/ski lodge read (depending on the season) since it’s a great combination of chick-lit, mystery and slap-stick humor.
3 The Shack
The Shack is one of those oddities that you don’t expect to see on a bestseller list. Originally rejected by mainstream and large Christian publishers alike, the author actually wrote it as a way of explaining his past and current relationship with God with his children. The entire book takes place in a shack where the main character spends forty-eight hours talking to the Trinity, as each one appears personified before him. Since its publication and astonishing rise to the bestseller list, Christian leaders have been divided over this one. Some decry it as heresy (God is a large southern African-American woman) while others are thrilled with its ability to encourage communication with ahigher power. While it’s not exactly fine literature, it’s a great chance to explore one man’s spiritual world in the hopes that it can help you find your own.
2 The Lost Symbol
Is it just us or has it been a long time since the last Dan Brown adventure? As usual, Indiana Jones-esque Robert Langdon is investigated conspiracies through hidden symbols that conspirators just happen to leave irresponsibly lying around. This time, he’s looking into the Freemasons but he seems a little bit less antagonistic towards them than he was towards the organizations he infiltrated in the last book. Perhaps that’s because he’s scared of having his throat slit if he reveals their secrets. Otherwise however, this new incarnation of Brown’s successful formula offers the same creepy symbols, gruesome murders and attractive brainiacsas his last two bestsellers and it looks like that’s a winning combination.
1 The Associate
John Grisham has got his winning formula down. He’s even proven that he can do other stuff well but why fix what isn’t broken? In this legal thriller Kyle, our good and noble hero, is an idealistic young lawyer who plans to give up the big bucks in order to provide legal help to migrant workers. Unfortunately, a villain enters the scene with just enough information to blackmail Kyle into taking a job at a swanky law firm and doing corporate espionage. As he gets sucked deeper and deeper into the quagmire of deceit, Grisham’s writing just barely lets you forget that the whole story would have been two hundred pages shorter if Kyle had just come clean about the skeleton in his closet and hired a good lawyer of his own. Barely, but he does manage which is why the book tops our list.
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