Sara's Top 10 Books Reimagined, Adapted, and Expanded

The Last White Man: A Novel By Mohsin Hamid Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593538814
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 2nd, 2022

In Hamid’s newest novel, people are changing overnight. Reminiscent of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, this book follows Anders, a white man who wakes up one day to discover that his skin has grown several shades darker. We follow Anders as he grapples with identity in a world where one’s outward appearance impacts every aspect of everyday life. Mohsin skillfully manipulates the lens of this novel, bringing us into the depths of Anders' conscience then situating his attitudes into the larger social dynamics he inhabits. This is a quick, intense read. Modern allegory at its finest.

The Song of Achilles: A Novel By Madeline Miller Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062060624
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2012

Anyone who knows me will nod knowingly seeing this retelling of The Iliad right near the top of my list (which is in no particular order). A tattoo of the cover adorns my left arm. I love this book. I cannot get enough. In this masterful novel, Patroclus, the companion of Achilles during the Trojan War, is given a voice. And the beautiful things he sings will live in your heart for the rest of your life. This is a story of sacrifice, power, and, above all, love, at its purest and most devastating. As much as I love this book, I will warn you: Miller knows how to pull forth every tear in your body. And she does. Get ready to crack your heart open.

This Is Why I Came: A Novel By Mary Rakow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619028289
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint - November 15th, 2016

This is a unique little book. In Rakow’s novel, a woman who has lost her faith in God and religion has rewritten the Bible in such a way as to give its characters a voice. One of my favorite books I’ve read this year, if not my favorite. The writing is distilled in vivid, poetic images. The characters of the Torah and New Testament come alive on the page as people, rather than figures. If you want a compulsive, accessible read that also feels deeply ancient, this is the book for you.

The Vegetarian: A Novel By Han Kang Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101906118
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Hogarth - August 23rd, 2016

For anyone who has read the short story Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville, they will recognize the devolution of Yeong-hye. I don’t want to say too much about this bizarre, thrilling little book, but I will say: it’s divided into three sections, all of which centralize the voices of those closest to Yeong-hye, which contribute to or exploit, in some way, her decline. A disturbing, visceral tale with a dash of body horror, this is a perfect book for anyone desiring a controlled confrontation with the inexplicable and a twisted adaptation of a classic story.

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Coming Through Slaughter (Vintage International) By Michael Ondaatje Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679767855
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 1996

Very little is known about the life of Buddy Bolden, a jazz pioneer in early 20th century New Orleans, but Michael Ondaatje takes that teaspoon of information and runs. What results is a lively and three-dimensional portrait of a time, place, and artistic movement. Ondaatje’s use of jazz-influenced prose to thrust us into Buddy’s world is intoxicating, and tragically mirrors Bolden’s descent into mental illness. This is a tight, skillfully rendered book. An example of true craft. Reading this book is like eating a four course meal from a Michelin star restaurant. It’s an experience–sometimes interesting, impenetrable, but always delectable and awe-inspiring.

The Guest List: A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick By Lucy Foley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062868930
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: William Morrow - June 2nd, 2020

This thriller draws inspiration from the classic mystery novels of Agatha Christie’s and her iconic reader-as-detective style. What results is a page-turning, rapid read that pulls you through and to the end of the book before you can say “Whodunit?!” A perfect book for anyone who wants to log more books on their yearly log, or someone who wants to feel their pulse race a little. Or someone who has just had their heart ripped out by a different book on this list (take your pick!) and needs a palate cleanse.

Felon: Poems By Reginald Dwayne Betts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393542035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 30th, 2021

In this collection of poems, Betts redacts lines from documents filed by the Civil Rights Corps to distill the injustice being done in the American legal system. The documents he redacts and adapts into poems are documents previously filed by the Civil Rights Corps to challenge the incarceration of people who cannot afford to pay bail. This poetry collection is a direct challenge to the complacency of the bail system, as well as a larger examination of the speaker’s life within a system that has deeply affected him and those around him. The poems are vulnerable and raw. This is one of the most important and striking collections I’ve read this year.

Know My Name: A Memoir By Chanel Miller Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735223721
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 18th, 2020

Many of us are familiar with Chanel Miller’s story, though when we first encountered her it was under the pseudonym “Emily Doe.” In this heart-wrenching memoir, Miller walks us through the aftermath of her assault, from the trial, to her journey of healing. This book is beautifully written, much like her original “Victim Impact Statement.” Necessary reading for anyone and everyone.

The Sandman Book One By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781779515179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - April 12th, 2022

This glorious graphic novel collects the first ten volumes of Neil Gaiman’s iconic series, including the award winning A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I refuse to watch the Netflix show because I do not possibly believe this series could be better in any form. A reimagining of the various myths associated with The Sandman, a deity who controls our dreams with magic sand, Gaiman’s comics are dark, beautiful, and incredibly profound. A wonderful gift for anyone over the age of 18 who is looking to get into the luscious world of graphic novels.

Elegy: Poems By Mary Jo Bang Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555975401
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Graywolf Press - September 29th, 2009

In this poetry collection, Mary Jo Bang reimagines the poetic form “the elegy” as a series of poems pondering the death of her son. This slim volume speaks in resonant tones to anyone who has lost a beloved. Deeply raw and a prosodic tour-de-force, anyone interested in poetry and its immense power must read this book.

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