Looking for you next great read? See what the Newfields librarians are reading and loving this month…

Book cover of Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

I found this book more fun than I had anticipated. Our young hero of the book, Cassie, is confident and in control.  Reminded me a bit of the dystopian fantasy “Divergent” by Veronica Roth.  A young woman testing her inner resolve and steel to get what she wants.

We meet Cassie Hanwell at the point where life throws more challenges at her than she ever expected.  When, in front of 300 people, she clocks the Austin council leader in the head with a much coveted Firefighter Award plaque she has just won for saving a school bus full of children, she sticks to her guns and doesn’t apologize for her actions, I knew I had to finish the book to see how it all turned out. 

We meet her mother who is filled with wisdom and sage advice.  And we meet her bosses and co-workers all who eventually love her just the way she is. And when things were going really badly for her, I had to stop what I was doing to finish the book to see how it all ends. 

This book is available as a digital audiobook through the Libby app with your library card. 

-Cori C.

Shark Heart, by Emily Habeck

A sweeping love story that is at once lyrical and funny, airy and visceral, Shark Heart is an unforgettable, gorgeous novel about life’s perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief, and creating a meaningful life. This daring debut marks the arrival of a wildly talented new writer abounding with originality, humor, and heart.

What can I say about this book when there is SO MUCH. A love story. Lyrical writing. A husband who is gradually turning into a great white shark. What more can a girl ask for from a story?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. A husband turns into a great white shark. Is this a joke? No, dear reader. No. While the premise is fantastical, this literary read is so genuine, heartfelt, and beautiful. We follow the story of a couple as they meet, fall in love, and get married. All seems to be marital bliss until Lewis gets a startling and tragic diagnosis from his doctor—carcharodon carcharias. While he will retain most of his memories and consciousness, Lewis’s physical body will gradually transform into a great white shark and he will have to be released to the ocean to live out the remainder of his days.

We follow Lewis and Wren as they grapple with what this diagnosis means for them both. How a diagnosis like this can upturn all your plans and dreams in a second. And what it means for your literal humanity when your body betrays you.

The diagnosis also brings up old memories and grief for Wren. Woven throughout the novel we revisit Wren’s childhood and adolescence, raised by a single teen mother, Angela. Wren suddenly must grapple with the grief of the past that’s she’s tried to bury for so long and the grief of the present as she faces an impossible situation.

This is by far the best book I’ve read this year.

While the premise is fantastical, the story itself is grounded in humanity. And if literary novels scare you–this one shouldn’t. The beautiful, lyrical writing is stunning but accessible. And with many short pages, you’ll find yourself zipping through the book.

10/10 recommend.

This book is on order and will soon be available to check out from the library collection.

-Brittney T.

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a historical fantasy epic that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British Empire

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

This book was both heartbreaking and enlightening. The mix of history and fictional elements create a beautiful masterpiece that shines light on racism and colonialism. Immediately upon starting it, you can see that Kuang has done extensive research in preparation for this book. 

It’s strong suits were the creative worldbuilding, masterful character development, and unique discord on language. 

Babel touches on some heavy subjects—it made me cry, yell, smile, cringe and occasionally laugh! Anything that can evoke that emotion is a must recommend for me, but especially for those who are fans of Historical Fantasy. 

I tag-teamed this book with both reading and listening to the audiobook, and can say that both were incredibly enjoyable! 

This book is available in our library collection, as well as the Libby App. 

-Marie S.