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Lariat Reading List
Welcome to the Lariat Reading List! At last, the grown ups have their day! TLA has rightfully earned a stellar reputation for its many outstanding youth reading lists. The annual list of Lariat award winners calls attention to outstanding fiction published during the year that merit special attention from adult readers. The main criteria for selecting books for the Lariat List is that they are “a pleasure to read.”
The 2016 Lariat Reading List
The Best in Adult Fiction (2015 publication dates)
Armada~Cline, Ernest (Penguin Random House)
Zack cannot wait to finish high school and work at the local video gaming store, but unfortunately his plans are ruined when he has to go fight the aliens who plan to blow up the world. His family and his favorite game, Armada, might be the key to the Earth's defense.
Black-Eyed Susans~Heaberlin, Julia (Penguin Random House)
This thriller is alternately told by present day Tessa and her 16 year old self, Tessie, the only survivor of the "Black-Eyed Susan" killer in Fort Worth, Texas. Her original testimony sent a man to death row, but the real culprit might still be out there. Tessa teams up with experts who work to free wrongfully convicted death row inmates. The suspense builds as Tessa discovers devastating secrets from her past.
The Book of Speculation~Swyler, Erika (Macmillan)
Simon Watson receives a package from a distant bookseller that seems to hold his family’s history, especially that of his mother. It turns out that there's a spell on the women in his family that threatens to take away Enola, his sister and only family left. Can he save his sister and stop history from recurring?
The Bookseller~Swanson, Cynthia (HarperCollins)
Kitty Miller lives her carefree life as a single woman running a bookshop with her best friend Frieda until the dreams begin. In her dreams, she is Katharyn Andersson, a loving wife and mother. The lines between what is real and what is imagined begin to haunt her.
The Buried Giant~Ishiguro, Kazuo (Penguin Random House)
Battling a magical forgetfulness, aging Britons Axl and Beatrice are determined to travel to see their son. Though filled with all the trappings of fantasy, this exquisite tale of distantly remembered battles, past wrongs and relentless change offers intricate layers of story, metaphor, reality and dream.
City on Fire~Hallberg, Garth Risk (Penguin Random House)
Meet the Hamilton-Sweeney heirs, Regan and William, and many other characters of this 1970's epic in the small town that is New York City. Their stories, including a shooting in Central Park and the 1977 blackout, intertwine the characters as they long for love and connection.
Fates and Furies~Groff, Lauren (Penguin Random House)
Told from the point of view of the husband and of the wife, this novel examines not only both sides of their marriage, but also how each person's perception affects their lives.
The Fishermen~Obioma, Chigozie (Hachette Book Group)
A small town Nigerian family struggle with the outcomes of a prophecy made by a madman that threatens to tear them apart. A fascinating coming-of-age story of four brothers in the 1990's, the story spirals into tragic consequences and the near unraveling of a family.
The Girl on the Train~Hawkins, Paula (Penguin Random House)
Alcoholic, unemployed Rachel rides the daily commuter train past her old home where her ex-husband still lives with his new wife. She makes up an imagined life about another couple a few doors down, but then sees something unexpected. The next day the woman vanishes. As Rachel gets involved in the investigation, the suspense builds. Things are not what they seem, with many twists and turns in this page turner of a thriller.
Girl Underwater~Kells, Claire (Penguin Random House)
A major plane crash leaves Avery and four others stranded in the harsh wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in late November. After their rescue, she is emotionally torn between coping with what happened in the mountains and fitting back into normal life. Already in a relationship, she must also face her feelings for another man: fellow survivor and teammate, Colin Shea.
The Gods of Tango~De Robertis, Carolina (Penguin Random House)
An Italian woman is married by proxy when her fiancé sends for her to join him in Argentina. At the port, her husband’s friend informs her that she is a widow. Deciding not to go back home, she masters the violin and tries on her husband's clothes, finding that they and a man’s lifestyle suit her.
The Good Neighbor~ Banner, A.J. (Amazon Publishing)
Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, and good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. All too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. One October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.
The Marauders~Cooper, Tom (Penguin Random House)
What do drug dealers, shrimpers, a BP oil representative and petty criminals on community service have in common? Told from each of their perspectives, their lives converge in the swampland of Jeannette, Louisiana, five years after Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil spill.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry~Backman, Fredrik (Simon & Schuster)
Seven year old Elsa, precocious, different, and bullied, is buoyed by her relationship with Granny, her superhero, and by Granny’s stories of a fairytale kingdom where being different is good. When Granny dies, Elsa carries out "quests" for Granny - delivering letters of apology to people Granny wronged. In the process, Elsa learns much about life, her family and friends, and Granny’s "stories."
My Sunshine Away~Walsh, M.O. (Penguin Random House)
The adult narrator recalls being a suspect in the rape of his neighborhood friend and crush Lindy Simpson when they were teens in 1989 Baton Rouge. In beautiful prose and with a strong sense of place and time, the story unfolds by alternating between past and current timeframes. Did the narrator commit this terrible act?
The Nightingale~Hannah, Kristin (Macmillan)
Vianne and Isabelle live in German occupied France during World War II. Through them, we experience their different ways of living the war’s horrors and hardships. We witness the courage and strength of everyday people to do the impossible and what is necessary to fight for survival, ideals, country, and loved ones.
Paradise Sky~Lansdale Joe R. (Hachette Book Group)
A former slave named Willie flees home to the Old West, followed by his enemies and father’s killers. See him become Nat Love, aka Deadwood Dick, a masterful gunslinger who comes back to avenge himself for all that he has lost.
The Scribe~Guinn, Matthew (W.W. Norton & Company)
Thomas Canby is brought back to Atlanta to vindicate his name and help solve a gruesome murder spree that threatens to ruin the 1881 International Cotton Exposition. The “Ring” that pushed him out of town may somehow be involved. Alongside him is Cyrus Underwood, Atlanta's first African American detective. The murders seem to be racially motivated, but there is more than meets the eye when the killings take a turn in another direction.
Seveneves~Stephenson, Neal (HarperCollins)
The moon has suddenly exploded, leaving the inhabitants of Earth to face their imminent demise. Is there a way to ensure the survival of humanity? Is genetics the key to the solution?
Sofrito~Diederich, Phillippe (Cinco Puntos Press)
Frank Delgado's restaurant is in financial trouble. He hears of a fabulous secret chicken recipe, stolen from his uncle by the government of Cuba, his parent's homeland. Frank travels to Cuba with the dangerous task of trying to steal back the recipe. Amidst espionage, intrigue, love, and discoveries of family secrets, Frank falls in love with the Cuba of his parents' youth.
The Stranger~Coben, Harlan (Penguin Random House)
"Don't talk to strangers." A stranger approaches Adam and divulges a dark secret about his wife, Corinne. After he confronts her, she disappears. Working with Chief Johanna Griffin to unfold the stranger's mysterious words, Adam learns that the most familiar may be more dangerous.
Sweet Damage~James, Rebecca (Penguin Random House)
Tim Ellison feels lucky to find a cheap room to rent in a mansion close to his work in Sydney. The only condition is to look after the mysterious owner, twenty year old Anna. He slowly learns about her past and her crippling fears. Tim feels uneasy as odd, mysterious things begin to happen, but he is also strangely attracted to Anna. What's really going on?
The Truth According to Us~Barrows, Annie (Penguin Random House)
During the Depression, pampered Senator's daughter, Layla Beck, is cut off from allowances and is sent to work as a writer for the WPA's Writer's Project in little old Macedonia, West Virginia. Soon she comes to like the small town and her work. She discovers dark secrets that some want to stay hidden, and she finds that people have different versions of the truth and of the town's history.
Uprooted~Novik, Naomi (Penguin Random House)
The Dragon, the wizard who protects the valley from the Wood’s evil encroachment, demands the most special village girl as payment every 10 years. Neither graceful nor beautiful, Agnieszka is shocked and terrified when the Dragon chooses her, but finds she has an aptitude for learning magic. Her adventures include a deadly quest, true friendship, and court intrigue.
The Water Knife~Bacigalupi, Paolo (Penguin Random House)
After environmental catastrophes, Nevada and California wage a war for water rights. The American Southwest becomes a gritty world of big money, ruthless business and seedy undertakings. Angel, a “Water Knife” who gets water for his employer any way he can, and a journalist search for the elusive paperwork that is behind a slew of murders, while a teenage orphan refugee struggles to find a way out of Phoenix.
Created on Apr 12, 2010 | Last updated December 17, 2016