Street car on a busy Chinese city

We Recommend — Getting Away from It All

From Tokyo to the Scottish countryside and locales in between, experience a slice of life beyond your neighborhood in these novels with a strong sense of place.

Bookshop on the Corner

Until yesterday, Nina Redmond was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile–a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

Convenience Store Woman

Keiko has never fit in, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store she understands the rules of social interaction—many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual. But the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action

Half of a Yellow Sun

Readers experience the struggle to establish the independent republic of Biafra in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s alongside five unforgettable characters. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.

Lights All Night Long

Fifteen-year-old Ilya arrives in Louisiana from his native Russia for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. But all is not right in Ilya’s world: he’s consumed by the fate of his older brother Vladimir, the magnetic rebel to Ilya’s dutiful wunderkind, who has disappeared into their hometown’s seedy, drug-plagued underworld.

The Man Who Came Uptown

Ex-offender Michael Hudson encounters a Washington, D.C. that has changed a lot during his time locked up. Once shady storefronts are now trendy beer gardens and flower shops. But what hasn’t changed is the hard choice between the temptation of crime and doing what’s right. Trying to balance his new job, his love of reading, and the debt he owes to the man who got him released, Michael struggles to figure out his place in this new world before he loses control.

Shadow Land

Alexandra has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her brother. Soon after arriving, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi, and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. As Alexandra sets out to locate the family, she will have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression, and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with danger.

Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate; the first automobile any of them have seen; and a stranger arrives.

Virgil Wander

Virgil Wander is “cruising along at medium altitude” when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals.