Teresa Serrano Serrano itibaren Uruoca, State of Ceará, Brezilya
Enthralling and beautifully written (non-fictional) story of the wealthy Jewish Ephrussi family, using their collection of Japanese ornamental toys (netsuke), handed down through the generations, as a centrepiece. (It starts in late 19th Century Paris and runs through both World Wars.) That might sound dull, but it's not. It's not for everyone, but if you have any interest in art, history or art history - or just enjoy *really* beautiful prose (the best I've read since the early Dave Eggers books) - I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Easily five stars for the best thing I've read in quite a long time.
Ohhh, fanfic... My dirty little secret.
This book was the first book I read in a long time that seemed to let the characters really push the story. Too often, even in good literature, the characters seem inexplicably pushed on by the story; The plot seems more real, more palpable, than the people. This plot, however, clearly rests on the shoulders and conscience's of the characters. Anyone interested in character development (or stories that take place, much of the time, in Philly) should consider this book an indispensible read.