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222: All about the Backlist - Our Recs for Books Published Prior to 2000


In this episode, we're talking all things backlist books! We share our recommendations for some favorites that were published before the year 2000. We share Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, Louise Erdrich’s Tracks, and Lois Lowry’s The Giver. These recommendations are also perfect for those doing the 2022 Unabridged Reading Challenge!






Bookish Check-in

Ashley - V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)

Jen - Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)

Sara - Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


Our Recommendations

Ashley - Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)

Jen - Louise Edrich’s Tracks (Bookshop.org)

Sara - Lois Lowry’s The Giver (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


Other Mentions

Beth Macy’s Dopesick (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)

Our Unabridged episode where we discuss Dopesick


Give Me One - A Family Birthday Tradition

Listen in to hear some of our birthday traditions, and let us know what your birthday traditions are over on @unabridgedpod on Monday!


#shownotes #readingchallenge

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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Bookish Check-in

Book cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


From the publisher:

"France, 1714: In a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever - and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.


"Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.


"But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name."


Book cover of Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe's Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


From the publisher:

"The history of the Sackler dynasty is rife with drama - baroque personal lives; bitter disputes over estates; fistfights in boardrooms; glittering art collections; Machiavellian courtroom maneuvers; and the calculated use of money to burnish reputations and crush the less powerful. The Sackler name has adorned the walls of many storied institutions - Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis.


"Empire of Pain begins with the story of three doctor brothers, Raymond, Mortimer, and the incalculably energetic Arthur, who weathered the poverty of the Great Depression and appalling anti-Semitism. Working at a barbaric mental institution, Arthur saw a better way and conducted groundbreaking research into drug treatments. He also had a genius for marketing, especially for pharmaceuticals, and bought a small ad firm.


"Arthur devised the marketing for Valium, and built the first great Sackler fortune. He purchased a drug manufacturer, Purdue Frederick, which would be run by Raymond and Mortimer. The brothers began collecting art, and wives, and grand residences in exotic locales. Their children and grandchildren grew up in luxury.


"Forty years later, Raymond’s son Richard ran the family-owned Purdue. The template Arthur Sackler created to sell Valium - co-opting doctors, influencing the FDA, downplaying the drug’s addictiveness - was employed to launch a far more potent product: OxyContin. The drug went on to generate some 35 billion dollars in revenue, and to launch a public health crisis in which hundreds of thousands would die.


"This is the saga of three generations of a single family and the mark they would leave on the world, a tale that moves from the bustling streets of early 20th-century Brooklyn to the seaside palaces of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Cap d’Antibes to the corridors of power in Washington, DC. Empire of Pain chronicles the multiple investigations of the Sacklers and their company, and the scorched-earth legal tactics that the family has used to evade accountability.


"Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling. It is a portrait of the excesses of America’s second Gilded Age, a study of impunity among the super elite and a relentless investigation of the naked greed and indifference to human suffering that built one of the world’s great fortunes."


Book cover of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Holly Jackson's A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


From the publisher:

"Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.


"But she can't shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?


"Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent...and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn't want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

And don't miss the sequel, Good Girl, Bad Blood! "


Our Recommendations

Book cover of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahini

Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


From the publisher:

"With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.


"A blackout forces a young Indian American couple to make confessions that unravel their tattered domestic peace. An Indian-American girl recognizes her cultural identity during a Halloween celebration while the Pakastani civil war rages on television in the background. A latchkey kid with a single working mother finds affinity with a woman from Calcutta. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.


"Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world."


Book cover of Tracks by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich's Tracks (Bookshop.org)


From the publisher:

"From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich comes an arresting, lyrical novel set in North Dakota at a time when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands.


"Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance—yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. The reader will experience shock and pleasure in encountering characters that are compelling and rich in their vigor, clarity, and indomitable vitality."


Book Cover of The Giver by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry's The Giver (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)


From the publisher:

"The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son."





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