One Sunday when she is ten years old, Velva Jean Hart is saved . But being saved is not anything like she expected; soon her loving mother dies and her father leaves her for one of his "adventures." But before she dies, Velva Jean's mother urges her to "live out there in the great wide world," and Velva Jean intends to do just that. She dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean must choose between keeping her hard-won home and pursuing her dream of singing in the Grand Ole Opry.
Renee is short, ugly and plump. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. She is everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood.. But Renee has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music and Japanese culture. With humor she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants- her inferiors in every way except material wealth. Then there's Paloma, a super-smart twelve-year-old who lives on the fifth floor. Talented, precocious, and startlingly lucid, she has decided to end her own life on the day of her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity. Paloma and Renee discover their kindred souls when a new tenant arrives, a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu. He befriends Paloma and is able to see through Renee's timeworn disguise to the mysterious event that has haunted her since childhood.
As dusk approaches in a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home from play. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent wood. When the police arrive, they find only one child, gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same wood, he and Detective Cassie Maddox- his partner and closest friend- find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before and that of his own shadowy past.
Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible: invisible to her father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as one more of Harlem's casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and highly radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment as Precious learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it her own for the first time.
This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy names Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.