Get Out Your Reading Lists — Here Are 9 New Must-Read Books
Wow. Deborah Henry’s first novel is a powerhouse that will set you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Set in 1960s Ireland, it’s a love story between a Catholic woman and her Jewish husband. It’s also an indictment of the hypocrisy and cruelty of the Church, a story about secrets and shame, and ultimately a glorious ode to the human spirit. This is a highly original tale told in razor sharp prose. Mark my words – this book is going to be turned into a movie that will have all the A-listers fighting over it.
A stunning debut, this magical story is so achingly beautiful, I tried to read it as slowly as possible to savor every breathtaking description. Set in 1920 Alaska, the book revolves around Mabel and Jack, determined to make a life for themselves as homesteaders in this cold, harsh wilderness. Still silently grieving over their childlessness, the couple builds a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone but they see a little blonde-haired girl running through the woods. Is she real? Can she be the daughter they’ve dreamed of? No matter how hard you try not to get to the end of the book, once you do, you will feel your own heart melting. This is a book to treasure and re-read every winter.
If you’ve read Still Alice, you know that what Lisa Genova writes stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. In her latest novel, high-powered executive and mother of three Sarah is an expert multi-tasker who can’t afford to waste one second of her day –until she has a car accident which leaves her with a traumatic brain injury and the inability to see half of her world. This is a fascinating story which hits home the point that it’s time for all of us to slow down and take a good look at what’s most important to us. Step one: put down the cell phone, let someone else do the dishes and take a few quiet hours to accompany Sarah on her life-changing journey.
I’m grouping both of these books together even though, subject-wise, they are worlds apart. In Best Kept Secret, recently-divorced mom Cadence has a daily glass of wine or two just to take the edge off. When those glasses turn into bottles and her secret drinking starts to effect her ability to care for her young son, Cadence must face the fact that she is an alcoholic. Although this is fiction, the story feels so real and the writing is so raw, I kept wanting to reach out to Amy on Facebook to let her know I was rooting for her. This is the kind of book you’ll feel compelled to share with all the women in your life. Amy’s characters are so complex and easy to relate to – it’s what makes all her books so special. Her latest novel, Outside the Lines, is about a young woman determined to find her mentally ill father who left her twenty years ago when she was ten years old. Thought-provoking – Does great art require a touch of madness? Is it okay for someone to choose to be homeless? How does a true artist do justice to both his art and his family? – this is a great book club selection.
As much as I had trouble believing Best Kept Secret was a novel, I had to keep checking the cover of The Orchard to make sure it was really a memoir. This is a fascinating –often shocking – story about the personal impact pesticides have on one family. After marrying into a family of apple farmers, city girl Theresa moves to rural Illinois, where crop dusters provide the soundtrack to her new life. This is love story, a cautionary tale and a modern day Silent Spring which will have you happily spending the extra money for organic fruits and vegetables.
You have never read a book like Q before. Here’s the premise: the unnamed narrator gets a visit from his future self who warns him not to marry Q, the love of his life. When he finally listens, his future selves start to make frequent visits, all from various times and all full of new advice depending on what he does differently. Not only is the story so creative but every sentence is so clever, you may find yourself smiling foolishly in appreciation.
Combine the religious symbolism of The Da Vinci Code with the historical fiction of The Other Boleyn Girl, and you have this juicy new novel which takes place during the English Reformation. Filled with scandal, royalty, mystery and murder, this fast-paced story will keep you reading long into the night.
As you know, I like a really good thriller. This one, about the wife of an abusive Congressman who takes her children and flees, is a really good thriller. Here are the two highest recommendations I can give it: 1) I couldn’t read it before I went to sleep because it was too scary, and 2) I knew who the murderer was until a few pages later when I knew it was someone else until a few pages later when I was convinced I was right the first time. The book kept me frantically turning pages all the way to its satisfying ending.
Want even more suggestions? Click here for some more of my recent favorites.