Looking for something new? Consider one of our recent staff favorites!
I read a wonderful, just-published memoir from Tin House—a debut work, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland. While working in literary archives as a graduate student, Shapland discovers letters between McCullers and a number of women that she recognizes immediately as love letters. Shapland sees herself reflected, for the first time, in McCullers' prose, and within a week, cuts her hair, comes out, and begins a deep dive into McCullers' life and legacy. Shapland uses McCullers as a scrim in front of her own life, leading to authentic and revealing self-inquiry. Doesn't sound like a page turner, but the writing is luminous and overall it is one of the most inventive and satisfying memoirs I've read in a long time. —Nancy F.
You'll relish this story as much as the wonderful use of lavish prose laced with a bit of humor. Casey is a down-on-her-luck, wannabe novelist who is out of sorts after losing her mother to an untimely and sudden death, and losing her heart to a short-lived romantic relationship. She writes her book by day, and works as a waitress at a nice Boston restaurant by night. In between, she tries to make sense of her past and present, while feeling somewhat hopeless about the future, personally and professionally. It may sound like a set-up for a depressing story, yet it's anything but in the hands of King. You'll appreciate every chapter about this young creative making her way in her small world and finding love along the way. —Paula
For certain great cities, there comes a point when they transition from being a collection of structures and streets into a living entity, embodied in a person who becomes their soul. Now, it’s New York City’s turn, but just like the city is divided into five boroughs, so too is her soul divided and born into six avatars (one per borough, plus one for the city as a whole.) In The City We Became, N. K. Jemisin doesn’t just bring New York City to life in the bodies of these six avatars, but on every page of her absolutely stunning work of urban fantasy. Vivid, compelling, and inventive, The City We Became simultaneously tells a page-turning fantasy story while also highlighting what it is that makes New York City so unique, represented in six people that are both larger-than-life and incredibly human. —Kayla
While Days of Distraction—a novel about a young tech journalist in San Francisco dealing with transitions in her job and personal relationship—will have its strongest appeal with millennials, there is an undeniable wit and bite to Chang’s style that any reader can appreciate. It’s as quirky and self-aware as it is self-assured. Her observations of racial micro-aggressions are refreshingly thoughtful, thought provoking, and not often seen in literary fiction. —Paula
Much to my surprise, I LOVED Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I am a mystery fan and do not venture into sci-fi/fantasy very often but found the world created in Ninth House to be an intriguing expansion of our reality. Loved the plot and the characters and cannot wait for the sequel. —Irene
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From the duo that brought us The Wife Between Us and Anonymous, this their third installment is just as thrilling and trippy with an assortment of interesting female characters. The protagonist, Shay, is looking for love, friendships, and a meaningful job in New York. After witnessing a tragic incident in the subway station one day, she thinks she's come along a new set of friends connected to the subway victim. Through a suspenseful and winding series of events, the reader is led to suspect these new glamorous gal pals are anything but good friend material. The payoff though is a page-turning thriller with multiple twists. —Paula
I just finished All Adults Here and found it to be wonderful! It's such an amazing story of parenting, family relationships, challenging life situations, and difficult decisions. The characters were so fleshed out and it is such a rich story line. There are lots of chuckles and also tears! I loved it! —Polly
One of the most unique memoirs you'll ever read as Machado delivers raw and harsh memoir essays about her relationships gone mostly bad. They all left indelible mark on her emotions and mental state. —Paula
Wow, I thought we took our kids on wild and crazy trips, but the Dial family makes us look like couch potatoes. This tale is equal parts heartwarming and heart-wrenching as we follow the ups and downs of every parent's worst nightmare. 27-year-old Cody Roman has not returned from a "routine" romp around Costa Rica's Corcovado Rainforest. We ride a rollercoaster of emotions as Roman Sr. deals with mountains of official roadblocks and vicious rumors that make him doubt his son's memory. In the end, incredible support, perseverance and hope prevail as the tragic truth emerges. —Sandy
On the surface, Ann Napolitano’s third novel, Dear Edward, about a 12-year-old boy’s life after losing his entire family in a plane crash of which he was the sole survivor, could seem to be intense and depressing. Surprisingly and wonderfully, it is anything but. The story is not about disaster and death, but rather about lives prior to death, and restoring hope and rebuilding a life in the face of insurmountable loss. —Paula
I’m reading How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life by Craig & Devon Chase. I couldn’t have picked a better book to self-isolate with! —Nancy