Check out my top picks for new novels releasing this month!
The third fairy tale on this list, UNDER THE UDALA TREES is inspired by Nigerian folklore. Set during Nigeria's civil war, a young girl is sent away to shield her from the violence of war, but finds herself embroiled in a different sort of turmoil when she falls in love with another young girl. Exploring themes of identity and prejudice, this book looks like it will be a powerful story about forbidden love.
I've been reading a lot of what you could call "disaster fiction" lately, and this book fits right into that category. Set in a future California that has been devastated by drought, the story follows a young couple who has learned to survive in the barren landscape and their journey to try and find a better life in the east. As a Californian myself, the premise hits upon some local fears and looks like it will be an interesting read.
Billed as "a fable without a moral," DeWitt's latest novel looks like it will be a delightful blend of the absurd, the fantastical, and the darkly comic. It's about a young man named Lucy Minor who becomes an undermajordomo in a remote castle, and subsequently embarks on a journey of mystery, secrets, romance, and heartbreak. This one certainly looks intriguing.
Any new book by Atwood is something to pay attention to, and this is her first standalone novel since 2000. The most recent installment in her Positron series, the book follows a married couple who, after struggling to survive amid terrible economic and social turmoil, enroll in a program that requires them to alternate between a suburban utopia and being prisoners.
Rushdie's latest novel combines elements of folklore, magic, and modernity. New York City is struck by a strange storm, and afterwards, all of its citizens become caught up in a war between good and evil. It also follows the descendants of an djinn and a philosopher as they too are embroiled in the epic battle. I love a healthy dose of folklore in my fiction, and Rushdie's newest book seems like it will deliver.
Books published in August 2015 that will appeal to a lover of classics and literary fiction
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JOY by Abigail Santamaria is the biography of the wife of C.S. Lewis, and includes great insight into their relationship and the THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE author himself. However, the book beautifully encapsulates the story of the poet and activist herself, telling of a valuable life that has been partially lost to time.
VILLA AMERICA is a novel, but the cast includes some of the great members of the Lost Generation, including Ernest Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. The novel walks a fine line between fact and fiction, but it is an absorbing look at some of the authors behind the novels we know so well.
Wind/Pinball are two novels by the beloved author Haruki Murakami published earlier this month. Like Didion, I have no doubt that Murakami is going to be on our list of classic authors in the next century.
BROWSINGS is a collection of essays and musings on literary criticism from the renowned critic Michael Dirda. However, it's not simply some lofty literary criticism; the book ranges across a vast range of topics that all writers and classics readers will find fascinating, from anecdotes of writers' lives to the experience of writer's block.
This biography tracks the wild life of Joan Didion, the author of THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, SLOUCHING TOWARDS BETHLEHEM, and numerous others. Besides having led a fascinating life, Didion is well on her way towards joining the English literary canon.
Check out these essential December 2017 releases.
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"One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning" (The Hater Series #4) by David Moody. Skek is a barren island in the North Sea where a fourteen people are participating in corporate team building events. When one person dies, it's a tragic accident. When more follow, the paranoia and fear rise as no one knows who they can trust anymore. And then reports of the Hater outbreak on the mainland reaches the island.
"He'll Come Knocking At Your Door" by Robert McCammon. This novella was originally published in a 1985 anthology called "Halloween Horrors" and is now available in a lovely and spooky special edition from Cemetery Dance Publications with almost 60 pieces of atmospheric artwork by Erin S. Wells. Dan Burgess was down on his luck until he arrived in Essex, Alabama where he now knows good fortune. But payment is due.
"Tales from Greystone Bay" by Robert McCammon. Horror master McCammon presents three novellas -- "The Red House," "Doom City," and "Beauty," -- about the town of Greystone Bay where strange things happen, a lot. In the lead story, a house is painted an odd shade of red which reflects the secrets lives of the family residing within. If you enjoyed Stephen King's Castle Rock stories, you'll love these.
"The Complete Aliens Omnibus: Volume Five" containing stories by Michael Jan Friedman & Diane Carey. This paperback book reprints "Original Sin" by Michael Jan Friedman -- a story that continues with the clone Ripley and android Call after the events of "Aliens: Resurrection" -- and "DNA War" by Diane Carey -- a story of an idyllic planet Rosamond 6, infested with aliens who seems uninterested in attacking humans.
"Parasite Life" by Victoria Dalpe. Sabrina is the new girl in school and she immediately befriends Jane -- seeing something in Jane that Jane doesn't see in herself. Together , they explore Jane's mother dark past and try to find out who her father is. Their search unearths a monstrous heritage and will force Jane to make a choice in this teen horror novel.
Great picture books to squeeze in before the end of summer!
Here are just a couple of this month's releases that I'm looking forward to!
This new collection of essays, short stories, and other writings by Shirley Jackson, one of America's best-loved fiction writers, releases this month and is a clear choice for a most anticipated title. Fans of Jackson's will enjoy getting to read some never-before-released material. The book includes some eerie and haunting short stories, as well as some essays and lectures about writing and family.
As a lover of folklore and mythology, Adrienne Celt's debut novel THE DAUGHTERS looks very intriguing. After the famous soprano Lulu gives birth to her daughter, she finds herself unable to utter a single note, fearful of a supposed family curse that travels from mother to daughter. Inspired by the story of Rusalka of Polish folklore, the novel is about the relationship between mothers and daughters, and the mysterious legacies that pass between them.
MAKE YOUR HOME AMONG STRANGERS is the debut novel from Jennine Capo Crucet and tells the story of Lizet, a daughter of Cuban immigrants struggling to find her space in America. After being accepted to a prestigious university, Lizet struggles with leaving home, entering the privileged world of Rawlings College, and the repercussions of her parents's divorce. On a visit home for Thanksgiving, everything about her and her family's lives is disrupted when they take in a young boy whose mother died while fleeing Cuba. As the nation debates the ethics of immigration and her town and her family is thrown into the spotlight, Lizet is pulled between cultural, generational, and political differences.
Much more than just the story of the woman who would give birth to famous Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, THE MARRIAGE OF OPPOSITES is a story about forbidden love, the different relationships between women, and a woman's journey toward seizing her own destiny. Following her other acclaimed novels, Alice Hoffman's latest looks like it will be a stunner.
Ann Beattie's newest collection of short stories, THE STATE WE'RE IN: MAINE STORIES gathers stories linked by shared female characters and their locality; the state of Maine. Ranging from topics that are at once everyday and poignant, Beattie's newest story collection explores both the women who live in its pages, but also a shared reflection of the space they live in. This one looks very intriguing.
A few books releasing this July that I am most excited about!
Companion to the beloved novel TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Harper Lee's GO SET A WATCHMAN has been one of the most talked about books of this year and is a shoe-in for this list. Told from the perspective of an adult Scout, this book offers a new look into Lee's classic.
In the village of Kulumani, Mozambique, women are being hunted by lionesses. Told from the alternating perspectives of Mariamar, a woman whose sister was killed by a lioness, and Archangel Bullseye, a man who has been hired to hunt the predators, it slowly becomes clear that the lionesses may have been summoned by the women themselves. I'm intrigued by CONFESSION OF THE LIONESS, and can't wait to read it for myself.
Jack and Deb are living an ideal life -- he's a well-known New York artist and she's a dancer who retired to raise their two beloved children. But one day a package arrives at their doorstep that reveals Jack's secret life. It's addressed to Deb, but their two children open it first. AMONG THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS explores the fragile relationship between these family members and the obstacles they must face together.
When Jim's wife Grace becomes pregnant with their much-longed for child, he leaves behind his career as a test pilot and the chance to become an astronaut to help raise their child. Jim and Grace are happy facing the challenges of parenthood, until one day their family faces an unexpected tragedy. Spanning across one of the most turbulent times in American history, THE LAST PILOT explores a story of loss and courage.
In a small village, and with the help of a woman known only as the "examiner," a man is re-learning how to live. A puzzling, mysterious, and haunting story, A CURE FOR SUICIDE explores a dystopian reality and looks like it will be a fascinating new read.