Not So Easy to Choose
If only we had unlimited time to curl up with a great book… there are so many new choices this month to add to your reading list! For the ladies: from new books by Dani Shapiro, Celeste Ng and Barbara Kingsolver to Colleen Hoover’s sequel to It Ends With Us. And for the men: new books by John Grisham, Nelson Demille, Scott Turow, and newly released nonfiction about Abraham Lincoln and Samuel Adams. It is going to be a busy season of reading – let me know what you are enjoying!
Books for Women
A gripping, heartbreaking new novel about female friendship, art, and memory by the award-winning author of Where Reasons End.
Fabienne is dead. Her childhood best friend, Agnès, receives the news in America, far from the French countryside where the two girls were raised–the place that Fabienne helped Agnès escape ten years ago. Now, Agnès is free to tell her story.
As children in a war-ravaged, backwater town, they’d built a private world, invisible to everyone but themselves–until Fabienne hatched the plan that would change everything, launching Agnès on an epic trajectory through fame, fortune, and terrible loss.
A magnificent, beguiling tale winding from the postwar rural provinces to Paris, from an English boarding school to to the quiet Pennsylvania home where Agnès can live without her past, The Book of Goose is a haunting story of friendship, art, exploitation, and memory by the celebrated author Yiyun Li.
From the best-selling author of Inheritance, a gripping new novel about two families bound together across generations by an unspeakable tragedy.
Change one thing and everything changes.
One summer night in 1985, the lives of three teenagers are shattered by a horrific car crash, resulting in the death of a young woman near a sprawling oak tree that marks the perimeter of 18 Division Street. For the Wilf family, it will become the deepest kind of family secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.
By the time the Shenkmans move in across the street—a young couple expecting a baby boy—the accident has become a distant memory. But when Waldo Shenkman, a brilliant but lonely child, befriends Ben Wilf, a retired doctor who is struggling with his wife’s decline, the Wilfs’ and the Shenkmans’ lives and fates become deeply entwined, and the past comes hurtling back to Division Street, setting in motion a chain of spellbinding events that will transform both families forever.
In the tradition of Ann Patchett and Sue Miller, Signal Fires is riveting, emotional, impossible to put down, a literary and commercial tour de force, and a work of haunting beauty and complexity by a masterful storyteller at the height of her powers.
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
Get ready for a thrilling, addictive novel about marriage, betrayal, and the secrets that push us to the edge.
There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.
When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral… Did the victim jump? Was she pushed? And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate . . . lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.
Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North by Rachel Joyce
Ten years ago, Harold Fry set off on his epic journey on foot to save a friend. But the story doesn’t end there. Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make.
Maureen Fry has settled into the quiet life she now shares with her husband Harold after his iconic walk across England. Now, ten years later, an unexpected message from the North disturbs her equilibrium again, and this time it is Maureen’s turn to make her own journey.
But Maureen is not like Harold. She struggles to bond with strangers, and the landscape she crosses has changed radically. She has little sense of what she’ll find at the end of the road. All she knows is that she must get there.
Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North is a deeply felt, lyrical and powerful novel, full of warmth and kindness, about love, loss, and how we come to terms with the past in order to understand ourselves and our lives a little better. Short, exquisite, while it stands in its own right, it is also the moving finale to a trilogy that began with the phenomenal bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and continued with The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.
This is a slender book but it has all the power and weight of a classic.
The Deceptions by Jill Bialosky
An explosive tale of art and myth, desire and betrayal, from New York Times best-selling author Jill Bialosky
Something terrible has happened and I don’t know what to do. An unnamed narrator’s life is unraveling. Her only child has left home, and her twenty-year marriage is strained. Anticipation about her soon-to-be-released book of poetry looms. She seeks answers to the paradoxes of love, desire, and parenthood among the Greek and Roman gods at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As she passes her days teaching at a boy’s prep school, spending her off hours sequestered in the museum’s austere galleries, she is haunted by memories of a yearlong friendship with a colleague, a fellow poet, struggling with his craft. As secret betrayals and deceptions come to light, and rage threatens to overwhelm her, the pantheon assume remarkably vivid lives of their own, forcing her to choose between reality and myth in an effort to free herself of the patriarchal constraints of the past and embrace a new vision for her future.
The Deceptions is a page-turning and seductively told exploration of female sexuality and ambition. It is also a brilliantly conceived investigation of a life caught between the dueling magnetic poles of intimacy in a marriage and the privacy necessary for creative endeavor. Celebrated poet, memoirist, and novelist Jill Bialosky has reached new and daring heights in her boldest work yet.
The Color of Ice by Barbara Linn Probst
A story of love and redemption set among the glaciers and thermal lagoons of Iceland, and framed by the evocative art of glassblowing . . .
Cathryn McAllister, a freelance photographer, travels to Iceland for a photo shoot with an enigmatic artist who wants to capture the country’s iconic blue icebergs in glass. Her plan is to head out, when the job is done, on a carefully curated “best of Iceland” solo vacation. Widowed young, Cathryn has raised two children while achieving professional success. If the price of that efficiency has been the dimming of her fire–well, she hasn’t let herself think about it. Until now.
Bit by bit, Cathryn abandons her itinerary to remain with Mack, the glassblower, who awakens a hunger for all the things she’s told herself she doesn’t need anymore. Passion. Vulnerability. Risk. Cathryn finds herself torn between the life–and self–she’s come to know and the new world Mack offers. Commitments await her back in America. But if she walks away, she’ll lose this chance to feel deeply again. Just when her path seems clear, she’s faced with a shocking discovery–and a devastating choice that shows her what love really is.
A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here and the bestselling author of She’s Not There.
Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life–living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher–was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.
Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.
And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .
Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.
Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.
The Family Game by Catherine Steadman
A rich, eccentric family. A time-honored tradition. Or a lethal game of survival? One woman finds out what it really takes to join the 1% in this riveting psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water, Mr. Nobody, and The Disappearing Act.
Harry is a novelist on the brink of stardom; Edward, her husband-to-be, is seemingly perfect. In love and freshly engaged, their bliss is interrupted by the reemergence of the Holbecks, Edward’s eminent family and the embodiment of American old money. For years, they’ve dominated headlines and pulled society’s strings, and Edward left them all behind to forge his own path. But there are eyes and ears everywhere. It was only a matter of time before they were pulled back in . . .
After all, even though he’s long severed ties with his family, Edward is set to inherit it all. Harriet is drawn to the glamour and sophistication of the Holbecks, who seem to welcome her with open arms, but everything changes when she meets Robert, the inescapably magnetic head of the family. At their first meeting, Robert slips Harry a cassette tape, revealing a shocking confession which sets the inevitable game in motion.
What is it about Harry that made him give her that tape? A thing that has the power to destroy everything? As she ramps up her quest for the truth, she must endure the Holbecks’ savage Christmas traditions all the while knowing that losing this game could be deadly.
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University’s library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.
Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
“Anyone will tell you the born of this world are marked from the get-out, win or lose.”
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.
Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.
It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Before It Ends with Us, it started with Atlas. Colleen Hoover tells fan favorite Atlas’s side of the story and shares what comes next in this long-anticipated sequel to the “glorious and touching” (USA TODAY) #1 New York Times bestseller It Ends with Us.
Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.
But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.
Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with UsNew York Times bestselling author).
Books For Men
The gripping new Jack Reacher thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors Lee Child and Andrew Child. The plan: It’s coming Fall 2022. No Plan B.
In Gerrardsville, Colorado, two witnesses to the same tragedy give two different accounts. One guy sees a woman throw herself in front of a bus in what authorities will call a suicide. The other witness is Jack Reacher. And he sees what actually happened: A man in a gray hoodie and jeans, moving like a shadow, pushed the victim to her death—before swiftly grabbing the dead woman’s purse and strolling away.
Reacher follows the killer on foot, not knowing that he is part of something much bigger and far-reaching . . . a secret conspiracy with many moving parts, with powerful people on the take, all involved in an undertaking that leaves no room for error. If any step is compromised, the threat will have to be quickly and quietly and permanently removed.
Because when the threat is Reacher, there is No Plan B….
The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham
For most of the last hundred years, Biloxi was known for its beaches, resorts, and seafood industry. But it had a darker side. It was also notorious for corruption and vice, everything from gambling, prostitution, bootleg liquor, and drugs to contract killings. The vice was controlled by small cabal of mobsters, many of them rumored to be members of the Dixie Mafia.
Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the sixties and were childhood friends, as well as Little League all-stars. But as teenagers, their lives took them in different directions. Keith’s father became a legendary prosecutor, determined to “clean up the Coast.” Hugh’s father became the “Boss” of Biloxi’s criminal underground. Keith went to law school and followed in his father’s footsteps. Hugh preferred the nightlife and worked in his father’s clubs. The two families were headed for a showdown, one that would happen in a courtroom.
Life itself hangs in the balance in The Boys from Biloxi, a sweeping saga rich with history and with a large cast of unforgettable characters.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille returns with his best thriller yet featuring former homicide detective John Corey who is called out of retirement to investigate a string of searing, grisly murders that take place a little too close to home.
In his dazzling #1 bestseller, Plum Island, Nelson DeMille introduced you to NYPD Homicide Detective John Corey, who we first meet sitting on the back porch of his uncle’s waterfront estate on Long Island, convalescing from wounds incurred in the line of duty. A visit from the local Chief of Police results in the legendary Detective Corey becoming involved in the investigation of the murders of a married couple who were scientists at the top-secret biological research facility on Plum Island.
Fast forward through six bestselling John Corey novels and The Maze opens with Corey on the same porch, but now in forced retirement from his last job as a Federal Agent with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Corey is restless and looking for action, so when his former lover in Plum Island, Detective Beth Penrose, appears with a job offer, Corey has to once again make some decisions about his stalled career—and about reuniting with Beth Penrose.
Inspired by, and based on the actual and still unsolved Gilgo Beach murders, The Maze takes you on a dangerous hunt for an apparent serial killer who has murdered nine—and maybe more—prostitutes and hidden their bodies in the thick undergrowth on a lonely stretch of beach.
As Corey digs deeper into this case, which has made national news, he comes to suspect that the failure of the local police to solve this sensational case may not be a result of their inexperience and incompetence—it may be something else. Something more sinister.
The Maze features John Corey’s politically incorrect humor, matched by his brilliant and unorthodox investigative skills along with the surprising and shocking plot twists that are the trademark of the #1 New York Times bestselling author, Nelson DeMille.
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent and The Last Trial returns with a riveting legal thriller in which a reckless private detective is embroiled in a fraught police scandal.
For as long as Lucia Gomez has been the police chief in the city of Highland Isle, near Kindle County, she has known that any woman in law enforcement must walk a precarious line between authority and camaraderie to gain respect. She has maintained a spotless reputation—until now. Three male police officers have accused her of soliciting sex in exchange for promotions to higher ranks. With few people left who she can trust, Chief Gomez turns to an old friend, Rik Dudek, to act as her attorney in the federal grand jury investigation, insisting to Rik that the accusations against her are part of an ugly smear campaign designed to destroy her career and empower her enemies—both outside the police force and within..
Clarice “Pinky” Granum spent most of her youth experimenting with an impressive array of drugs and failing out of various professions, including the police academy. Pinky knows that in the eyes of most people, she’s nothing but a screwup—but she doesn’t trust most people’s opinions anyway. Moreover, she finally has a respectable-enough job as a licensed P.I. working for Rik on his roster of mostly minor cases, like workman’s comp, DUIs and bar fights. Rik’s shabby office and even shabbier cases are a far cry from the kinds of high-profile criminal matters Pinky became familiar with in the law office of her grandfather, Sandy Stern. But Rik and Pinky feel that Chief Gomez’s case, which has attracted national attention, is their chance to break into the legal big leagues.
Guided by her gut instinct and razor-sharp investigative skills, Pinky dives headfirst into a twisted scandal that will draw her into the deepest recesses of the city’s criminal networks, as well as the human mind. But she will need every scrap of tenacity and courage to unravel the dark secrets those closest to her are determined to keep hidden.
And There Was Light; Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle by Jon Meacham
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and #1 New York Timesbest-selling author Jon Meacham chronicles the life and moral evolution of Abraham Lincoln and explores why and how Lincoln confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery in order to expand the possibilities of America
A president who governed a divided country has much to teach us in a twenty-first-century moment of polarization and political crisis. Abraham Lincoln was president when implacable secessionists gave no quarter in a clash of visions inextricably bound up with money, power, race, identity, and faith. He was hated and hailed, excoriated and revered. In Lincoln we can see the possibilities of the presidency as well as its limitations.
At once familiar and elusive, Lincoln tends to be seen in popular minds as the greatest of American presidents—a remote icon—or as a politician driven more by calculation than by conviction. This illuminating new portrait gives us a very human Lincoln—an imperfect man whose moral antislavery commitment was essential to the story of justice in America. Here is the Lincoln who, as a boy, was steeped in the sermons of emancipation by Baptist preachers; who insisted that slavery was a moral evil; and who sought, as he put it, to do right as God gave him light to see the right.
This book tells the story of Lincoln from his birth on the Kentucky frontier in 1809 to his leadership during the Civil War to his tragic assassination at Ford’s Theater on Good Friday 1865: his rise, his self-education through reading, his loves, his bouts of depression, his political failures, his deepening faith, and his persistent conviction that slavery must end. In a nation shaped by the courage of the enslaved of the era and by the brave witness of Black Americans of the nineteenth century, Lincoln’s story illuminates the ways and means of politics, the marshaling of power in a belligerent democracy, the durability of white supremacy in America, and the capacity of conscience to shape the maelstrom of events.
Lincoln was not all he might have been—few human beings ever are—but he was more than many men have ever been. We could have done worse. And we have. And, as Lincoln himself would readily acknowledge, we can always do better. But we will do so only if we see Abraham Lincoln—and ourselves—whole.
The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff
A revelatory biography of arguably the most essential Founding Father—the one who stood behind the change in thinking that produced the American Revolution. “A glorious book that is as entertaining as it is vitally important” (Ron Chernow).
Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the Revolution, “Samuel Adams was the man.” John Adams thought his cousin “the most sagacious politician” of all. With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history.
Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Stacy Schiff returns Adams to his seat of glory, introducing us to the shrewd, eloquent, and intensely disciplined man who supplied the moral backbone of the American Revolution. A singular figure at a sin- gular moment, Adams packaged and amplified the Boston Massacre. He helped to mastermind the Boston Tea Party. He employed every tool in an innovative arsenal to rally a town, a colony, and eventually a band of colonies behind him, creating the cause that created a country. For his efforts he became the most wanted man in America: When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was about to be arrested for treason.
In The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, Stacy Schiff brings her masterful skills to Adams’s improbable life, illuminating his transformation from aimless son of a well-off family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies. Arresting, original, and deliriously dramatic, this is a long-overdue chapter in the history of our nation.
The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland
In a book that is part thrilling adventure, part exploration of some of the darkest secrets of the Holocaust, award-winning journalist and best-selling novelist Jonathan Freedland uncovers the extraordinary story of the first Jew to break out of Auschwitz, a man who was determined to warn the world—and pass on a truth too few were willing to hear.
In April 1944, Rudolf Vrba became the first Jew to break out of Auschwitz—one of only four who ever pulled off that near-impossible feat. He did it to reveal the truth of the death camp to the world—and to warn the last Jews of Europe what fate awaited them at the end of the railway line. Against all odds, he and his fellow escapee, Fred Wetzler, climbed mountains, crossed rivers and narrowly missed German bullets until they had smuggled out the first full account of Auschwitz the world had ever seen—a forensically detailed report that would eventually reach Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and the Pope.
And yet too few heeded the warning that Vrba—then just nineteen years old—had risked everything to deliver. Some could not believe it. Others thought it easier to keep quiet. Vrba helped save 200,000 Jewish lives—but he never stopped believing it could have been so many more.
This is the story of a brilliant yet troubled man—a gifted “escape artist” who even as a teenager understand that the difference between truth and lies can be the difference between life and death, a man who deserves to take his place alongside Anne Frank, Oskar Schindler and Primo Levi as one of the handful of individuals whose stories define our understanding of the Holocaust.
And For Paul Newman Fans…
The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman
The raw, candid, unvarnished memoir of an American icon. The greatest movie star of the past 75 years covers everything: his traumatic childhood, his career, his drinking, his thoughts on Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, John Huston, his greatest roles, acting, his intimate life with Joanne Woodward, his innermost fears and passions and joys. With thoughts/comments throughout from Joanne Woodward, George Roy Hill, Tom Cruise, Elia Kazan and many others.
In 1986, Paul Newman and his closest friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern, began an extraordinary project. Stuart was to compile an oral history, to have Newman’s family and friends and those who worked closely with him, talk about the actor’s life. And then Newman would work with Stewart and give his side of the story. The only stipulation was that anyone who spoke on the record had to be completely honest. That same stipulation applied to Newman himself. The project lasted five years.
The result is an extraordinary memoir, culled from thousands of pages of transcripts. The book is insightful, revealing, surprising. Newman’s voice is powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes painful, always meeting that high standard of searing honesty. The additional voices–from childhood friends and Navy buddies, from family members and film and theater collaborators such as Tom Cruise, George Roy Hill, Martin Ritt, and John Huston–that run throughout add richness and color and context to the story Newman is telling.
Newman’s often traumatic childhood is brilliantly detailed. He talks about his teenage insecurities, his early failures with women, his rise to stardom, his early rivals (Marlon Brando and James Dean), his first marriage, his drinking, his philanthropy, the death of his son Scott, his strong desire for his daughters to know and understand the truth about their father. Perhaps the most moving material in the book centers around his relationship with Joanne Woodward–their love for each other, his dependence on her, the way she shaped him intellectually, emotionally and sexually.
The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man is revelatory and introspective, personal and analytical, loving and tender in some places, always complex and profound.
[…] More New Books for October […]
[…] Sybil’s Fall List Part 1-Fiction New Books for the Fall […]
The Book of Goose is a master piece, Set mainly in the mid-1950s, “The Book of Goose”, by Yiyum Li, tells the story of Fabienne and Agnes, childhood friends from rural France who decide to write a book together (Fabienne thinks up the stories and Agnes writes them down), and the seek out the widower postmaster in their little village to help them.