In a delicate and deeply empathetic novel, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni threads the stories of a mother, a daughter, and a granddaughter into a singular piece about love, sorrow, and loss.
Who says people don’t read poetry anymore? During the past several months, all my girlfriends have been reading the same collection of poetry. Now, these are twentysomethings who barely read any of the books I send them—let alone poetry—and they don’t buy books regularly. So it meant something when all these young women were raving about Rupi Kaur’s MILK AND HONEY. When I finally decided to pick up this extraordinary collection of poems, I immediately understood why everyone is so obsessed.
Behind every strong man, there is an even stronger woman. It’s an expression that’s been used for centuries, and as I’ve studied and read history, I’ve come to believe that it’s one of the truer ones we’ve got. It’s always been an obsession of mine to learn about the wives and mothers of the men we’ve chosen to write our histories around, and what better way to explore the idea than through historical fiction, where people and places of the past can come to life? Which is what initially drew me to Naomi Wood’s engrossing historical novel, MRS. HEMINGWAY.
As a young writer, I was often told that you needed to master all the rules of writing before you could go about breaking them, and this statement is illustrated no better than in the work of George Saunders. In his short story collection TENTH OF DECEMBER, Saunders demonstrates clearly that he can master and twist every rule to his will, but in his first novel, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, he takes this a step further, breaking every single rule in the most beautiful and poignant way possible.
I grew up a picky eater, but when I met my husband, he quickly turned me around—introducing me to the pleasure of sitting down to a good meal, to the joy of eating together, and to the flavors of delicious ingredients paired with the right wine. An avid reader, I savored words in the same way that I savored food, and it wasn’t long before I realized the power of those two things when put together. Here are eleven novels that are sure to delight your reading palate as much as they did mine.
I was a teenager when I first read Octavia Butler and had recently begun rebelling against my mother. Deeply rooted in her Christian faith, she forbade me to watch certain movies, read certain books, or participate in certain activities. In her eyes, she was protecting me from temptation, showing me the path, and working toward keeping me focused on it. I, on the other hand, felt limited and emotionally abused. I wanted to read and watch everything she said would reserve me a one-way ticket to hell.
It’s well documented that I love a good unreliable narrator. So how could I resist a bestselling thriller that boasts three? THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN delves into the minds of a trio of women whose lives are intertwined in a story of obsession, lies, and secrets. More compelling than a love triangle, the triangle of deception created by these three characters makes it so the reader can’t really trust any of them.
It’s a strange and wonderful thing to recognize something of yourself in a book. It’s an even stranger and more wonderful thing to recognize your own feelings in a character with whom, at first glance, you have very little in common. While the circumstances of my own life aren’t much like those of Aaron, the main character in Lori Ostlund’s AFTER THE PARADE, I was amazed at how clearly I understood him, and how relatable he seemed to be. I found myself both nodding along with Aaron’s observations about people and at the same time feeling astonished at how astute his observations were.
With the reemerging popularity of classics such as 1984 and BRAVE NEW WORLD, it’s safe to say that 2017 is the year of the dystopian novel. However, while great works from the 20th century deserve all the attention they’ve gotten, it should be noted that in the past few years there’s been an influx of great new dystopian fiction that imaginatively depicts contemporary society’s biggest fears.
BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE is a perfect candidate for your next book club pick. This should come as no surprise. After the success of A MAN CALLED OVE and MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY, Fredrik Backman has proven himself to be essential reading.