Patricia’s Spring Picks

Meet Patricia, our Public Service Assistant extraordinaire and Fiction Fanatic. I swear, Patricia has read every book in the library, and I’m excited to announce that she will be contributing to the Top Shelf Blog from now on!

After I posted my own Spring picks last week, I asked her to pick some warm weather reads, as well. Here’s what she came up with:

Spring is about freshness and newness.  There are two novels I’m really excited about from first time authors:

HHhH, by Laurent Binet

Winner of the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman and now available in English, HHhH describes the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhart Heydrich.  The narrator of HHhH is himself writing a historical thriller about Heydrich, Himmler’s favourite officer.  He soon concludes that the genre is inappropriate for the story he decides to tell, instead preferring to insert himself and his research process into the telling of the tale.  For fans of Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones.

The Year of the Gadfly, by Jennifer Miller

Nascent journalist Iris Dupont feels sure that she can penetrate the fiercely guarded secrets of Mariana Academy. Kirkus Reviews raves, “A smoldering mystery set in a New England prep school… The author skilfully ratchets up the tension as Iris (and the reader) finds it harder and harder to tell who the good guys are… A gripping thrill ride that’s also a thoughtful coming-of-age story.” For fans of (two of my all-time favourites) Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep.

Even so, this spring I’m most looking forward to lounging about with new books from some of my favourite authors from season’s past.  In addition to those authors mentioned below, there are new offerings from popular favourites Mark Haddon (The Red House), Chris Cleave (Gold), Stephen King (The Wind Through The Keyhole) and personal favourites Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya (The Watch) and Mira Grant (Blackout, Newsflesh Trilogy Book 3).  Everything old is new again!

The Chemistry of Tears, by Peter Carey

Catherine Gehrig’s lover is dead.  He was married.  And he was her superior at work, the fictional Swinburne Museum in London.  Her boss, the only one at her workplace aware of the affair, is compassionate.  He sets Catherine to work reassembling an automaton.  Intertwined with Catherine’s story is the journal of 19th century Englishman, Henry Branding, and the original building of the mechanical creature Catherine is working to reassemble.

 The Lower River, by Paul Theroux

Ellis Hock lived in Malawi 40 years ago when he was with the Peace Corps.  He was happy then.  Hoping to be happy again, he returns.  But, of course, nothing is as good as he remembers.  How much worse is it? A whole lot.

In One Person, by John Irving

Main characters is a writer? Check. Young man raised by single mother? Check.  Wrestling? Check. Embracing many of the subjects that pervade John Irving’s beloved earlier works, In One Person promises much.  The story of a man and his complicated sexuality.

Railsea, by China Mieville

China Mieville famously once said he “wanted to write a novel in every genre.”  In Railsea he tackles world-building fantasy via Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick

Amped, by Daniel H. Wilson

Every season should save some room for pure guilty pleasures. Daniel H. Wilson is one of mine. The “amps” (microchip enhanced humans) take on the “pure pride” activists in this tale of a high school teacher who finds himself in the middle of a burgeoning fear-based war.

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