After a grueling three years of studying, I am thisclose to finished my MLIS and I am overdue for some fun! (To me ‘fun’ means ‘future uninterrupted nights’ of pleasure reading… lots of it… as I call all the precious books unto me.) Here’s what I’ll be reading:
The Great American Whatever* by Tim Federle
Quinn has a knack for seeing his life as though it were a screenplay, which fuels his dream of making movies someday. He hasn’t made much of anything in recent months; his life is at a standstill that began when his sister died in a car accident. BFF Geoff is determined to help Quinn re-engage with life. This book is unexpectedly funny and honest.
Jane Steele* by Lyndsay Faye
A must read for anyone who ever thought that Jane Eyre would have been more satisfying if it’d begun, “Reader, I murdered him.” Jane Steele reimagines Jane Eyre as a tenacious serial killer in this page-turning satirical romance.
On the Shores of Darkness, There is Light by Cordelia Strube
I really enjoy novels about precocious children like Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce and Muriel Barbery’s Paloma, and so have high hopes for Strube’s newest protagonist. Harriet is an 11-year old mixed media artist who longs to run away to Algonquin Park a la Tom Thomson. For those of you new to Strube, a former Giller nominee for Lemon, her writing breathlessly walks the line between sarcasm and genuine feeling.
The Naturalist by Alissa York
Several years ago Alissa York’s Effigy knocked me flat with it’s searing writing and unputdownable story of Dorrie, the fourth wife of a Utah Mormon who married her so she could perform taxidermy on demand and provide him with animal trophies. Somehow York fell off my radar after that, despite continuing to publish. I’m very much looking forward to being reunited with her writing in The Naturalist, a story about a reluctant Amazon adventurer in the 1800s.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos* by Dominic Smith
Moving back and forth in time through the Golden Age of Holland, 1950s New York City and the present day, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos tells the story of a masterful female painter and one of her works, a painting called At the Edge of the World. It also tells the story of an Australian grad student / forger of de Vos’ masterpiece, and what happens when the original painting and forgery are due to be shown at the same gallery.
The Crown’s Game* by Evelyn Skye
Truth be told, I’ve already neglected my schoolwork to devour this tale of two feuding magicians in St. Petersburg. In my opinion it’s stronger than perennial favourite The Night Circus. I’d been concerned that a novel so full of whimsy wouldn’t have the teeth to pull off a strong ending, but it snuck up on my and broke my heart. Highly recommended.
The Noise of Time* by Julian Barnes
One of the best books I read last year was Symphony for the City of the Dead, M.T. Anderson’s non-fiction look at the making of Shostakovich’s Lenningrad Symphony. Ever since I’ve been hungry to read more about this composer who was equal parts forced and compelled to create.
The Romanovs 1613-1918* by Simon Sebag Montefiore
It’s an event whenever Simon Sebag Montefiore has a new book out, and I couldn’t be more pleased that he’s chosen to tackle the Romanov dynasty in his latest work of non-fiction. From Mikhail to Alexander, Montefiore lavishly recounts a 300-year history of brutal violence, sex, and power. At 784 pages, it’s a commitment, but I’m confident it’ll be richly rewarding.
*HUGE thank yous to NetGalley and Edelweiss for providing me with Advanced Readers Copies of these titles.