family secrets

Patricia’s 2017 Fall Picks

Fall sunsetFall for me is a time of spectacular sunsets – when the days get a little darker and the evenings have a little more bite to them.  I like my fall reading to take that darkness and run with it.  The contrast between what I’m reading and my cozy surroundings, well, that’s what fall reading is all about.  Here’s are the new releases I’m drawn to this fall:

September

sleeping beautiesSleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King

You can’t get much darker than an epic new novel by the master of horror (and his son).  “In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent.”* Yes, please.

ngLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told Youwas a quietly thrilling look at the ways in which we fail to understand each other.  Her follow up, Little Fires Everywhere, deals in family secrets and centres around a custody battle that divides a town. “It explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”*

solar bonesSolar Bones by Mike McCormack

I often imagine what it would feel like to write something utterly fresh and technically masterful – like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.  And while such innovation is not in all of us, it certainly seems to have found a home in Mike McCormack.  In Solar Bones McCormack writes “a three-part harmony of experiment, comedy and metaphysics” within a single novel-length sentence.  

lostLost in September by Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter wrote Annabel one of those rare books whose writing made my stomach ache it was so good.  And it wasn’t just the writing — the characters, the story line, the evocation of place — Annabel had it all.  And thus I eagerly await Lost in September, a story about a damaged war veteran transplanted in time.

October

dunbarDunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

King Lear is recast with Henry Dunbar, “the once all-powerful head of a global media corporation” in the lead.  “Imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?”*

powerThe Power by Naomi Alderman

I couldn’t wait for this Bailey’s Prize winner to be released in Canada, so bought a copy online from the UK.  Alderman’s novel explores the metaphor of power by making it literal.  Women are capable of electrocuting others and therefore have power over men.  How do an abused foster child, an rising politician, and a crime boss’ daughter choose to wield what they’ve been given?  It’s rare to find a novel this dark that’s got a sense of humour too.  Easily one of the year’s best.

manhattanbeachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad is one of those books that makes me excited about the future of fiction.  It was so playful and connected and experimental that almost the only way you could follow something like that up is to do exactly what Egan has done and revisit traditional storytelling.  “With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.”*

hiddenseeHiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann’s mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier– the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale ballet– who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.”*

turtlesTurtles All the Way Down by John Green

Okay. Okay.  This one might not qualify as dark.  But to be fair, I’ll read anything Green writes.  Until recently, the plot of his latest had been a closely guarded secret.  We now know it’s about a 16-year old girl named Aza, her BFF, and their quest to solve the mystery of a “fugitive billionaire” and claim “a hundred-thousand-dollar reward. […] In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.”*

This Thanksgiving let’s all be thankful for the time we get to read.  (To my children, yes, that IS a hint.)  Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Reading!

-Patricia

*Descriptions provided by the publisher

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Picks for June: Beach Reads!

Finally!  Beach reading is here.  Time for us all to spread our tartan blankets on the sand and stretch out in the sun for a good, long, sun-kissed reading experience.  We’ve added some new books to our collection this month that are perfect for a day at the beach:

If you like love stories, try

falloutFallout* by Sadie Jones

A well-written story about a theatre group in the 1970s in London.  The Guardian raves, “Sometimes, you find yourself rereading a passage simply for the joy of squeezing more out of it.”

 

If you love a juicy family secret, try

HeiressesThe Heiresses* by Sarah Shepard

Sure it’s fluffy. Sure it’s silly.  But this tale of uber-rich cousins in Manhattan is also very enjoyable trash.

 

If edge-of-your-seat thrillers are more your thing, try

natchezNatchez Burning by Greg Iles

I’d never read Greg Iles before, but Natchez Burning demanded my attention from the first page.  It explores the dark side of life in a small Mississippi town.  For those of you who are already Iles fan, Penn Cage is back.

 

If you are all about horror hard-boiled detectives, try

mercedesMr. Mercedes by Stephen King

When we think of Stephen King, most of us think horror.  This novel is a bit of a departure of King, owing more to the detective genre than anything else.  The crime that takes place is both savage and calculating: a masked driver willfully drives through a line at a job fair.  His victims include a mother and her infant child.  It’s up to a retired detective to solve the case.

If your inner reader chants, “Zombies!  Zombies! Zombies”, try

xomXom-B by Jeremy Robinson

I’m rarely sucked in by book trailers, but look!

If you like it when someone dips your YA science fiction, try

hereandnowThe Here and Now* by Anne Brashares

Time travel.  Forbidden love.  Questioning society.  Did I mention the future of mankind is at stake?

 

nogginNoggin by John Corey Whaley

Whaley is an award-winning author writing about Travis, a sixteen-year old boy who died and is reanimated five years later when his head is attached to another body.  His memories remain and the two Travis’ need to learn to coexist.

 

I’m sure I haven’t named them all!  Which book will take pride of place on your blanket when you next hit the beach?

–Patricia

*Thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for advanced readers copies of these titles.

Fresh Picks

We’ve got some exciting new titles in recently and can’t wait to share them with you.

gospelThe Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

Most of us know and love Harris because of gently magical novels like Chocolat (and its film starring Johnny Depp back when he was still wonderful).  Harris has recently begun dabbling in Norse mythology — she wrote two Norse-flavoured novels for tweens, Runemarks and Runelight.  The Gospel of Loki is her first Norse novel for adults.  It is more commercial than her previous works and chock full of adventure.

Astonish Me* by Maggie Shipsteadastonish

An engrossing tale set in the world of professional ballet.  Joan is a ballerina who becomes pregnant with fellow-dancer Arslan’s child.  She marries her longtime admirer, Jacob and leaves Arslan and the world of dance behind.  When her son Harry becomes a dancer himself, Arslan once again enters Joan’s life, and past secrets are revealed.

medicineMedicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

Are you a fan of Joseph Boyden?  How about Cormac McCarthy?  If you are, check out this moving father-son story from Canada Reads finalist Richard Wagamese, in which a dying father asks his son to lead him into the BC interior to be laid to rest.

Also new to our collection this month are several downloadable movies on Hoopla including old favourites like 1986’s April Fool’s Day and thelebowskiincomparable The Big Lebowski.

*Thank you to Edelweiss for providing an ARC of this title.

–Patricia