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by A.B. Yehoshua, trans. by Stuart Schoffman
The Tunnel, a novel by venerable Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua (Friendly Fire; The Retrospective), is a gentle fable about aging, marital love and understanding between two peoples in conflict. Zvi Luria is a retired engineer at 73, whose recent MRI reveals the beginning of frontal lobe atrophy. His wife, Dina, a prominent pediatrician, encourages him to seek out a part-time job with his former employer, hoping that may slow his cognitive decline.
Zvi lands a position as an unpaid assistant to ... [ Read More » ]
2 of 27
by Edmund White
As one of the godfathers of gay literature, Edmund White (City Boy) has written significantly and beautifully about male sexuality. In the sumptuously imagined novel A Saint from Texas, he takes as a subject female sexuality and how the social taboos against expressing it openly shaped the lives of a pair of Texas belles.
Narrating from the present day, Yvonne de Courcy (née Crawford) recalls her formative years and those of her identical twin, Yvette. Self-described Dallas deb Yvonne ... [ Read More » ]
3 of 27
by Raven Leilani
Raven Leilani's first novel, Luster, is a rocket-paced, sensual fever dream of sex, trauma, relationships and conflicting perceptions.
Edie is in her 20s and struggling, with her crappy shared Bushwick apartment, her low-level position in children's publishing, her uninspired sexual choices and her irritable bowel syndrome. Her parents are dead, but the psychic wounds they inflicted are not. Her painting is not going well, and she is a Black woman in New York City. "Racism is often so mundane ... [ Read More » ]
4 of 27
by Julie Pennell
In Julie Pennell's Louisiana Lucky, three sisters from Brady, La., share a lottery jackpot of $204 million, and the outcomes result in a novel that is breezy and enjoyable, filled with charm and wit, romance and wisdom.
The Breaux sisters, all in their 20s, are hard-working, middle-class and bonded by family. One night a month, the lottery-playing girls gather for dinner and drinks and watch the Powerball drawing on television. Hanna, the oldest, lives with her struggling contractor husband and two ... [ Read More » ]
5 of 27
by Margot Mifflin
The women's movement has always had a problem with the Miss America pageant, but Looking for Miss America makes clear that second-wave feminism owes a debt to the annual competition. During the sensation-causing feminist protest at the 1968 pageant, a bedsheet emblazoned with the words "WOMEN'S LIBERATION" got the press to introduce the phrase into the national lexicon.
Margot Mifflin (Bodies of Subversion) proves herself an intrepid scholar of this institution. The Miss America pageant ... [ Read More » ]
6 of 27
by Rhys Bowen
Using sharp intelligence and experienced sleuthing, the intrepid Lady Georgiana Rannoch sets out to save her friend, accused of murder, in The Last Mrs. Summers, an excellent, stand-alone entry in the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen (Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding).
What begins as a road trip with girlfriend Belinda to inspect an inherited, dilapidated cottage on the wild Cornish coast soon takes a darker turn. With no hotel available nearby, Georgiana and Belinda accept an offer of housing ... [ Read More » ]
7 of 27
by Romina Garber
Manuela "Manu" Azul is a 16-year-old caught between two realms in Romina Garber's stunning start to the Wolves of No World series.
Manu knows that there is something different about her: for one, she has "star-shaped silver pupils" with "yellow sun" irises. She also experiences period pain that is so intense her mother, formerly a nurse in their native Argentina, gives her pills that knock her out for three days. Because of these abnormalities, Manu feels dependent upon her mother and lives sheltered ... [ Read More » ]
8 of 27
by John Sobol, illus. by Cindy Derby
Brimming with love, Born is a tender, impressionistic peek at a baby's final days "floating cozily in her mother's womb" that ends with her much anticipated arrival into the world.
Before birth, the "thump-thump of her mother's heartbeat keeps her company, always." Pushing with her foot, she can feel "the edge of her world." And, curled up in this space, she hears "the sweetest sound she knows. A sound filled with love." Sometimes this baby sleeps, sometimes she's restless, but mostly she's calm ... [ Read More » ]
9 of 27
by Christina Hammonds Reed
Affluence is not an impermeable barrier from the destructive forces of racism--a stark truth high school senior Ashley Bennett is forced to face in Christina Hammonds Reed's YA debut, The Black Kids. Filled with multi-dimensional characters who stretch way beyond stereotypes, the book unfolds in the turbulent spring of 1992, when the Los Angeles area was engulfed in a wave of riots after the four police officers on trial for severely beating unarmed Rodney King were acquitted of all charges.
Intelligent, ... [ Read More » ]
10 of 27
by Araminta Hall
One premise of Araminta Hall's horrible yet lovely Imperfect Women is that women absorb tragedy so others don't have to. Best friends Nancy, Eleanor and Mary each absorbed plenty as life took them down unexpected paths. Twenty-eight years after their friendship began at Oxford, Eleanor's phone wakes her at 4 a.m. It's Nancy's husband, Robert, concerned she never came home the night before.
Rather than worried, Eleanor is irritated. She alone knows that Nancy is embroiled in a year-long affair she's ... [ Read More » ]
11 of 27
by Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley (The Invitation; The Book of Lost and Found) has created a delightfully suspenseful thriller in The Guest List. Atmospheric and subtle, it explores the unraveling of a group of acquaintances who have all traveled to a remote Irish island for a wedding.
The bride, Jules, is the editor of a thriving online magazine. The groom, Will, is on reality TV, and their guest list is star-studded. As the novel opens, the lights go out in the tent where everyone is dancing, and suddenly someone screams. ... [ Read More » ]
12 of 27
by John Giorno
In Great Demon Kings, John Giorno (1936-2019) writes the following about being at a Ronettes and Shirelles concert with Andy Warhol at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre in 1963: "By chance, I was smack in the middle of something extraordinary." "Well, when weren't you?" readers may find themselves wondering while devouring Giorno's edifyingly dishy book.
Great Demon Kings charts Giorno's life well spent in the New York art scene, where as a poet, performer and impresario he had romantic ... [ Read More » ]
13 of 27
by James Gould-Bourn
British-born author James Gould-Bourn bursts onto the U.S. literary scene with a charming, deeply comforting story about a father and son entrenched in grief.
After a car accident claimed the life of Danny Malooley's beloved wife--and mother to their son, Will--father and son grapple with their loss, trying to shore up their shattered world. Matters hit rock bottom when Danny suddenly loses his construction job and cannot pay the bills. But worst of all is the fact that 11-year-old Will has refused ... [ Read More » ]
14 of 27
by Ellen Feldman
With a sweeping narrative that spans Paris during the Nazi occupation and New York City a decade later, Paris Never Leaves You is an unforgettable story of resistance, trust, faith and love. Starting with the novel's opening pages, Guggenheim fellow Ellen Feldman (Next to Love; Terrible Virtue; Scottsboro) immediately grabs readers' hearts and never lets go.
In 1944, Charlotte Foret is a young widow and mother working in a Paris bookshop while the city is under siege. One day, a Nazi soldier enters ... [ Read More » ]
15 of 27
by Frances Macken
Frances Macken's darkly complicated You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here follows three Irish girls as they aspire to escape their dead-end hometown of Glenbruff. Working-class Katie, pretty, rich girl Evelyn and hanger-on Maeve are introduced as happy 10-year-olds running free, imagining the local quarry, wet bogs and abandoned buildings as wondrous faraway habitats. They plan for bigger, better lives together elsewhere but, like all childhood friendships, this trio's loyalties ebb and flow ... [ Read More » ]
16 of 27
by Peter Cameron
A journey to adopt a baby in a distant, northern European city tests a married couple in What Happens at Night, a menacing, suspenseful novel by Peter Cameron (Coral Glynn), its mood occasionally lightened by grim humor in the dialogue. Their journey from the United States had been difficult even before they arrive at their gloomily grandiose hotel. The wife is life-threateningly ill, which has made it nearly impossible for them to adopt. The nearby orphanage may be her last hope for a child before ... [ Read More » ]
17 of 27
by Kim Powers
Kim Powers's haunting and spellbinding novel Rules for Being Dead reads like an intoxicating blend of the best of Shirley Jackson, Alice Sebold and Fannie Flagg. But Powers has created an original novel that is both a tender coming-of-age tale and a fascinating mystery that builds to a nail-biting climax.
Set in a small Texas town in 1966, the novel begins with the suspicious death of Creola Perkins, an unhappily married 44-year-old grade-school teacher, wife to alcoholic dreamer L.E. and mother ... [ Read More » ]
18 of 27
by S.C. Perkins
"Well, I'll be dashed.... It's a pigpen." Uttered by wily old fox George Lancaster, these words refer to something other than a mess. A cipher, to be exact--one that forces George to disclose long-held World War II secrets to his beloved granddaughter, genealogist Lucy Lancaster. To bust a murder scheme relating to an old espionage operation, they'll have to find the key and break the code before lives are lost.
Lineage Most Lethal is the second entry in S.C. Perkins's marvelous Ancestry Detective ... [ Read More » ]
19 of 27
by Edward Ball
In 1998, Edward Ball won the National Book Award for Slaves in the Family, his unflinching history concerning slavery his father's ancestors perpetuated in South Carolina. He continues unraveling the tightly knotted legacy of white supremacy by studying his mother's ancestors in Louisiana: specifically, Polycarp Constant Lecorgne, "our klansman."
A fighter in the rebel army during the Civil War and in the white militias of Reconstruction, Constant is but a focal point in Ball's broader concern, ... [ Read More » ]
20 of 27
by Emily Levesque
The popular image of an astronomer is a lone figure peering into a telescope, discovering brand-new stars or trying to make contact with aliens. Emily Levesque, astronomer and "weird star enthusiast," knows the reality is a little different. In her first nonfiction book, The Last Stargazers, Levesque charts a course through the rapidly evolving field of astronomy. With humor and heart, she explains the basics of what astronomers do while relating dozens of entertaining anecdotes about her chosen ... [ Read More » ]
21 of 27
by Sloane Leong
Vibrant art and rich storytelling combine in A Map to the Sun, Sloane Leong's deeply emotional graphic novel about five girls on a basketball team shouldering different burdens and learning to carry them together.
The summer before ninth grade, Ren and Luna meet. They spend the season together and then Luna moves away. She never calls. Then, in 10th grade, Luna transfers back, optimistic about reuniting with Ren. Except Ren's world didn't pause: her parents are separated, her dad struggles financially ... [ Read More » ]
22 of 27
by Piret Raud, trans. by Adam Cullen
Ellie's Voice: or Trööömmmpffff abounds with music, and not just in terms of its subject matter. If illustrations could make noise, then Piret Raud's art would sing.
Ellie, a bird who lives by the sea, laments that she alone doesn't have a voice--"Even the rain sings when it falls." When the waves wash a horn ashore (it resembles an outsize shofar--at least at first), Ellie is elated. The noise that she makes with the horn, while non-euphonious (Trööömmmpffff!), summons ... [ Read More » ]
23 of 27
by Tamsyn Muir
Harrow the Ninth has a tough act to follow in 2019's deranged, electrifyingly fun Gideon the Ninth, but the middle chapter in Tamsyn Muir's Locked Tomb Trilogy is every bit as wild and weird as its delightful predecessor. Following the events of the first book, Muir shifts focus to the necromancer Harrowhark as she joins a cohort dedicated to assisting the godlike Emperor in fighting strange cosmic entities.
Muir has not lost her penchant for throwing readers in the deep end, and some incomprehension ... [ Read More » ]
24 of 27
by Yun Ko-Eun, trans. by Lizzie Buehler
Pristine beaches, spectacular landscapes, cultural landmarks might have been the go-to tourist destinations once upon a time, but in Yun Ko-eun's sly, compelling novel, The Disaster Tourist, scenes of death and destruction are where people really want to go.
Jungle, where Yona Ko has been working for 10-plus years, is one of these travel providers, and her professional success makes her a personal target of Team Leader Kim's sexual abuse. She's not alone, but Human Resources offers nothing more ... [ Read More » ]
25 of 27
by Akwaeke Emezi
Returning to adult fiction after the success of their 2019 National Book Award finalist YA novel Pet, Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi brings readers a deep, tender look at a family unraveling around the tragic and early loss of someone they loved but never understood.
"They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died," the first chapter says in its arresting entirety. Born to Chika and Kavita, with a starfish-shaped birthmark on his foot identical to a scar his grandmother ... [ Read More » ]
26 of 27
by David Sheff
For 30 years, Jarvis Jay Masters has been a resident of San Quentin State Prison's death row, some two decades of them in solitary confinement. As one of 700 inmates currently in that grim status, his story would not be remarkable, but for the fact that during his long imprisonment he's become an esteemed Buddhist teacher, and a confidant of the well-known writer and teacher Pema Chödrön.
In The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place, journalist David Sheff ... [ Read More » ]
27 of 27
by Molly Wizenberg
In another writer's hands, this could have been awkward. Molly Wizenberg's previous bestselling memoirs--A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table and Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage--are to a large extent valentines to Brandon Pettit, with whom she opened Delancey, a beloved Seattle restaurant. Wizenberg's blindsidingly beautiful new memoir, The Fixed Stars, is about how she initiated a divorce from Pettit after an incapacitating crush on a woman compelled her ... [ Read More » ]