A poetic memoir about a literal wild ride-the 100 km Mongol Derby-written by the first woman to win (who was only 19 at the time). A perfect read for horse lovers, armchair travelers or anyone who remembers well their pentup, wild, youthful yearning.
A deft debut about finding your footing after loss, this middle grade novel features a perfectly lived in friendship (that might be something more) and a completely believable portrait of small town life. Its tender but matter of fact tone and lovely pencil illustrations only add to its appeal.
Readers who struggle with what the Buddhists call 'monkey mind' and with the inability to do it all, much less do it all perfectly, will welcome this collection of upbeat essays. Philpott's candid account of fertility woes, depression and the writing life offers the most convincing encouragement-knowing you are not alone.
Another love letter to his momma (the inimitable Margaret Marie Bundrum Bragg) this time to her hard earned culinary skills, Rick Bragg captures the food histories of generations by writing down her recipes for the first time. And, because good food always has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else, the food cannot be shared without the story. A book for young locavore foodies and their elders who remember 'the old days'. Bittersweet and full of affection.
For longtime fans like myself describing the plot of an Elizabeth McCracken novel is almost beside the point (Bowlaway is about 3 generations of a New England family that own a candlepin bowling alley, BTW). If you are dazzled by her skill and moved by her matter of fact authorly love for her idiosyncratic characters, as I am, you are pretty much down for whatever. I find her work just the right amount of quirky and her discerning word choices make me want to read as slowly as possible to savor them.
Josie has always wanted to be on TV. Delia loves all things horror. Together they are Midnite Matinee, a public access show with more heart than craft. (Think Svengoolie with hashtags.) With whipsmart dialogue and smartassery for days, the journey these best friends take to reach their dreams (or some approximation of it) makes for a terrific read.
The noir picture book we've been waiting for! Mitten's classic hardboiled narration amply demonstrates a cat's usual level of dedication and healthy respect for the rules. Chuckleworthy and ripe for rereading!
Ever seen the picture of the woman taking a bath in Hitler's bathtub? If not, treat yourself. That's Lee Miller. Vogue model, muse and lover of the photographer Man Ray, Surrealist artist in her own right, combat journalist (that dirt on the bathmat was from Dachau) Miller led a big, juicy 20th century life and this debut novel introduces the reader to all of it. Far more than your average 'woman behind the man' story this is recommended for anyone who loves a ballsy badass heroine.
For her newest novel McClain returns to the fertile ground that is Hemingway's wives-this time telling the story of his third, pioneering journalist and war corrospondent Martha Gelhorn. Drawn together by similiar amibitions, they were forced apart by his ego causing Gelhorn (and the reader) to ponder the classic question 'Can a woman have it all?' Recommended for historical fiction fans or readers who enjoy a strong, if conflicted, female protaganist.
The latest from the producer of "The Wire" and "The Deuce" is both a crime novel about a con deciding whether to go straight or stay crooked and a love letter to the redemptive power of reading. While languishing in prison Michael Hudson, with the guidence of the prison librarian, takes up books with a voracious enthusiasm as he discovers worlds outside the walls and his former life on the street. When he is inexplicably released-the explanantion why involves some strings-he gets a library card and a straight job but still struggles with what he owes to others and to himself. A compelling crime novel yes, but most of all this book is about the transformative power of friendship and books.
A secret kept by an Irish immigrant maid in 1908 flows through the veins of a wealthy American family like polluted blood until it's exposed in a tramatized post 9/11 New York. This novel of braided timelines is about oportunity, the ties that bind and what a mother truly is.
In her first stand alone French portrays the havoc that ensues when a family's literal skeletons are revealed. Both empathetic and damning, The Witch Elm is also a complete and authentic description of victimhood-the powerlessness and desolation that result when all your safe places are ruined, including your own life narrative.
What happens when you do everything 'right' but security disappears anyway? That terrible angering feeling shared by so many right now is at the heart of these twinned stories, one set in the 1870's, one in the present. Both take place in a dilapidated house in Vineland, NJ and both speak to the many ways one can be unsheltered.
When Jessilyn Harney, a protaganist True Grit's Maddie Ross would call kin, is orphaned in the post Civil War West she disguises herself as a boy and sets out to find her outlaw brother, who's become something of a folk hero. Told in a wry and weary voice, in this debut Western, as in all the classic ones, the journey takes the measure of and makes the man.
Though we all know better, it seems that history happens in black and white. When we see a color photo of a Nazi or the Korean War it's so unexpected and startling it just looks wrong. Black and white also allows us to hold history, especially the painful parts, at some remove. In an effort to bring it closer, authors Wolfgang Wild and Jordan Lloyd have painstakingly colorized some iconic moments from the past so vividly the viewer feels like they are watching the moment unfold. A great gift for the history or photography buff or anyone who enjoys an eyeopener.
If you want to keep your Little House memories pure and unsullied don't read this bubbleburster. If, however, you'd enjoy a no holds barred behind the scenes story of how the beloved series came to be and how the pioneers shaped the America we inhabit today, you could do no better.
Plucky Emmeline Lake just wants to do her part for the war effort. When she lands a job at the London Evening Chronicle she pictures herself as FEMALE WAR CORROSPONDENT. Alas, the job is actually assisting the formidible Henrietta Bird, the maddening advice columnist who refuses to actually offer any. So softhearted Emmy decides to answer a few letters on the sly because what could go wrong? How she copes with real life in wartorn London with her vibrant spirit intact makes for a delicious and uplifting treat for readers.
With a hat tip to noir great James M. Cain, Lippman weaves a complex story of a man and a woman, both adrift, who fall into a passionate but destructive affair. When the worst happens, as it always must in noir, they leave a trail of death, distrust and broken lives behind.
The latest novel from Bloom is a tender and loving picture of tough talking reporter, Lorena Hickok, "First Friend" (and true love) of Eleanor Roosevelt. Her hardscrabble early life and later years are all artfully detailed by Bloom, who once again brings her psychological training to bear to create characters who leap off the page.
Ever had a 'work wife'? Ever been 'let go'? Ever been on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)? Ever sat through a meeting that should have been an email? If so, you will see yourself in this debut novel. All the dreams, schemes, backbiting, and Machivallian machinations are carefully and articulately laid out. Recommended for advancement to your bedside table!
This arresting graphic novel casts Frida Kahlo's life as one long conversation with Death appropriate, if you think, due to her poor health and tempestous love life, it really was her most constant companion. Works as both a primer for the Kahlo novice and a must have for fans.
This unrelenting portrait of the greedy squandering of our precious natural resources is both a beautiful excursion into the heart of human darkness and a brutal story that squarely combats the myth of the West. A forerunner of Cormac McCarthy, this is an underappreciated great that clamors for a wider audience.
I can't think of a more evocative narrative muse than Edward Hopper. Apparently Lawrence Block feels the same because he asked a diverse group of author friends (Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates and more) to pick a painting and write a story about it. This carefully curated collection features ensnaring tales from all genres so strong it's hard to pick a favorite. With its full color plates, this would make a lovely gift for fans of Hopper's broody genius or anyone intruiged by the intersection of artistic mediums.
A dark exploration of the world of competitive gymnastics that portrays the agony and urgency of desire, the unknowablility of others and the burden of expectation. A crime novel where the crime is only the catalyst for an examination of a family's unraveling. Abbott at her very best.
Equal parts a memoir about moving solo to the big city and a criticism of visual artists (Darger, Warhol, Hopper) who prominantly feature loneliness in their work, this book is a weird hybrid that totally works. My favorite book of 2016!
When done right there's something magical about books told from the point of view of an animal. With this sensitive and lovely story Pennypacker carries the torch passed down from Felix Salten (Bambi) and Sterling North (Rascal). When Peter and his fox Pax are seperated by an impending war to be reunited both must face an epic journey that will test and ultimately redeem them. A great read for children of all ages.