So far 2017 has been a terrific year for great books.
But I’ll be perfectly honest: This has NOT, in my opinion, been a terrific year politically. In fact, these days I spend most of my time feeling horrified, disgusted, appalled, and sad. I read the news (online and in print) throughout the day and appreciate journalists more than ever. Staying on top of current events is overwhelming and depressing. So where do I find relief and solace? In fiction. Reading is and has always been an escape for me. I’m demoralized by our current situation, sickened by ever-present white supremacy, angry at false moral equivalencies being made between hate groups – the KKK and neo-nazis and the alt-right – and social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter, and furious (but not surprised) by the pathetic, empty statements read by #NotMyPresident.
There isn’t much (other than protesting at Trump Tower today) that will make me feel better. But books help keep me going. This past weekend, just when I was feeling as though things couldn’t be worse, I remembered something that gave me a little lift: there are some new, wonderful books coming soon from some of my favorite writers, and I can’t wait to lose myself in these new works. For example, I’m so excited for Jesmy’s Ward’s latest, SING, UNBURIED, SING, Celeste Ng’s LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, and Claire Messud’s THE BURNING GIRL. Knowing that these books are being released soon helps me keep moving forward.
Unlike fellow Deb Crystal King, I’m not a particularly fast reader. I like to read about two (sometimes three) books a month. Here are the books I’ve read and enjoyed so far this year.
AGE OF INNOCENCE: Thank goodness for bookclubs. My bookclub selected this Edith Wharton classic, and although I already read it in college, I couldn’t remember much of anything about it. I liked it even more the second time around. – And it’s a terrific choice for a bookclub because our discussion was lively, heated, and fun.
THE FOREVER SUMMER: I adored Jamie Brenner’s latest! It’s a perfect summer read that is set in the ideal summer town: Provincetown, MA. This is an epic family story that will completely engross you. Highly recommend this book by lovely Jamie!
THE PEOPLE WE HATE AT THE WEDDING: I recently met Grant Ginder, and he’s just as wonderful in person as his hilarious, fabulous novel about three siblings who are dealing with past and present issues as they reunite for a wedding in England. I devoured this book and loved every Klonopin-sprinkled page.
One of the perks of being a writer is the chance to read books before they are released. I’ve read some wonderful books that will be coming soon, so be on the look-out!
GEORGE & LIZZIE: Coming September 2017 from NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl. This book is original, funny, and touching. As Amy Poeppel (that’s me!) says in her blurb “GEORGE AND LIZZIE is a richly absorbing portrait of a perfectly imperfect marriage; a wryly observed story of family, love, and absurdity; and a deft consideration of the moments that shadow and shape our lives, and just might take on lives of their own.” This book is wonderful!
SHE REGRETS NOTHING: While you wait until February 2018 for this fabulous new novel by Andrea Dunlop to arrive, you can read her recently released novella BROKEN BAY. Andrea is on a roll! SHE REGRETS NOTHING is filled with wealthy New Yorkers, the escapades of an entitled family, and the newly discovered sister who is desperately trying to belong.
THE SUBWAY GIRLS: Did you enjoy Fiona Davis’s THE DOLLHOUSE? Then you will adore this new novel by Susie Orman Schnall. The stories of two strong women a generation apart intertwine in this story of romantic possibilities, high-stakes decisions, and harsh realities. You’ll love this book, coming July 2018.
EMERALD COAST: Out this month! Are you looking for true, escapist fiction and a sunlit glimpse into how the other half lives? Then dive into EMERALD COAST, the latest by Anita Hughes.
And somethings blue:
These were all fun, fast-paced stories of women juggling jobs, families, dreams, realities, and relationships, and I enjoyed them all!
There are two books I absolutely loved that I listened to in my car, thanks to Audible: THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE by one of the loveliest people ever, Lynda Cohen Loigman, and SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS by J. Courtney Sullivan. Both books are wonderful and absorbing, thoroughly compelling novels with huge secrets that the main characters carry with them throughout their lives.