Many of wonderful titles we’ve loved and recommended are now out in paperback. Enjoy!
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (William Morrow)
When fifteen-year-old Marjorie begins to act strangely, blaming voices to explain her erratic behavior, her family abandons the ever-growing therapy bills and instead turns to faith for answers. Still needing a means to pay the hefty medical bills, the family gives permission for their lives to be filmed for a new documentary television show. Instead, the family quickly unravels, when horrific tragedy caught on film. Decades later, Marjorie opens up to a young writer set on writing a book about the incident. In doing so, she opens up a host of secrets kept buried, secrets that completely contradict what made it to film. Tremblay’s novel compares to that horror great The Exorcist. Yet, it goes far beyond that, creating a terror far more devastating than you ever could have imagined. This is one you’ll want to read by the light of day for it is certain to terrify the strongest of wills.
The Listener by Rachel Bausch (Pegasus)
Bausch’s stunning and emotional debut novel captivates with its deft exploration of the intricate lives of a widowed therapist and his troubled young patient, Noah, with whom he shares surprising connections. Detailed with fully realized characters, surprising twists of plot, The Listener graces us with rich and wonderfully observed moments, revealing the sensitive balancing act of striving and failing in our roles as friends and lovers, parents and children. The vulnerability and depth of these characters are not soon forgotten.
The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan (William Morrow)
Deborah Birch slides her hand over a carving of a hummingbird before she meets each of her new hospice patients, preparing herself for an experience like no other. Her latest, Barclay Reed, is a retired—and discredited—history professor and Pacific War expert. He is a tough case, but her job is made tougher by her worries for her husband, whose third deployment to Iraq has left him a different man. At his request, Deborah reads the professor’s last book, about a Japanese pilot who bombed the Oregon coast during World War II, and she slowly learns how to help both of these hurting men, helping them to make peace with the past and move into the future. Ultimately, The Hummingbird is a beautiful, uplifting story of life, love, war, and death.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola (Grand Central)
Blackout is a brutally honest look at life under the influence of alcohol. From her first sip of beer at the age of seven through most of the following 30 years, Hepola’s world revolved around drinking. She wasn’t a homeless, deadbeat drunk; instead she had a respectable job, meeting her writing and editing deadlines with the help of a bottle or two. In the after work hours, however, she often drank herself into blackouts, waking up in a stranger’s bed or with no recollection of how she got home. In her frank, straightforward memoir, Hepola writes of her love of drink, her deepest insecurities, and her fear of becoming sober. This can’t-stop-reading memoir gives alcoholism a context within Gen X sociocultural pressures and post-feminism expectations.
Villa America by Liza Klaussman (Little, Brown)
You may not know who Gerald and Sara Murphy were, but that doesn’t stop Klaussmann from weaving their lives into an absolutely fascinating tale. As Lost Generation American ex-pats, the Murphys hosted many artistic luminaries in their house on the French Riviera, a setting which inspired one of their guests (F. Scott Fitzgerald) to write Tender is The Night. Lost Generation artists have been a hot topic in historical fiction in recent years, but Klaussman has chosen a wonderfully rich set of characters – the Murphys plus American pilot Owen Chambers – and gives them all complex and distinct personalities which make Villa America psychologically satisfying book to read.