November 25th, 2015 By: Robin Beerbower
The following post is from our GalleyChatter columnist, Robin Beerbower:
As the winter weather descends on most of us, settle in for some absorbing books so you’ll be prepared to order those late winter/spring titles. Check the titles on Edelweiss and NetGalley to fill your reader for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Click here for the complete list of titles mentioned during the chat.
Thanks for the Memoirs
November was a big month for celebrity “tell-all” releases (Leah Remini, Carly Simon, Burt Reynolds) so it’s refreshing to see a few lesser-known people telling their own inspiring or fascinating stories.
Quickly gaining “much love” on Edelweiss is My Father, the Pornographer, Chris Offutt (S&S/Atria, February). Jennifer Dayton from Darien Library recommends it saying it is “blowing her away,” and Vicki Nesting loved it saying, “How does your understanding of your father change when you learn that he wrote more than 400 books in his lifetime — most of them pornography? This is spare and incisive, and occasionally heartbreaking.”
Diana Abu-Jaber’s also focuses on family and incorporates her love of food into Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Family and Food (Norton, April). Jennifer Dayton is a fan, saying, “Life is like what we crave to eat, sometimes we want savory and sometimes sweet. Abu-Jaber shows us the conflicting messages she received as a girl from the two people she loved the most, from her German grandmother, who loved sweet, the need to remain independent and from her Arab father, who was all about the savory and the fervent hope for her to be married and settled.”
Pulitzer prize winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri’s goal to become fluent in Italian is showcased in her beautifully written memoir, In Other Words (RH/Knopf, February). P. J. Gardiner (Wakefield Co Library, NC) enjoyed it saying, “A primarily English speaker, Lahiri studied Italian for years before deciding to move to Rome and immerse herself. What follows is a dual language (Italian translated to English) memoir sharing her journey of taking risks, learning, and reflecting.”
Under the Radar Thriller Authors
Alafair Burke is following in the bestselling footsteps of her father, James Lee Burke, with her new stand-alone thriller, The Ex (HarperCollins, January). Andrienne Cruz (Azusa City Library) thought it was terrific saying, “Olivia Randall doesn’t expect to help her ex fiancé when he is accused of murder. Burke keeps this book alive with a smart protagonist, interesting characters and a fluid story, and a clever twist will keep readers guessing till the very end.”
Gregg Hurwitz is another author who doesn’t commonly appear on suspense thriller radars, but his new title, Orphan X (Macmillan/Minotaur, January) is receiving advance buzz from our chatters and Edelweiss members also agree with the “much love” votes rising. Elizabeth Kanouse (Denville Public Library, NJ) said his forthcoming roller-coaster of a read is perfect for fans of Jason Bourne and the Mission: Impossible franchise: “Evan Smoak is a killing machine, government trained from the his boyhood. He’s now working freelance, helping those who need his kind of help. Something goes wrong with his latest client, and he finds himself on the run, up against someone whose skills may surpass his own.”
The novel Cold Mountain and books by Cormac McCarthy first come to mind when reading Fallen Land by Taylor Brown (St. Martin/January), according to collection development specialist Janet Lockhart of Wakefield (NC) County Library. She goes on to say, “With just their wits and their trusted horse, a young couple race for the coast at the same time as Sherman’s army is burning its way across Georgia. A love story told amidst the horrors of war, this is a beautifully written and paced debut novel.”
Ever since Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, I have hungered for another novel of fraught family dynamics (with a dash of dysfunction) with irritating yet relatable characters. I found it in Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s first novel, The Nest (HarperCollins/Ecco, March). The novel centers around the financial difficulties of three siblings after their arrogant brother’s foolish accident which drains their inheritance, known as “The Nest.” Sweeney does a masterful job of narrating the story from multiple viewpoints and having it all come to a satisfying close. I agree with a few GoodReads reviewers who are predicting this could be the surprise spring bestseller.
“Imagine a Jane Austen novel set in WWI England!” is how Janet Lockhart describes Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War (RH, March). Her affection for this novel by the author of the book group favorite Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was echoed by Bryant Library’s (NY) Janet Schneider who said, “From it’s opening scenes, set in East Sussex in extraordinarily-beautiful August 1914, this captures the final moments of innocence before the steep costs of war deeply impacted a family, a town and a way of life. Jacqueline Winspear and Kate Morton fans will be entranced.”
Please join us for the next GalleyChat on Tuesday, December 1, from 4:00-5:00 (ET). Come early,for virtual cocktails at 3:30. With so many titles being sprung for spring, “friend” me on Edelweiss to keep up with what I’m anticipating.