Our GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower, rounds up the most-mentioned titles from our most recent chat, to add to your TBR pile.
If you fall in love with any of these titles, be sure to consider nominating them for LibraryReads. We’ve noted the deadlines in red.
Please join us for the next GalleyChat tomorrow Nov. 1, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
During the last GalleyChat, many of the top mentioned books were by authors whose names may not be familiar to most. Our crystal balls predict that, by the time they are published, most will be on the tips of everyone’s tongues.
For a complete list of titles mentioned during the chat, check the Edelweiss compilation here.
Vicki Nesting of St. Charles Parish Library (LA) led the discussion for the hot title, The Dry by Jane Harper (Macmillan/Flatiron, January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov. 20) by saying it was a “brilliantly plotted and atmospheric mystery.” She continued, “When federal investigator Aaron Falk learns that his childhood best friend Luke has killed his family and himself, Aaron feels he has to attend the funeral. The drought itself becomes a character and its effects invade everything, from the devastated landscape to the fear in the people’s eyes as Aaron and the local sheriff begin to ask questions.” Many of us are hoping to see the return of Aaron Falk in a future story. (Reese Witherspoon has also snapped up the movie rights.)
George Saunders’ follow up to The Tenth of December (his NBA nominated book of short stories), the novel Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/Random House, February; LibraryReads deadline: Dec. 20), is already starting to make a splash, reeling in 17 “much love” Edelweiss votes. Jen Dayton, collection development librarian from Darien, CT, said it’s “like a literary fever dream. Told by many voices of both the living and the dead it focuses on February 22, 1862. Willie Lincoln has been laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. Abraham Lincoln, bowed by his loss and the war that is raging comes to the crypt to see his son one last time under the cover of darkness. You will find it hard to leave the world that Saunders has created behind long after you close the book.”
Two galleychatters gave major kudos to the domestic psychological novel A Separation by Katie Kitamura (PRH/Riverhead, February; LibraryReads deadline: Dec. 20). Soon after a couple quietly decides to separate, the husband disappears into a remote area of Greece, and while the wife goes on a search and rescue effort, she’s unsure if she really cares to find him. Elliott Bay Bookstore staff member Kenny Coble implored us to get a copy ASAP, and sounding like it could be compared to a popular TV show, Andrienne Cruz said, “This is a book that was almost about nothing. However, there are plenty of ideas to ponder about what makes a marriage, what makes a life.”
A book gaining attention for both teens and adults is The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson (PRH/Random House, January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov. 20), a novel that portrays high schools as a “scary, tragic place for kids and teachers” (Kaite Stover, Kansas City, MO, readers’ services librarian). Another one impressed by this novel was Jennifer Winberry from Hunterdon County Library: “Mill Valley just north of San Francisco may seem like an idyllic place to grow up, but for a group of high school juniors, all connected by the suicide of one of their peers in middle school, it is anything but. As these teenagers traverse the final years of adolescence, they are keenly observed by a first year teacher who is both fascinated by and in awe of these students, their struggles and their decisions, both good and bad.” [NOTE: The author recently chatted with librarians as part of our PRH EarlyReads program].
Chatters who were impressed with Peter Heller’s first novel, Dog Stars, were anxious to read Celine (PRH/Knopf, March; LibraryReads deadline: Jan. 20), a private eye mystery that introduces aristocratic sixty-nine year old Celine who travels to Yellowstone National Park in a camper to find a missing photographer. Susan Balla quickly finished it and said, “Heller is a master of depicting man against nature and his writing transports you into the wilds, and yes, even into the RV, with Celine and Pete. Beautifully written with wonderful, memorable characters, Celine is a fun, smart, and thoroughly enjoyable novel.”
The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy (HarperCollins/Harper, February; LibraryReads deadline: Dec. 20), a futuristic novel about channeling the dead so the living can reconnect with loved ones, has the unsettling undertones of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Jessica Chiarella’s Two Again with many moral and ethical issues for book group discussion. Kimberly McGee from Lake Travis (TX) Community Library, “Edie is a body which means she takes a lovely pill, adds something personal from the person she is channeling and helps grieving people spend time with the deceased. This futuristic thriller raises some interesting questions and moral dilemmas.”
He may be more familiar than anyone mentioned above, but mainly by librarians who adore author Nail Gaiman for both his library-loving attitude and his excellent novels. His newest, Norse Mythology (WW Norton, February; LibraryReads deadline: Dec. 20), hasn’t disappointed any early readers with Janet Lockhart leading the shout outs by saying, “Neil Gaiman retells the Norse myths with wit and a keen eye for character. Thor and Loki in particular leap off the page. Sure to please his many fans and create new admirers.”
Please join us for the spirited discussion during our next GalleyChat on Tuesday, November 1, and for updates on what I’m anticipating on Edelweiss, please friend me.