Now that Daylight Savings Time has ended and the nights are long and
cold, I'm getting ready to spend my evenings hunkered down with a pot of
tea and a stack of good books. Here are some of my must-read titles
from November's releases.
Dark Tales for Dark Nights
Although Watchers of the Dark by Joseph Nassie (Tor; ISBN-13: 9780765327208) may be a little scary for me, I don't think I'll be able to resist its intriguing genre mix of urban fantasy and thriller. In this third Jeremiah Hunt book, our hero finds himself at the gates of hell, hoping he can survive the cost of keeping them shut forever. A different kind of darkness is found in Ronald Frame's Havisham (St. Martin's Press / Picador; ISBN-13: 9781250037275), which imagines how young, wealthy Catherine Havisham was transformed into the mysterious Miss Havisham of Dickens's Great Expectations. I'm curious about what changed her from a carefree girl into a woman who haunted her own mansion. Keeping with the dark theme, I'm looking forward to Charles Palliser's new Gothic tale, Rustication (Norton; ISBN-13: 9780393088724). When seventeen-year-old Richard Shenstone is sent down from Cambridge, he relocates to a ramshackle mansion with his mother and sister. Soon after, the village experiences a number of disturbing incidents from petty crime to gruesome murder. All eyes turn to Richard, an opium addict who can barely control his sexual urges.
Family in All Its Guises
I don't know if I need to tell any of you how much I love Adriana Trigiani. She is one of the nicest, most generous people I've ever met. Her newest novel, The Supreme Macaroni Company (HarperCollins / Harper; ISBN-13 9780062136589), focuses on some of my favorite themes: family, love, and emigration. I can't wait to revisit Valentine and travel the world through Trigiani's words. I was thrilled to have had the chance to meet Wally Lamb at BEA this year, and his We Are Water (HarperCollins / Harper; ISBN-13: 9780061941023) is on the top of my reading list. This contemporary novel explores issues of sexuality, parenthood, class, and politics. I particularly love the fact that the story is told from multiple points of view, giving us a well-rounded perspective of a family in crisis. Inappropriate teacher–student relationships is a popular theme this year and is also at the core of Kristina Riggle's The Whole Golden World (HarperCollins / William Morrow; ISBN-13: 9780062206459). The story explores the consequences not only of the affair once it's discovered but also of seventeen-year-old Morgan's decision to stand up for her schoolteacher/lover.
A Nonfiction Duo
After reading the summary of Wendy Lawless's memoir, Chanel Bonfire (Simon & Schuster / Gallery Books; ISBN-13: 9781476745480), I was surprised she survived her childhood with enough groundedness to have had a successful acting career. Lawless shares the difficulties of dealing with a horribly disturbed mother while protecting her younger sister and of her ultimate, painful decision to find her own path. Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie, edited by Peggy Wolff (University of Nebraska Press; ISBN-13: 9780803236455) was another great BEA discovery. In this collection of essays a variety of Midwest authors share stories and thoughts on food, from small town to city to county fair. I can't wait to settle in with this slim volume and then share my thoughts with you in a Weekend Cooking post.