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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...
This haunting and surreal novel, though a cult favorite in its native Italy, has been generally unknown to American readers since its publication in 1977. Written at a time of rampant right- and left-wing terrorism, the story follows an investigator as he tries to reconstruct a twenty-day period of mass insomnia in which the inflicted are attacked and murdered by giant, unseen entities. Far too much satire and subtext to mention here. Presented in English for the first time by translator Roman Glazov.
The Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio De Maria ($24.95*, Liveright Publishing Corporation), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
It's never too soon for a Christmas romance, and Shalvis is my favorite author for sexy romance and holiday magic. I love the characters of Heartbreaker Bay, and YA author Colbie was a perfect fit for the sexy and nerdy Spence. From their first meet cute to their first...well, you know, I was entranced with their story. Throw in a sassy cat, meddling friends, and crazy family members, and you have a book that's better than any Hallmark Christmas movie ever!
Chasing Christmas Eve: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel by Jill Shalvis ($7.99*, Avon Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.
An excerpt from Lemuria Books' blog: I recently told someone that Fresh Complaint, Jeffery Eugenides’ new collection of short stories, is so well-written I could cry. I lied.
I had already cried, specifically while sitting by my apartment’s swimming pool and reading the story “Early Music.” I don’t think anyone saw, but if they had, I would have told them the truth–that one of my favorite authors has reminded me how much I love books, and that I am not sure I will ever be so passionate about anything else.
[...] If you crave intimacy with a character the way I do, you will not get enough of his Eugenides’ writing. On the other hand, the amount of detail is intimidating. People shy away from his novels because they think they are too long, or too detailed, or too boring (none of which are true). I was a bit apprehensive that his short stories wouldn’t incorporate the trademark detail and introspection. But this is exactly why his short stories work so well. In just a few pages, Eugenides is able to capture a person, their entire life, and boil it down to the important scenarios. If you have been intimidated by the sheer length of Middlesex, or bored by the idea of The Marriage Plot, or put-off by the subject of The Virgin Suicides, this is the collection for you. It’s time to stop being afraid and pick up Fresh Complaint.
Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides ($27.00*, Farrar Straus Giroux), recommended by Lemuria Books, Jacksonville, MS.
A fast-paced little noir that constantly circles around the conventions of its genre (sex, drugs, murder), and instead manages to become more of a meditation on hopeless desire than a pure, simple crime novel.
Day In, Day Out by Hector Aguilar Camin ($14.95*, Schaffner Press), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC.
A young, unmarried pregnant woman. Sound familiar? I started the year reading about one in Kevin Wilson's Perfect Little World. But the main character in Louise Erdrich's new dystopian novel Future Home of the Living God, Cedar Hawk Songwriter, faces completely different obstacles for her and her unborn child. A descendant of Ojibwe Indians and adopted by a liberal white couple, Songwriter's world is one where evolution has stopped and the days are full of uncertainty and strange, threatening people and creatures. As she wrestles with what the future holds, she juggles relationships with the father of her child, her birth family and her adoptive family. Food for thought about what the world might look like in the not-too-distant future.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich ($28.99*, Harper), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
From a young reader at Page 158 Books: "It is one of the best books I have read for some time. This book spoke to me in so many different ways: my emotions, my knowledge of history, my passion for books, and my heart."
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, Lilit Thwaites (Translator), ($19.99*, Henroy Holt & Company), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.
Book one in The Guardian series by Karen Robards, The Ultimatum (MIRA $26.99), kept me on the edge of my seat. It was funny and witty, which aren't always the same thing. It was badass while leaving room for emotions, was detailed without boring me, and Bianca St. Ives was fierce, sexy, smart, and alluring. It has the richest of backstories which is developed slowly over the course of this fast-paced thriller, including a shocking reveal at the end, of course, meaning I am counting down the days until book two. This is the first Karen Robards I've ever read and I am proud to admit I am a new KR/Bianca St. Ives convert.
The Ultimatum by Karen Robards ($26.99*, Mira Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.