My Winter/Spring 2014 Reading List

Time to leave the winter Netlfix coma, and find some inspiration in the written word! I plan to read, at the very least, these ten books in the next few months. I am really looking forward to these titles, a few of which will come out on film this year, now to finish the daunting length of A Dance with Dragons so I can get started!

1. Serena

(Ron Rash)

Image

The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband’s life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Rash’s masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.

(Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, again.)

2. The Loudest Voice in the Room

(Gabriel Sherman)

Image

The astonishing inside story of Fox News, the most powerful media and political business in the world, from one of the hottest young investigative journalists today. The story of Fox News’ ascent is an epic story of political power, business success, brass-knuckle tactics, and old-school showmanship.

(I listened to Sherman’s interview the other day on NPR, and it was fascinating.)

3. Summer in the South

(Cathy Holton)

Image

Cathy Holton, author of the popular Beach Trip, returns with an intriguing and mysterious tale of dark deeds and family secrets in a small Southern town. After a personal tragedy, Chicago writer Ava Dabrowski quits her job to spend the summer in Woodburn, Tennessee, at the invitation of her old college friend Will Fraser and his two great-aunts, Josephine and Fanny Woodburn. Her charming hosts offer Ava a chance to relax at their idyllic ancestral estate, Woodburn Hall, while working on her first novel.

4. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)

(Deborah Harkness)

Image

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they re­unite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its miss­ing pages takes on even more urgency. In the tril­ogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences.

(This book and its description make much more sense after reading the first two.)

5. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

(Jenny Lawson)

Image

For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut. Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us.

6. The Monsters of Templeton

(Lauren Groff)

Image

On the very morning Willie Upton slinks home to Templeton, New York (after a calamitous affair with her archeology professor), the 50-foot-long body of a monster floats from the depths of the town’s lake. This unsettling coincidence sets the stage for one of the most original debut novels since The Time Traveler’s Wife. With a clue to the mysterious identity of her father in hand, Willie turns her research skills to unearthing the secrets of the town in letters and pictures (which, “reproduced” in the book along with increasingly complete family trees, lend an air of historical authenticity). Lauren Groff’s endearingly feisty characters imbue the story with enough intrigue to keep readers up long past bedtime, and reading groups will find much to discuss in its themes of “monsters,” both in our towns and our families.

7. The Devil’s Knot

(Mara Leveritt)

Image

“Free the West Memphis Three.” Maybe you’ve heard the phrase. But do you know why their story is so alarming? Do you know the facts? The guilty verdicts handed out to three Arkansas teens in a horrific capital murder case were popular in their home state — even upheld on appeal. But after two HBO documentaries called attention to the witch-hunt atmosphere at the trials, artists and other supporters raised concerns about the accompanying lack of evidence. Now, award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt provides the most comprehensive look yet into this endlessly shocking case. (Soon to be movie, with Reese Witherspoon.)

8. At the Bottom of Everything

(Ben Dolnik)

Image

It’s been ten years since the “incident,” and Adam has long decided he’s better off without his former best friend, Thomas. Adam is working as a tutor, sleeping with the mother of a student, spending lonely nights looking up his ex-girlfriend on Facebook, and pretending that he has some more meaningful plan for an adult life. But when he receives an email from Thomas’s mother begging for his help, he finds himself drawn back into his old friend’s world, and to the past he’s tried so desperately to forget. As Adam embarks upon a magnificently strange and unlikely journey, Ben Dolnick unspools a tale of spiritual reckoning, of search and escape, of longing and reaching for redemption-a tale of near hallucinatory power.

9. I totally Meant to do That

(Jane Borden)

Image

Jane Borden is a hybrid too horrifying to exist: a hipster-debutante. She was reared in a propert Southern home in Greensboro, North Carolina, sent to boarding school in Virginia, and then went on to join a sorority in Chapel Hill. She next moved to New York and discovered that none of this grooming meant a lick to anyone. In fact, she hid her upbringing for many years–it was easier than explaining what a debutante “does” (the short answer: not much). Anyone who has moved away from home or lived in (or dreamed of living in) New York will appreciate the hilarity of Jane’s musings on the intersections of and altercations between Southern hospitality and Gotham cool.

10. Cutting Teeth

(Julia Fierro)

Image

    Cutting Teeth captures the complex dilemmas of early mid-life—the vicissitudes of friendship, of romantic and familial love, and of sex. It confronts class tension, status hunger, and the unease of being in possession of life’s greatest bounty while still wondering, is this as good as it gets? It exposes the motives that drive us to commit the bad behaviors we thought we’d left behind in our 20s, and reveals the damage those mistakes inflict. And, perhaps most of all, Julia Fierro’s thought-provoking debut explores the all-consuming love we feel for those we need most, and the sacrifice and self-compromise that underpins that love. All this is packed into a page-turning, character-driven novel that crackles with life and unexpected twists and turns that will keep readers glued as they cringe and laugh with compassion, incredulousness, and, most of all, self-recognition. Cutting Teeth is a warm, whip-smart and unpretentious literary novel, perfect for readers of Tom Perrotta and Meg Wolitzer.

(All pictures and descriptions of book content were taken from goodreads.com)

Advertisements