Sex Object’s plain talk and bold thoughts aim to provoke and prod you into truth and self-reflection. Jessica Valenti’s writing takes on slut-shaming and sexism.
Amy Schumer’s particular genius is on full display in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. Shying away from nothing, the comedian will provoke shock and awe.
When in French, Lauren Collins memoir of falling in love with a foreigner, is breezy, insightful and fun. The normal chasm of male/female communication is compounded by cultural differences for better or for worse.
The Fortress also focuses on a marriage between two people from different cultures, and the ensuing complications. Danielle Trussoni’s story is sadder and darker than Lauren Collins’, but equally engrossing.
A new genre of Chick Lit has emerged and it’s full of thrills and chills. I Let You Go, by Clare Mackintosh, assumes the mantle worn by Gone Girl and Girl on the Train.
Boston, seedy and bursting with character takes center stage in Michael Harvey’s Brighton. Family, secrets and murder make this story sing.
Tana French’s The Trespasser is so fun to read, you will be sorry when it’s over. This procedural novel crackles with specificity and a terrific lead character.
Modern noir is hard to do but The Big Drop happens to make it look easy. Ryan Gattis sets the scene in L.A.’s Little Tokyo and salts it with Yakuza culture: gorgeous!
The beauty of compilations, of any kind, is being able to catch up on a myriad of stuff you might otherwise have missed. The Best American Magazine Writing 2015 is no exception. Beginning with Ta-nehisi Coates’ brilliant essay on reparations and ending with a poignant New Yorker piece, this collection lets you be in the know without having to scramble through endless material.
Roald Dahl’s (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) superior writing style comes through even in correspondence. His letters to his mom crackle with wit and insight in Love From Boy.
Comical yet realistic enough to make you pause, Maria Semple’s writing is a pure pleasure. Today Will Be Different will resonate with anyone who wakes up everyday thinking…TODAY will be different.
Kent Haruf’s small town in Colorado somehow expands to encompass all of human feeling in Our Souls at Night. Be prepared to reaffirm your faith in love.
Taking the path less traveled, 20-year-old Gus Orviston focuses completely on fly-fishing. David James Duncan’s The River Why is a coming of age story that everyone will relate to.
Julian Fellowes, famous for the delicious Downton Abbey, brings his brand of magic to fiction, with Belgravia. Wealth, drama and Victorian England make for a perfect autumn cocktail.
Sometimes a vacation sounds like a good idea, but in fact should be avoided at all cost. Such is the case with Delia Ephron’s compelling Siracusa.
Frothy without being silly, Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers mulls romance from a variety of angles. Funny, insightful and strangely realistic, this romp of a book is perfect for a weekend staycation.
The L.A. Riots come back to life with startling intensity in Ryan Gattis’s All Involved. This fictional account crackles like a thriller.
A backdrop of dread illuminates one couple’s relationship in Hannah Pittard’s Listen to Me. This tale of a road trip gone awry, marks a turning point in more ways than one.
Not quite 40-year-old virgin, Julia Greenfield reaches the age of 26 and can’t believe she has yet to have sex. In Losing It, by Emma Rathbone, she is determined to rectify the situation.
Brutal in its honest prose and harsh reality, Alexander Maksik’s Shelter in Place sticks to your ribs like steak and mashed potatoes. Mental illness, intertwined with growing up and growing old, proves more haunting than any ghost story.
Best known for being an influence of Kafka, Swiss writer Robert Walser is a neglected master of the short story. The new collection Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories features dozens of Walser’s brief, idiosyncratic pieces. Spanning his career, these sketches bring a quirky poet’s eye to everyday life.
Definitely not light reading, Philippe Sands’ East West Street, delves into the darkest corners of humanity’s collective soul. Focusing on the origins of “crimes against humanity” and “genocide,” this profound work aims to shed some light on the supposedly unthinkable.
Not your usual book on writing, Lisa Cron’s Story Genius uses insights from neuroscience to break down how a story works on readers. If you’re feeling stuck with your writing, this might just be the eye opener you need.
Looking for a spooky read this Halloween? In The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, editor Paula Guran has collected the most spine-tingling recent short fiction by Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Gemma Files, Damien Angelica Walters and many more.
Go with a classic Halloween read in the greatest haunted house novel ever, The Haunting of Hill House, now available in beautiful new edition in honor of Shirley Jackson’s centennial.
With his new collection, Not So Much, Said the Cat, Michael Swanwick once again proves himself one of science fiction’s most consistently imaginative and versatile short story writers, ranging from time travellers in the Mesozoic to obsolete A.I.s put out to pasture.
Two of the most exciting young writers in science fiction, frequent collaborators Caroline M. Yoachim and Tina Connolly both release their debut story collections. Ranging from flash fiction to longer works, both collections are brimming with fun ideas, wit and heart. Connolly’s On the Eyeball Floor features a riff on Choose Your Own Adventure books where your choices invariably end in heartbreak -- and being eaten. One of the standouts in Yoachim’s Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World uses the five stages of grief to structure a mosaic of the aftermath of an alien invasion.
Best known for his story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” James Thurber turned his singular wit to the fantasy novel in The 13 Clocks. Full of delightful wordplay and imagination, this hidden gem gets a beautiful new deluxe edition from Penguin, featuring the original gorgeous illustrations.