I’ve been spending far too much time on book sites this month, and I’m working up quite an epic list of books to read. I thought I’d share a few that have caught my eye during the past month.
Click on book covers to view on Amazon US, and titles to view on Amazon UK.
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh(UK link)
Genre: Crime, thriller, mystery
A lonely young woman working in a boys prison outside Boston in the early 60's is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction: "So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to use his name for such a place feels appropriate. In a week, I would run away from home and never go back. This is the story of how I disappeared."
Nelly Dean by Alison Case (UK link)
Genre: Historical fiction
A reworking of life at Wuthering Heights, as seen through the eyes of the housekeeper. Wuthering Heights is my favourite ever book ever. I have already destroyed 3 copies from overuse, and am currently on my 4th. I therefore have an actual real need to read this book and see how it measures up. Can Alison Case pull it off as well as Jean Rhys did with her Jane Eyre prequel? I can’t wait to find out.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (UK link)
Genre: Contemporary fiction
A Little Life is an epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever travelled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (UK link)
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, steampunk, adventure (?)
The inability to categorize this novel into a suitable genre alone makes me want to read it. Set in the late 19th century--when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable's high-quality bordello. Through Karen's eyes we get to know the other girls in the house--a resourceful group--and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone's mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap--a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen's own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science. Currently available to pre-order for January release.
The Emperor's Blades (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne) by Brian Staveley (UK link)
It’s been a good while since I’ve dived headfirst into a good fantasy series, and George R. R. Martin is taking too long to finish what he started, so I’ve wishlisted The Emperor’s Blades ready for some epic escapism.
The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test. At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing--and risk everything--to see that justice is meted out.
Subversive Cross Stitch : 50 Designs for Your Sassy Side (Only UK links for this one; sorry!)
I used to love a bit of cross-stitch, back when my kids were younger and I had more time on my hands. The recent movement away from cutesy and historical samplers is an inspiring one, and Julie Jackson is more inspiring than most. Subversive Cross Stitch began in the spring of 2003 as a form of anger management therapy when Jackson was dealing with a cruel bully of a boss. At her wit's end and in dire need of some art therapy, she stopped by a craft store on the way home from work one day and picked up an ornate sampler. Once she finished the intricate border of pink flowers, she decided to stitch the word """"F*%k"""" right in the centre. With a teenage daughter in my house, that is the kind of therapy I need on a daily basis.