Welcome back book lovers! It’s a new week – albeit one that feels a lot like the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that – and I’ve got three new reads for you to devour, enjoy, and share (from a distance of course). Let’s get into it.
by Madeleine L’Engle
This powerful collection of short stories traces an emotional arc inspired by Madeleine L’Engle’s early life and career, from her lonely childhood in New York to her life as a mother in small-town Connecticut. In a selection of eighteen stories discovered by one of L’Engle’s granddaughters, we see how L’Engle’s personal experiences and abiding faith informed the creation of her many cherished works.
Some of these stories have never been published; others were refashioned into scenes for her novels and memoirs. Almost all were written in the 1940s and ’50s, from Madeleine’s college years until just before the publication of A Wrinkle in Time.
From realism to science-fiction to fantasy, there is something for everyone in this magical collection.
This collection gives an incredible insight into Madeleine L’Engle’s early years and the career that followed. It brilliantly depicts a spiritual woman and illustrates her craft as a writer. There’s a genre aspect in there for all kinds of preferences. At its’ heart, there’s a focus on the importance of joy and hope, and if there was ever a time or climate for more of both, it’s now.
Few fantasy writers had as indelible an influence on a certain tribe of bookish, introverted, curious children during the 20th century as the great L’Engle . . . for fans of L’Engle, [these stories] allow us a window into her process of writing fantasy, which she called the ‘one and only language in the world that cuts across all barriers of time, place, race, and culture.
―The Millions, Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2020 Book Preview
Coffee Shop Read
by Christina McDonald
If you can’t remember it, how do you prove you didn’t do it?
Eva Hansen wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and discovers her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street. She can’t remember what happened but the police are highly suspicious of her.
Determined to clear her name, Eva heads from Seattle to London—Kat’s former home—for answers. But as she unravels her mother’s carefully held secrets, Eva soon realizes that someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. And with violent memories beginning to emerge, Eva doesn’t know who to trust. Least of all herself.
Told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s search for answers and Kat’s mysterious past, Christina McDonald has crafted another “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) domestic thriller. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell’s I Found You and Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of Her, Behind Every Lie explores the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships, family trauma, and the danger behind long-held secrets.
This novel is a wild ride from start to finish, and one that will keep you up at night. With a complex investigation of the familial relationships that bind us together with our mothers, the danger of keeping secrets, and a questioning of what trust really means, the novel is a thrilling and insightful one.
Christina McDonald’s Behind Every Lie is a layered, gut-wrenching domestic thriller that explores the complexities of mothers and daughters and the secrets families keep. Smart and intense, and with more than enough twists to give you whiplash, McDonald’s beautiful, emotional storytelling will leave you breathless. I don’t think I exhaled until the end.
―Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts, ITW Award winner for Best Novel.
By Lee Durkee
Written by a former cabbie, The Last Taxi Driver is a darkly comic novel about a middle-aged hackie’s daylong descent into madness, heartbreak, and murder. Lou―a lapsed novelist and UFO aficionado―drives 70-hour weeks for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a north Mississippi college town among the trailer parks and housing projects. With Uber moving into town and his way of life fast vanishing, his girlfriend moving out on him, and his archenemy-dispatcher suddenly returning to the state on the lam, Lou must keep driving his way through a bedlam shift even when that means aiding and abetting the host of criminal misfits haunting the back seat of his Town Car. Shedding nuts and bolts at every turn, The Last Taxi Driver careens through the highways and back roads, from Mississippi to Memphis and back, as Lou becomes increasingly somnambulant and his fares increasingly eccentric. Equal parts Bukowski and Portis, Durkee’s novel is an homage to a dying American industry.
The darkly comic nature of this novel is emblematic of Durkee’s original and nuanced style. Both entertaining and profound, the story of Lou and his descent into madness and more will leave you amused, concerned, and even changed. It is a short enough read that you might manage to get through on a particularly long Uber ride, but you didn’t hear that from me.
A wild, funny, poetic fever-dream that will change the way you think about America. Durkee is a true original–a wise and wildly talented writer who knows something profound about that special strain of American darkness that comes out of blended paucity, materialism, and addiction–but also, in the joy and honesty and wit of the prose, he offers a way out. I loved this book and felt jangled and inspired and changed by it.
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all images via amazon//bookstr
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