There are so many wonderful books in the world and with more published every week it can be hard to know where to start, especially on Mondays when everything is ten times harder than it usually is. So let us do the work for you. Here are the three books you need to be reading this week. You’re welcome. This week it’s A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner, and The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Image Via USA Today
The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, A Place for Us is a deeply moving and resonant story of love, identity, and belonging
As an Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister’s footsteps. And lastly, their estranged son, Amar, who returns to the family fold for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride. What secrets and betrayals have caused this close-knit family to fracture? Can Amar find his way back to the people who know and love him best?
A Place for Us takes us back to the beginning of this family’s life: from the bonds that bring them together, to the differences that pull them apart. All the joy and struggle of family life is here, from Rafiq and Layla’s own arrival in America from India, to the years in which their children—each in their own way—tread between two cultures, seeking to find their place in the world, as well as a path home.
A Place for Us is a book for our times: an astonishingly tender-hearted novel of identity and belonging, and a resonant portrait of what it means to be an American family today. It announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.
The book was an instant New York Times Bestseller, and made it on to multiple summer reading lists including Vanity Fair’s “Ultimate Summer Fiction”, Good Morning, America’s “Best Books To Bring To the Beach This Summer”
Glamour.com’s “The 17 Best Books to Read This Summer”, Buzzfeed’s “30 Summer Books To Get Excited About”
among many others.
Ron Charles of the Washington Post said: “Has a household ever been cradled in such tender attention as this novel provides? She writes with a mercy that encompasses all things. Each time I stole away into this novel, it felt like a privilege to dwell among these people, to fall back under the gentle light of Mirza’s words.”
Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
Image Via Interabang Books
In this exhilarating thriller inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer.
In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.
Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.
To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
Gardiner, three time Jeopardy! winner, former-mime, and favorite of Stephen King, has just dropped her twelfth novel, the second in the Unsub series, and it’s a cracker. Unsub is being adapted by CBS for a TV series, and so Into the Black Nowhere is only one step behind! If you’re into female-led thrillers, then this one, based on the crimes of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, is for you! Check our our Facebook Live interview with Meg here!
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Image Via Powell’s Books
From twice National Book Award–nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called “the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year” (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner’s work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. As James Wood said in The New Yorker, her fiction “succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive.”
Seemingly, everybody loves this book, even Margaret Atwood, who tweeted “Gritty, empathetic, finely rendered, no sugary toppings, and a lot of punches, none of them pulled.” The New York Times Book Review called it “A page turner… one of those books that enrage you even as they break your heart,” while it was dubbed “Brilliant and devastating… a heartbreaking, true, and nearly flawless novel” by NPR. What more need’st you?
Featured Image Via Berlin Film Festival