Book lovers and Obama supporters alike wait with anticipation every year to hear Barrack Obama’s book picks for that summer. Fortunately, you now have another round of books to choose from thanks to Michelle who has a few book recommendations of her own. Despite your ever-growing to-be-read pile, when Michelle Obama tells you to read a certain book, you listen!
Following the release of her own memoir, Becoming, Michelle reveals eight more must-reads in her “By the Book” interview, published on December 6, 2018 in the New York Times. Other titles come from an interview with Jenna Bush Hager and a memorial posted on Instagram for what would have been a Holocaust victim’s ninetieth birthday.
Before the major motion picture, Rachel was just a girl who liked to ride the train everyday to London and back. It’s definitely not because the train passes her ex-husband’s house or the because she can see the perfect couple she envies so who live a few houses down. Definitely not.
A reader always wants to feel like they know the narrator from their favorite books. We want to be able to trust the characters we have grown to love. But certain genres—mainly thrillers or horror novels—benefit from a first person perspective that may not always be the most reliable.
In these novels, the author manipulates their storytellers to build up a false sense of trust with the reader that lends to twists, turns and surprises. Don’t trust everything these lead characters have to say…or do…
Made famous with a 2014 film adaptation, Gillian Flynn’s family thriller follows Amy through her thoughts, actions, journals and eventual disappearance. Flynn conjures up a shifty relationship between the reader and Amy as we struggle to label Amy as a villain, a hero or something in between. Gillian’s thought-provoking adventure into Amy’s mind makes the reader furl in frustration as arguably the most famous unreliable narrator in recent literary history.
Also donned with a film adaptation, Paula Hawkins creates a similar air of mystery and distrust surrounding every character in her London based thriller. Rachel’s alcoholism and failed marriage evoke sympathy in the reader…
…before learning of her history of stalking as well as breaking and entering. As Rachel interacts with police after a disappearance, the reader grapples with what is fact and what is Rachel’s booze clouded fantasy.
Sarah Pinborough’s domestic thriller seems similar to those which came before with a husband, a wife and another woman. Always another woman. However, Pinborough artfully bends and twists her characters so soon you forget who you were supposed to trust at the beginning.
Even the most seasoned thriller bookworm detectives fall short at guessing the end of this confusing, mysterious and certainly distrustful novel. This ending will stick with you…trust me.
This film is so important that it’s almost surprising that Disney’s mascot isn’t a girl in a glass coffin.
Image Via Empire
Flash forward and Snow White and getting a live action remake. Will Marc Webb direct it? Despite his stint with the Amazing Spider-man series being less than spectacular (Thanks, Sony!), he’s directed some great flicks.
After the Amazing Spider-Man films, his 2017 film about an intelligent seven-year-old who becomes the subject of a custody battle between her uncle and grandmother entitled Giftedgrossed a whopping 43 million off of a $7 million budget, with Star Tribute writing , “Sure, it’s a simple, straightforward film, but sometimes that’s all you need as long as its heart is true” and with Richard Roeper saying, “Giftedisn’t the best or most sophisticated or most original film of the year so far – but it just might be my favorite”.
Maybe it’s time Marc Webb took on the reigns of a bigger film. Luckily, he won’t be alone. This isn’t a one man show, after all, it’s a movie.
Master of Suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock once said “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it,” and while there are countless authors seeking to instill in their readers the terror and anticipation of which Hitchcock spoke, there are only some who really stand out, who take risks and elevate the art of thrilling readers. Here are the top five thriller writers who are taking things to the next level.
1. Peter James
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One of the biggest names in thriller writing in the UK and Ireland, Peter James is about to hit the US, and you better be ready. Having received his first writing accolade in school, this murder mystery powerhouse has won coveted awards almost every year since 1999, and doesn’t show signs of stopping. Brace yourself for some big numbers: James is best known as the author of the Roy Grace series, which is comprised of nineteen books and counting, and has sold a cool 19 million copies worldwide, as well as earning him the number one spots in countries including the UK, Canada, Russia and Germany and being translated into thirty-seven languages. It doesn’t stop there. James has over twenty additional novels under his belt, as well as a non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking: Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton, and has also been involved in the making of no less than twenty-six movies including A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and The Bridge of San Luis Rey, starring Robert De Niro. All in a day’s work.
James’s latest contribution to the world of thriller writing is his exciting new novel Absolute Proof. What would you do if someone told you they had absolute proof of God’s existence? That is the question posed by James in what Lee Child has called “the best what-if thriller since TheDa Vinci Code.” Investigative journalist Ross Hunter receives the following phone call that will change his life forever…
‘I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.’
“What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what,” asks James, “would be the consequences? The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence…”
Don’t miss your chance to win your name in a Peter James novel, signed copies of Absolute Proof and more thrilling Peter James goodies!
2. Paula Hawkins
Image Via Daily Express
You’re probably familiar with Paula Hawkins’ phenomenon The Girl on the Train, which was made into a crazy-successful film starring Emily Blunt. But can you fathom how successful the book was, even without the film? The Girl on the Train debuted at number one on The New York Times Bestsellers list, where it spent thirteen consecutive weeks. In its first year, the book sold well over 1.5 million copies, and occupied the number one spot of the UK hardback book chart for twenty weeks, the longest any book has ever held the top spot.
The Girl on the Train was the first book she published as Paula Hawkins, however it was not her first published work. She wrote several romance novels under the pseudonym Amy Silver, as well as a financial advice book for women entitled The Money Goddess. Her second book as Hawkins, Into the Water, had a lot to live up to, however also became a bestseller and in February 2017, before it was first published, DreamWorks’ parent Amblin Partners purchased the film rights, with La La Land‘s Mark Platt and Jared LeBoff as producers. If you’ve seen The Girl on the Train film, you’ll be excited for this. As USA Today notes, “Hawkins, influenced by Hitchcock, has a cinematic eye and an ear for eerie, evocative language.”
3. Tana French
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A favorite author of none other than Stephen King, Irish-American author Tana French is best known for her Dublin Detectives series, which follows the homicide detectives of Dublin as they investigate strange and unusual crimes around Ireland. Her best book (in this writer’s opinion) is The Secret Place, an absolutely stunning mixture of thriller, bildungsroman, murder mystery and, unexpectedly, but so well executed, magic surrealism that will keep you entirely hooked until the end. The combination of themes and genres she weaves together really sets her apart, and ensures that no two of her novels bear much similarity to one another, beyond their consistently gripping plots, believable characters and, as King would have it, ‘incandescent’ prose.
Her latest offering, The Witch Elm, described by the New York Times as “her most intricately nuanced novel yet” follows a young man who goes to his dying uncle’s home to recover from an attack that left him near dead. However when a skull is unearthed beneath a tree on the house’s grounds, family secrets come to the surface.
4. Jessica Knoll
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Jessica Knoll is an author who hit the big time straight off the mark. Her debut thriller Luckiest Girl Alivebecame an instant New York Times bestseller, selling 450,000 copies, and remaining on best-seller lists for four months. It was then optioned for film by Lionsgate, with none other than Reese Witherspoon set to produce. And all this for good reason; Knoll has also become a voice for survivors of sexual assault, having opened up about the gang-rape she suffered when she was fifteen, which informed Luckiest Girl Alive. Her willingness to be candid and open about her experiences has no doubt helped and inspired many survivors, and she is undoubtedly taking things to the next level with her brave, unflinching writing and honesty.
Apart from her literary success, over the course of her career Knoll has held the position of senior editor at Cosmopolitan and the articles editor at Self, which are incredibly impressive roles in themselves. Her second novel, The Favorite Sister, dubbed “deliciously savage and wildly entertaining”by People Magazine who named it their Book of the Week, also sat happily on bestseller lists around the world following its release in May 2018. By the following month, a TV adaptation from the producers of Big Little Lieshad been announced.
5. Stuart Turton
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Despite having only one book out, what a book it is! Turton’s debut, The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a high-concept thriller that has already been optioned for TV! Described as “Cluedo meets The Matrix meets Agatha Christie meets the reinvention of Sherlock Holmes as a TV series”, Evelyn Hardcastle follows an amnesiac who finds himself caught in a Groundhog Day-style game of real life Cluedo, in which he relives the death of Evelyn Hardcastle from the various perspectives of the potential culprits every day. As you can imagine, the book is doing rather well.
Following its appearance on the Sunday Times Bestseller list, it went on to win the Books Are My Bag Novel Award 2018, as well as being shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018. As if that wasn’t enough, it made it onto various Must Read Books of 2018 lists, including those of Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. But it wasn’t even all of this praise that led to the next big thing for Turton. Before the book was even released, the TV rights were optioned by House Productions. Phew!