Book Bash Choices: August '17

Quail Ridge Books
Book Club Recommendations
August 28 and 29, 2017

Fiction

The Book That Matters Most: A Novel by Ann Hood (W. W. Norton $15.95). Ava is dealing with a failed marriage, the weight of a childhood sorrow and a troubled college-age daughter. Trying to reconnect with life, Ava joins a book club. This is a story of love and loss; a search for identity, trust and truth. (Samantha)

The Dark Dark: Stories by Samantha Hunt (FSG $15). This new collection of short stories includes one from a recent issue of The New Yorker that really wowed me. It made me think about the strength of women and the power of motherhood. All the stories are funny, thoughtful, and strange. (Tony)

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal (William Morrow $26.99; paperback due March 2018 $15.99). Jaswal’s novel is an engaging contemporary exploration of the clash between generations (parent/child), culture (Indian/British/British-born Indian), tradition versus updated ideas, expectation versus reality, and lies versus truth. A sobering murder mystery. (Broche)

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Penguin $16). Many critics consider this the best ghost story of the twentieth century. It is a psychological thriller in which one constantly questions whether the haunting comes from without or within. With each page, the boundaries between the natural and supernatural shift. (Samantha)

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Mariner Books $14.99). The story of a lonely man and his dog in an Irish seaside town, this book brought me to tears even as it reminded me of the simple joy of being alive. (Tony)

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Knopf $25.95). This compelling story, set in Nigeria, examines cultural expectations, marriage, loss, grief, motherhood and love. Shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. (Abbe)

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Penguin $17). This novel begins in a dance class, where the unnamed main character meets Tracey, a girl very different from her. As the novel “swings” back and forth between continents and years, the two friends weave in and out of each other’s lives, and the narrator searches for her place in the world apart from the overbearing women in her life. (Mamie)

 

Nonfiction

American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin (Anchor $16.95). An eye-opening reminder of the homegrown terrorism of the 1970s and the sympathy that many had for it. Also an interesting story of mind-changing and privilege. (Kent)

How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton (Vintage $16). De Botton is such a fine writer. This book is an odd combination of biography, literary review and self-help book. Most entertaining! (Abbe)

The Real Peter Pan, James Barrie and the Boy who Inspired Him by Piers Dudgeon (Thomas Dunne Books $27.99). The story of Peter Pan and James Barrie has been an interest of mine for a very long time. This book gives you the "truth" about Barrie and his affiliation with the Llewellyn Davies boys and the story of Peter Pan. (Lisa)

Speak and Speak Again, Jaynie Royal, Michelle Esquillo, Ruth Feiertag, Editors (Regal House $12). This anthology of essays, articles, poems, and short stories draws its title from Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem entitled "Protest." Powerful! Net proceeds from sale of this book are donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Lisa)

The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam by Jerry Brotton (Penguin $18). How Elizabethan England traded and allied with the Muslim world, influencing Shakespeare and others to work the interrelationships of Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Jews into their plays. (Kent)

 

Young Adult Literature

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (Harper Teen $9.99). "My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted." So begins this Printz Award-winning YA novel. Before Taylor Markham realizes it, she's the reluctant leader of an underground school gang, trying to piece together her faulty memory of what happened before she came to boarding school. (Broche)

 

Poetry

The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe (W. W. Norton $16.95). What a magnificent collection of poetry! Marie Howe has captured what it means to be alive in our time, with all its beauty and challenges. Perfect for book club openings (and for a gift to a cherished friend). (Mamie)