Three books following unconventional lives make great picks for reading groups this month.
Colm Tóibín’s new novel, Nora Webster, never strays from the quiet, deceptive simplicity of its storytelling, and yet this persuasive portrait of a compelling woman blossoms into something greater than the sum of its parts. Set in a small town in County Wexford, Ireland, in the early 1970s, it is the story of a mother navigating the first, tentative days and months of a premature widowhood.
James Joyce’s Ulysses is a novel that is both highly celebrated and much hated. Termed “diffuse” and “pretentious” by the likes of Virginia Woolf, the dense book is the subject of much debate within the literary community, with some dismissing it and others embracing it (but very few fully understanding it). Either way, it’s inarguable that Ulysses has made an indelible cultural mark since its publication in 1922. And the release of Maya Lang’s debut novel, The Sixteenth of June, provides more evidence of its lasting influence.
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, March 2014
Alice Hoffman’s latest novel has the word “extraordinary” in the title for good reason: The best-selling author of The Dovekeepers has served up another historical novel that will dazzle readers until the last page.
Oak Park, Illinois, lies at the center of journalist and NPR contributor Rachel Louise Snyder’s riveting debut novel, What We've Lost Is Nothing. This community, situated on the border between Chicago’s declining, predominantly black west side and the affluent suburbs, precariously bridges those two enclaves, with all their racial, monetary and cultural disparities. The story opens just after one quiet cul-de-sac of homes—Ilios Lane—is shocked by an afternoon of home invasions, all eight families affected to varying degrees, from a single cell phone taken, to the loss of multiple electronic devices, to one house completely trashed.
Three of the best books of 2013 are now available in paperback—and guaranteed to delight your reading group. Spanning the globe from Texas to Italy to Chechnya, these memorable stories are sure to spark discussion.
Martha Grimes—an official Grand Master crime writer—has returned. After the author was “let go” from her longtime publisher, Knopf, she responded with a best-selling novel, Foul Matter (2003), that tackled (and tore apart) the publishing industry. Now in a sequel, The Way of All Fish, Grimes continues to eviscerate the rapidly changing publishing world with her quick wit...
Best-of collections and one-of-a-kind compilations are as abundant as twinkling lights this time of year, and we’ve rounded up a few of the best new volumes. Mysteries, poetry, witticisms, mythology and more—there’s something for all kinds of readers.Whether writing about the intrusiveness of email or the futility of the war we all wage against aging, Nora Ephron infused her...
In one of the first nationally sensationalized crimes in America, conman Harry Powers sought out vulnerable widows through matrimonial agencies, courted them and then lured them to their deaths, supposedly for financial gain, though evidence suggests money was not the issue. After murdering Asta Eicher and her three children in 1931, he was caught, put on trial and executed. The lurid details...