Although he speaks repeatedly of his “two Italies”—a phrase he borrows from the poet Shelley—Joseph Luzzi is neither fully at home among the coarse elements of Calabrian culture his immigrant parents brought with them to America nor within the borders of Italy itself, what with its infuriating mix of high art and low purpose. But it is this unresolved quality of Luzzi’s musings—the back and forth tugging of a splendid mind—that makes this book so alive and such a pleasure to read.
Emily Gould has built a career as a blogger for her own Emily Magazine and Gawker, as well as the part owner of Emily Books. She is also author of the memoir, And the Heart Says Whatever. With her first novel, Friendship, Gould turns her eye toward the spectacle of female adulthood friendships.
Senior year is a stressful time, especially at the prestigious St. Joan’s Academy for Girls, outside of Boston. Between prepping for AP History pop quizzes, jostling for class rank and trying not to compete with her friends for top college acceptances, Colleen has enough on her mind even before a mysterious illness suddenly strikes the most popular girls in school. A media frenzy follows as more and more students show strange and varied symptoms. Possible explanations abound, but none seem right to Colleen until she makes an extraordinary connection.
In One Plus One, British novelist Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) once again introduces her readers to two mismatched lovers who have troubles of their own but find a safe haven in each other.
World War II-era nurse Claire Randall stumbled through a stone circle into the 18th century—and straight into the hearts of readers, who have gobbled up Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series since its 1991 debut. Gabaldon returned this summer with Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, the eighth book in the series—and this month the first book, Outlander, has been turned into a TV series that will air on Starz. We asked Gabaldon a few questions about the series and the new book.
The creators of The Three Ninja Pigs kick up the high—or rather hi-yah—intensity with another fractured fairy tale. Starting where the previous book ended, the hungry and defeated wolf secretly enrolls in a martial arts school, where he “jackknifed and flipped / and at last felt equipped / to once again catch a good meal.” When he meets Red deep in a bamboo forest, the carnivore quickly thinks up a plan to score a treat.
War and Peace. The very title incites both awe and no small measure of dread in many a reader’s heart. Indisputably one of the major achievements of the western literary canon—many would argue the greatest—Tolstoy’s masterwork is daunting in length and scope. At some 1,500 pages (depending on the typeface, of course), divided into 361 chapters, with nearly 600 characters, its sprawling narrative spans the eight years of Napoleon’s 1805-1812 invasion of Russia and beyond. It is a perennial bestseller, but how many who buy it actually read it?
Whether they feel watching eyes or hear the sound of quickening footsteps behind them, the potential victims in these unnerving stories sense a predator’s approach, and so can we. As these characters hurry to the relative safety of their homes and rush to lock the doors behind them, readers of these smart and suspenseful books will be turning pages faster and faster in hopes of catching the criminal before it’s too late.
At the age of 12, when his father was imprisoned for not paying his debts, Charles Dickens was sent to work in a factory. He walked to his job, to his meager lodgings, to find his dinner in a market stall and to visit Marshalsea prison, where the rest of his family was living. Dickens never lost this habit of walking. And as Judith Flanders reveals in her stunning new book, The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London, the sights, sounds and smells of the city that infuse his novels were not simply the work of a brilliant imagination but “the reportage of a great observer.”
R.J. Ellory's standout new novel, Saints of New York, is our July 2014 Top Pick in Mystery. Past and present storylines are equally compelling in this vast and beautifully written novel. We chatted with the British author via email about his masterful new work.
The characters in Saints of New York—from the corrupt cops to the good cops—are all extremely flawed. They’re also surrounded by a world that is extremely dark, and even the “saints” are far from saintly. Was this a difficult book to write?
I think it’s an honest book, and I try to imbue every book I write with that kind of analysis and exposure of the human condition.