Wondering what to read next? Here are 30 books (or so) that might help you answer this question ...Updated July 28.
In Jill McCorkle’s affecting, layered new novel, the lives of elderly couple Lil and Frank intersect with those of young mother Shelley and her anxious son Harvey. Memory twists across the pages as concealed traumas emerge and ripple from one character to the next. Lil’s journal entries, which echo and refract her passing years, are particularly moving. In McCorkle’s compelling prose, minor moments reflect larger truths, creating a relatable, nuanced portrait of introspection and connection. --Talia
The story of the Vignes girls, and of their daughters, is gorgeously written and hugely compelling. This is a must-read. --Talia
A true masterpiece. Few novels have gripped me so tightly or broken my heart so completely as NICKEL BOYS. Stark and uncompromising in its portrayal of cruelty and told without a single extraneous word or awkward phrase, Colson Whitehead has crafted a breathtaking study of trauma and defiance. This should be required reading. I cannot recommend it highly enough. You will cry. --Zach
Signed copies available!
Full of truth and pain and beauty, this is the story of a Black, queer child coming of age in the Midwest in the time of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. It’s also the story of his mother and the unyielding power of their love. Insightful and raw in every important way. --Elese
Perhaps the perfect horror novel for 2020, Survivor Song is as heartbreaking as it is disturbing. Paul Tremblay has crafted a relentlessly claustrophobic thriller, whose every page bleeds dread and adrenaline-pumping unease. Yet the true strength of this novel lies in its characters: they are so believable, their relationships so well-developed, that they continue to haunt me days after I turned the last page. An utterly enthralling, beautifully written, fever dream of literary horror. I cannot recommend it highly enough. --Zach
Signed copies available!
It's the summer of 1978 in Vernon, New Jersey and Eugene Mulvihill just opened what will become the most notorious amusement park in the USA - Action Park, colloquially known as "Traction Park" or "Class Action Park" due to the large number of injuries sustained and the lawsuits that followed. This book written by Mulvihill's son Andy takes you down the Alpine Slide, off the Diving Cliffs, and through the infamous Cannonball Loop to show you what it was like to be a teenager managing the chaos of a water park barely skirting rules and regulations. A fascinating read that perfectly captures a time and a once-in-a-lifetime place. --Colin
Signed copies available!
For sheer page-turning readability, The Flight Portfolio's on point. My husband and I took turns reading the massive book, our bookmarks in a mad race to the finish. Orringer did a terrific job: based on a lot of truth, this is a story that deserves to be remembered. It's hard to tell the facts from the fiction which, I don't know about you, but I like that in a novel. Cinematic writing: watch for the movie. --Erica
In West Mills was a very hard book to put down. I read most of it on a flight and I would have stayed on the plane longer to finish it if they'd let me. I really loved this book! De'Shawn Charles Winslow loves and respects and understands his characters and it comes through on every page. --Colin
Spanning 20 years of Chiang's writing, Exhalation is filled with the original sci-fi stories you've been looking for. Vastly complex ideas and philosophies explained through clear and compelling characters. Ted Chiang will make you think about Islam and time travel, ponder the ethics of AI pets, and wonder: is anxiety the dizziness of freedom? Once you've finished and you inevitably want more, pick up his first collection, Stories of Your Life. --Lucia
From local authors Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
Book #2 in the series. See Jackie's (beloved former Flyelaf bookseller) review of Book #1 Who Is Vera Kelly?: Step closer. Pick up this book, and I swear, you'll be able to feel the heat swirling through the pages. Sharp, sly, and endlessly fascinating, Knecht's writing is as coolly collected and elusive as her main character. From the very beginning, you'll find yourself desperate to know more and more and MORE about Vera Kelly and you won't realize how fast you're turning the pages until its over. This is real writing-- writing that makes you want to taste coffee on your tongue, walk through rain-lashed streets, and hide away in secret Argentinian apartments. Come closer. Read this book.
Through a back-and-forth pivot between past and present, NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER portrays the complex, lifelong friendship of two former criminals who struggle to reconcile with their mired, glorious, and traumatic past. For every dashing and sensitive streak shown by Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, they in turn can flash a gristly scar, an anecdote of startling violence, cruelty, or deception. Both characters provide you with profound reasons to keep your distance, and yet, under the spellbinding power of Kevin Barry’s poetry—its dusky richness, its brittle chills and bursts of sweaty, chaotic life—you will find yourself inching closer, listening to their stories of triumph and madness until they no longer wish to tell them. --Ben