Reading List: October 2017
October 2017: In the world of books released this month, we see one of my favorite actors of all time taking a shot at writing short fiction and releasing a collection, two of my favorite female writers both release books and one book is a memoir. For these three books alone, color me brilliantly excited. Oh, and add to that a much-awaited release from a Young Adult fiction writer and a new collection of short stories, and we are on our way. So, here are the book releases for this month.
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende. This tale begins with a minor traffic accident – which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were in the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster – a 60-year-old human rights scholar – hits the car of Evelyn Ortega – a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala – in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz – 62-year-old lecturer from Chile – for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia
Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan. The bestselling author who has thrilled millions with her fiction reveals intimate details about the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Where the Past Begins takes readers through the idiosyncratic workings of a writer’s mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning.
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks. A collection of wonderful short stories which reveal that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game — and then another and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and for millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a $100,000 reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. Turtles All the Way Down shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
Catapult by Emily Fridlund. The stories in Catapult are sometimes calculating and at other times bewildered. The characters orbit around each other, enacting a deeply human tragicomedy of wit, misunderstanding, and loss. With dexterous, atmospheric, and darkly comic prose, Ms. Fridlund conjures worlds where longing is open-ended, intentions misfire, and the line between comfort and cruelty is difficult to discern.