The other day on That’s How I Blog! I was chatting about how I don’t usually have much idea about what’s coming up next in terms of books because even though I usually ask that question, I never do much research into it myself. Living over a bookstore and having grown up taking weekend trips to the bookstore, specifically to browse, might have something to do with that. It never occurs to me to look online when I can just go touch, and feel, and flip through pages! I decided it might be a fun to change things up and do things a little differently see what I could dig up for the upcoming month that I would love to read. I didn’t do too badly for my first time out!
The Heights, by Peter Hedges /March 4, Dutton
I am pretty much a sucker for stories about school and stories about New York City, so this one called out to me right away.
Tim Welch is a popular history teacher at the Montague Academy, an exclusive private school in Brooklyn Heights. As he says, “I was an odd-looking, gawky kid but I like to think my rocky start forced me to develop empathy, kindness, and a tendency to be enthusiastic. All of this, I’m now convinced, helped in my quest to be worthy of Kate Oliver.” Now, Kate is not inherently ordinary. But she aspires to be. She stays home with their two young sons in a modest apartment trying desperately to become the parent she never had. They are seemingly the last middle-class family in the Heights, whose world is turned upside down by Anna Brody, the new neighbor who moves into the most expensive brownstone in Brooklyn, sending the local society into a tailspin.
Anna is not only beautiful and wealthy; she’s also mysterious. And for reasons Kate doesn’t quite understand, even as all the Range Rover-driving moms jockey for invitations into Anna’s circle, Anna sets her sights on Kate and Tim and brings them into her world.
Lost, by Alice Lichtenstein/March 9, Scribner
When I was reading this blurb I was immediately in the story and wanting to know what would happen next. Hopefully it is as intriguing as it sounds and as the cover suggests.
On a cold January morning, Susan, a professor of biology, leaves her husband alone for a few minutes and returns to find him gone. Suffering from dementia, no longer able to dress or feed or wash himself without help, Christopher has wandered alone into a frigid landscape with no sense of home or direction. Lost.
Over the course of one weekend, as a massive search for Christopher takes place, Susan’s life intersects with those of two strangers: Jeff, her liaison with the police, a social worker and search-and-rescue expert shaken by his young wife’s betrayal, and Corey, a twelve-year-old boy, rendered mute by a family tragedy, who has become one of Jeff’s cases. While the temperature drops and teams scour the countryside with greater and greater urgency, Susan and Jeff venture into the fraught territory of their pasts — to impulsive choices and events that may have led to their present circumstances and to the painful question of whether they are to blame for their spouses’ actions. Corey, too, is troubled by memories, and a secret that could affect them all. When the desperate search concludes, what it uncovers will transform Susan, Jeff,and Corey and irrevocably bind them together.
Secret Daughter, Shilpi Somaya Gowda/ March 9, William Morrow
Multi-cultural adoption drama. Enough said.
In a tiny hut in rural India, Kavita gives birth to Asha. Unable to afford the ‘luxury’ of raising a daughter, her husband forces Kavita to give the baby up – a decision that will haunt them both for the rest of their lives.
Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When her husband Krishnan shows her a photo of baby Asha sent to him from a Mumbai orphanage, she falls instantly in love. As she waited for adoption to be finalized, she knew her life would change. But she was convinced that the love she already felt would overcome all obstacles.
The Storm: A Novel, by Magriet De Moor /March 9, Knopf
Another one of those books when I already want to know what happens when the sisters switch places.
On the night of January 31 1953, a mountain of water, literally piled up out of the sea by a freak winter hurricane, swept down onto the Netherlands, demolishing the dikes protecting the country and wiping a quarter of its landmass from the map. It was the worst natural disaster to strike the Netherlands in three hundred years.
The morning of the storm, Armanda asks her sister, Lidy, to take her place on a visit to her godchild in the town of Zierikzee. In turn, Armanda will care for Lidy’s two-year-old daughter and accompany Lidy’s husband to a party. The sisters, both of them young and beautiful, look so alike that no one may even notice. But what Armanda can’t know is that her little comedy is a provocation to fate: Lidy is headed for the center of the deadly storm.
The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness & Obsession by David Grann/March 9, Doubleday
These stories sound fascinating and like the perfect intro to a variety of subjects.
Whether he’s reporting on the infiltration of the murderous Aryan Brotherhood into the U.S. prison system, tracking down a chameleon con artist in Europe, or riding in a cyclone- tossed skiff with a scientist hunting the elusive giant squid, David Grann revels in telling stories that explore the nature of obsession and that piece together true and unforgettable mysteries.
A Thousand Cuts, by Simon Lelic/March 4, Viking
I haven’t bought many mysteries lately, but this one sounds too good to pass up.
It should be an open-and-shut case. Samuel Szajkowski, a recently hired history teacher, walked into a school assembly with a gun and murdered three students and a colleague before turning the weapon on himself. It was a tragedy that could not have been predicted. Szajkowski, it seems clear, was a psychopath beyond help. Yet as Detective Inspector Lucia May – the only woman in her high-testosterone office in the Criminal Investigations Department – begins to piece together the testimonies of the various witnesses, an uglier and more complex picture emerges, calling into question the innocence of others. But no one, including Lucia’s boss, is interested.
As the pressure to close the case builds and her colleagues’ sexism takes a sinister turn, Lucia begins to realize that she has more in common with the killer than she could have imagined, and she becomes determined to expose the truth. Brilliantly interweaving the witnesses’ accounts with Lucia’s own perspective, A Thousand Cuts is a narrative tour de force from a formidable new voice in fiction.
Dirty Little Secrets, by C. J. Omololu/February 2, Walker & Company
I haven’t run across a treatment of hoarding before in a book, but I am definitely curious to see how it will be handled.
Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver/ March 1, Harper Collins
Groundhog day! I want to see what she learns.
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life? Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine, by Scott Korb/March 18, Riverhead Books
I actually have a book like this I think, but it’s divided really strangely so I haven’t read it yet.
For anyone who’s ever pondered what everyday life was like during the time of Jesus comes a lively and illuminating portrait of the nearly unknown world of daily life in first-century Palestine. What was it like to live during the time of Jesus? Where did people live? Who did they marry? And what was family life like? How did people survive? These are just some of the questions that Scott Korb answers in this engaging new book, which explores what everyday life entailed two thousand years ago in first-century Palestine, that tumultuous era when the Roman Empire was at its zenith and a new religion-Christianity-was born.
Culling information from primary sources, scholarly research, and his own travels and observations, Korb explores the nitty-gritty of real life back then – from how people fed, housed, and groomed themselves to how they kept themselves healthy. He guides the contemporary reader through the maze of customs and traditions that dictated life under the numerous groups, tribes, and peoples in the eastern Mediterranean that Rome governed two thousand years ago, and he illuminates the intriguing details of marriage, family life, health, and a host of other aspects of first-century life. The result is a book for everyone, from the armchair traveler to the amateur historian. With surprising revelations about politics and medicine, crime and personal hygiene, this book is smart and accessible popular history at its very best.
This was fun!