I've been doing a lot of 'grazing' when it comes to books lately--both with my reading and buying, though this pile also includes a few review copies as well. It's a mishmash of books which reflects how much I've been meandering lately. From bottom to top:
An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi -- I think it was the setting that first appealed to me about this book--Paris, but the story itself sounds riveting as well. According to Margot Livesey, "Anne Korkeakivi writes wonderfully about Embassy manners, food, and Paris, and she writes even better about the darker world that threatens to disrupt not just Clare's seating plan for dinner but her entire life. An Unexpected Guest, like its heroine, is a novel of great elegance, enormous surprises, and unexpected depths."
I've heard lots of good things about The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and I wonder if I am just about the last person to read it. It sounds a little whimsical with its fairy tale-like story of a married couple dealing with grief who build a snow child, only to have it disappear the next morning to be replaced by a real child. Alaska in the 1920s is another place and period that greatly appeals to me. Both books came courtesy of Little Brown and Company.
Europa Editions is one of my favorite small presses and I am often adding their titles to my book orders and wishlists, so I was excited to see two of their new releases show up in my mailbox recently. Seth Greenland's The Angry Buddhist is a mixture of satire and crime and sounds quite timely with its story of a California election with two candidates who could almost step out of the headlines of the national news. The blurb describes the story as an intersection of Old Testament and Elmore Leonard!
When I read Jane Gardam's Old Filth a couple of years ago I knew I needed to read more of her books and set about acquiring her backlist of titles. It's taken me a while to get around to it, but I already knew I wanted to read Crusoe's Daughter when it showed up in the mail. There was my excuse, and I've lost no time starting to read it and am quite enjoying this story of Polly who lives her life on an isolated coast of England with books as her company becoming her source of "emotional and intellectual nourishment". NPR's Maureen Corrigan calls Gardam the "best British writer you've never heard of".
And the rest of the books are courtesy of my family since I used a gift card for the remaining titles. I think I mentioned that I want to read Chekhov's stories, so maybe I'll start at the beginning, or at least early on. The Steppe and Other Stories, 1887-1891 is one of the earliest collections from what I can tell. "The Steppe" the blurb tells me "established Chekhov's reputation".
Thanks to Liz for the heads up on Cliff McNish's The Haunting Ground, which is a chilling ghost story. Glebe House, a crumbling mansion, is the setting. It's good to have something spooky on hand I think.
Still thinking about spy stories. I think I want to try some of the Bernie Gunther books by Philip Kerr, so I bought this omnibus edition which includes March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem under the title Berlin Noir. Berlin in the 1930s is the stomping ground for ex-policeman Gunther. I'm really looking forward to trying these books.
Bitter Lemon Press is another favorite small press of mine. They specialize in international crime novels, so I always keep track of what's new on their list of forthcoming books. Nights of Awe by Harri Nykanen is the first Ariel Kafka novel set in Helsinki Finland. Kafka is one of two Jewish policemen in Finland working on their violent crime unit. It sounds very intriguing. Although I seem to be reading more cozy mysteries at the moment than crime novels, I'm sure I'll be in the mood for something gritty soon.
New books are always so exciting. It's only too bad they didn't each come with a built in hour of free time to start reading them!