For those of us in the U.S., can you believe Thanksgiving is just one short week away? Next to having a slice of yummy pumpkin pie (my favorite) I am greatly looking forward to having some solid uninterrupted reading time. Forget the mall the day after the holiday, I'll be spending at least some of the day doing some serious reading. I guess, however, it is not too soon to be thinking of the other big holiday just around the corner that comes next. I have been working on making a holiday list that is both thoughtful and in keeping within a budget that will need to be attended to very soon. I'm a great fan of list making, and I admit that my own bookish wishlist (less an actual wishlist than a place to keep track of new books that coming out that I want to take a closer look at) has been growing, too.
I have a feeling a gift card might make its way into my holiday stocking, so here are a baker's dozen of books that I might spend it on:
1. The Madwoman Upstairs, Catherine Lowell -- "In Catherine Lowell’s smart and original debut novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind, and the Brontës’ own novels."
2. Sunday's on the Phone to Monday, Christine Reilly -- Okay, I must admit that part of the draw of this book is the great title! But the story sounds good, too. "With prose that is as keen and illuminating as it is whimsical and luminous, debut novelist Christine Reilly tells the unusual love story of this family. Poignant and humane, Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is a deft exploration of the tender ties that bind families together, even as they threaten to tear them apart."
3. The Beautiful Possible, Amy Gottlieb -- "This epic, enthralling debut novel—in the vein of Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love—follows a postwar love triangle between an American rabbi, his wife, and a German-Jewish refugee."
4. The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, Sarit Yishai-Levi -- This one I have mentally starred as a must-read. If I knew someone I might beg a review copy off of, I would grovel. I guess I shall try and wait patiently for spring--something to look forward to. "Spanning decades, Sarit Yishai-Levi's The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem paints a dazzling portrait of a family and a young nation as they struggle to find their way even as others try to carve it out for them."
5. The Two-Family House, Lynda Cohen-Loigman -- "Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins."
6. The Good Liar, Nicholas Searle -- "Spinning a page-turning story of literary suspense that begins in the present and unwinds back more than half a century, this unforgettable debut channels the haunting allure of Atonement as its masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals unravels to a shocking conclusion."
7. Enchanted Islands, Allison Amend -- "Inspired by the mid-century memoirs of Frances Conway, Enchanted Islands is the dazzling story of an independent American woman whose path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands on the brink of World War II."
8. The Translation of Love, Lynne Kutsukake -- Isn't the cover of this book gorgeous?! " Told through rich, interlocking storylines, The Translation of Love mines the turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of the conquered—and yet the novel also allows for a poignant spark of resilience, friendship, and love that translates across cultures and borders to stunning effect."
9. The Extra, A.B. Yehoshua -- Score! Another book I am seriously lusting after (and would beg for a review copy of). I love Yehoshua's work and am thrilled to see a new book by him coming out. "From the internationally acclaimed author of A Woman in Jerusalem, a novel about a musician who returns home and finds the rhythm of her life interrupted and forever changed."
10. As Close to Us as Breathing, Elizabeth Poliner -- "In 1948, a small stretch of the Woodmont, Connecticut shoreline, affectionately named "Bagel Beach," has long been a summer destination for Jewish families. Here sisters Ada, Vivie, and Bec assemble at their beloved family cottage, with children in tow and weekend-only husbands who arrive each Friday in time for the Sabbath meal."
11. At the Edge of the Orchard, Tracy Chevalier -- "From internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier, a riveting drama of a pioneer family on the American frontier."
12. Behave, Andromeda Romano-Lax -- "With Behave, Andromeda Romano-Lax offers a fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose lab work is now widely repudiated but who in her time was at the cutting edge of parenting psychology. Both moving and horrifying, Behave is a thought-provoking and compelling novel about the meaning of motherhood."
13. The Cosmopolitans, Sarah Schulman -- "A modern retelling of Balzac's classic Cousin Bette by one of America's most prolific and significant writers. Earl, a black, gay actor working in a meatpacking plant, and Bette, a white secretary, have lived next door to each other in the same Greenwich Village apartment building for thirty years. Shamed and disowned by their familied, both found refuge in New York and in their domestic routine. Everything changes when Hortense, a wealthy young actress from Ohio, comes to the city to "make it." Textured with the grit and gloss of midcentury Manhattan, The Cosmopolitans is a lush, inviting read. The truths it frames about the human need for love and recognition remain long after the book is closed."
So many good new books to look forward to! It feels like such a long ways away from Spring, but knowing there are so many wonderful books on the other side makes these short days (and soon cold, snowy days, too) so much more bearable. Do you have any particular books you are looking forward to?