The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill // From Goodreads: "The Lonely Hearts Hotel" is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one's origins. It might also take true love.
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella // From Goodreads: Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman // From Goodreads: Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon...and fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
The Refugees by Viet Thahn Nguyen // From Goodreads: Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, "The Refugees" is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola // From Goodreads: In 1837, a woman's dismembered body is found scattered across London. Sarah Gale, a seamstress and fallen woman, is sentenced to hang for her alleged role in the murder; although she professes her innocence, she is hiding darkness in her past. Edmund Fleetwood is the young, idealistic lawyer tasked with Sarah's case. The stakes for both are high: Edmund has untold gambling debts he must urgently settle, and Sarah is desperate to escape the gallows. But as the two grow closer, the barriers between confessor and penitent start to blur, and Edward can't be sure if Sarah is a victim or a murderer.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee // From Goodreads: "Pachinko" follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.
Gilded Cage by Vic James // From Goodreads: Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders // From Amazon: February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson // From Goodreads: When the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in the Badlands of South Dakota twenty years after their fall, nobody can explain their return. To the hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands drawn to the American Stonehenge the Towers seem to sing, even as everybody hears a different song. Haunting, audacious, and undaunted, "Shadowbahn" is a winding and reckless ride through intersections of danger, destiny, and the conjoined halves of a ruptured nation.
Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt // From Goodreads: Eating one’s own kind is completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. With unexpected wit and a wealth of knowledge, biologist Bill Schutt takes us on a tour of the field, dissecting exciting new research and investigating questions such as why so many fish eat their offspring and some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why sexual cannibalism is an evolutionary advantage for certain spiders; why, until the end of the eighteenth century, British royalty ate human body parts; how cannibalism may be linked to the extinction of Neanderthals; why microbes on sacramental bread may have led Catholics to execute Jews in the Middle Ages.
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter // From Goodreads: A novel -- based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews -- of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to Krakow's most brutal prison to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, "We Were the Lucky Ones" demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century's darkest moment, the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan // From Goodreads: As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and instead "carry on singing." Resurrecting themselves as "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir," the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives. Told through letters and journals, "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir" moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death.
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman // From Goodreads: At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It's a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts. And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he's Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence...
The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth // From Goodreads: With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families -- and the things that test their bonds. In "The Mother’s Promise," she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline // From Goodreads: To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century. Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.
The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff // From Goodreads: "The Nightingale" meets "Water for Elephants" in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II.
I See You by Clare Mackintosh // From Goodreads: When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that. Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make?
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach // From Goodreads: A missing woman leads her twin sister on a twisted scavenger hunt in this clever debut novel of suspense for readers of "Luckiest Girl Alive" and "Reconstructing Amelia."
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas // From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.