A New Year Means a New Book List

Repeat after me: “This year, I resolve to read at least one book every month.”

You can do it—here are 10 suggestions to get you started:

1. A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
Reading last year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction scores you hipster points, but be warned—friends tell me they’ve either loved it or hated it. I found it a really enjoyable read in that the zig-zagging plot development and timeline kept me on my toes, but also made it a book I could read when I had just snippets of time.

 

2. The Leftovers (Tom Perrotta)
Months later, I’m still contemplating Perrotta’s latest tome, which centers on a smallish town after a Rapture-like event that took millions of Earth’s inhabitants and left those left behind wondering what happened and why they are still there. Engaging and thought-provoking, you’ll need to block time to read this one—you won’t want to put it down.

 

3. When She Woke (Hillary Jordan)
Another great selection worthy of book club discussion, Jordan’s tale is a 21st century adaptation of “The Scarlet Letter”—when the crime is abortion and wearing your crime on your sleeve is taken to a whole new level. Maybe you are saying to yourself, “I read Hawthorne in high school—please don’t make me do it again.” I promise you, this isn’t a book to pass up. It’s futuristic feel and overarching themes deliver.

4. 11/23/63 (Stephen King)
I grew up a fan of old school King—“The Stand” remains one of my favorite novels of all time. For any number of fickle reasons, I abandoned his writing in the 90s, but am returning to the supernatural fold with his latest effort. Truly creepy and improbably realistic, high school English teacher Jake Epping’s journey to the late 1950s in an effort to change more than the course of history is mesmerizing and will keep you up late trying to finish all 800-plus pages.

5. The Paris Wife (Paula McClain)
McClain’s effort is currently on a number of book club playlists, and for good reason—it’s an excellent read, easy to relate to (c’mon, it’s all about marriage and dysfunctional families) and even though we know the ending, you can’t help but root for Ernest and Hadley, and hope that they both find peace.

 

 

 

6. The Night Strangers (Chris Bohjalian)
One of my favorite authors, Bohjalian often crafts stories that leave the reader breathless, and “The Night Strangers” is no different. The tale of a pilot who just couldn’t pull off the heroic plane landing, Chip Linton and his family move to New Hampshire to start a new life—what a shame the ghosts of several dead passengers decide to come along for the ride. I promise you won’t see the ending coming, but such is Bohjalian’s style.

 

 

7. The Tiger’s Wife (Tea Obreht)
Another one making the book club rounds, “The Tiger’s Wife” is receiving early Pulitzer buzz. Set overseas in what is believed to be the Balkans, a young doctor sets out to understand her grandfather’s death through the tales he used to tell her as a child. This is no light read, but will make you look pretty smart when the spring season’s literary awards are announced.

 

 

8. The Buddha in the Attic (Julie Otsuka)
A Pulitzer possibility, this slim read is from the author of “When the Emperor Was Divine.” Divided into eight sections, readers follow the stories of young Japanese women brought to the US as “picture brides,” and their journeys into marriage, the work force, a new culture, and raising children. I’ve yet to read it, but most definitely am intrigued.

 

9. Lunatics (Dave Barry/Alan Zweibel)
We all need a little funny, right? Due out next week, this book promises to bring it—they already have me with a pet store named “The Wine Shop” and a chase scene that includes a Chuck E. Cheese mascot. We’ve all lived it, so let’s read it.

 

 

10. No One is Here Except All of Us (Ramona Ausubel)
Due in February, Ausubel’s debut novel is getting early buzz as the next “it” book, so pre-order or get on the library wait list today. Pick it up, and fall into a 1939 Romanian village where the Jewish residents are confronted with the horrors of war closing in. Their solution? Rewrite their own history. Now we’ll have to wait to see if it worked.