Kent Haruf’s final novel Our Souls at Night explores the idea that there is always hope for the future, no matter what age you are.
One night in Holt, Colorado, Addie Moore decides to stop by and talk with her neighbor, Louis Waters. In many ways they are alike: both of their spouses are deceased and they are struggling with loneliness now that their children have moved away. Of course, living in a small town means that everyone starts gossiping, but the two elderly neighbors soon find that talking to a kindred spirit gives them hope for the future. They reveal their pasts, their hopes for the future, the mistakes they’ve made, and memories of their family. Neither character makes any attempt to hide their darker side and their raw honesty while narrating the story of their lives is extremely refreshing.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, June 11th, 2015||No Comments »|
Jane Smiley may be a Pulitzer Prize winner for her unforgettable novel A Thousand Acres, and she may be able to pump out longer works of fiction like it’s nobody’s business (as her latest trilogy, beginning with Some Luck, testifies), but hidden behind all the classics and soon-to-be classics is a pairing of novellas that are stand-out works of literature, though they come in at only 208 pages combined. I’m talking about Smiley’s novellas, Ordinary Love and Good Will, each of which holds its own as piece of writing that truly captures the complexities of love, life, family, and everything that falls in-between.
Ordinary Love focuses in on the reunion of a broken family in their adulthood years, with a powerful and reminiscent matriarch narrator that carries readers through the events that led to the current day sense of detachment between family members. Good Will switches gears a bit, telling the story of a small family of three that lives off the land in isolation. Smiley’s ability to write about the complex relationships between those who are blood related is like no other, and this pairing of novellas in particular showcases both the inevitably wonderful and inevitably sorrowful emotions that run haywire in family life. A perfect pairing and a book that cannot be missed—get yourself a copy, stat.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, May 6th, 2015||No Comments »|
If you have ever wondered why Dracula’s victims were always female, I think I have a theory for you: the author, Bram Stoker, subconsciously made the vampire prey on women to assert an implied heterosexuality that’s been interwoven with the mythos of the creatures for centuries. It’s no surprise that popular vampire media of today has human girls in love with young-looking male vampires. The trope has been there for a long time, but it hasn’t always been the central relationship in a vampire novel. The grand exception is Carmilla, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.
|Recommended by Stefano Llinas||Monday, February 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Jenny Schwartz’s steampunk novella The Icarus Plot blends the world of thriller novels and Victorian London for an enchanting tale of kidnapping, mayhem, and monsters. The main protagonist is a woman named Ivana March who learns via word of mouth in her toy shop that there’s some sort of monstrous kidnapper who is stealing children for a nefarious purpose. Determined to put an end to the kidnappings, Ivana teams up with Andre, the new Earl of Somer, in the hopes of tracking down the “Metal Man” that’s behind the dastardly crimes.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, January 12th, 2015||No Comments »|