Tom's Picks

The Witch Elm by Tana French

Yes, there is a mystery. But to read Tana French is to enjoy slipping into the lives of her characters. I like to think of myself as a savvy reader of mysteries. But the climax of this novel surprised and shocked me.

There There by Tommy Orange

The accolades for There There are glowing. And I agree. The writing is wonderful. The characters are carved out of the reality of today's urban Native American. Absolutely one of my top five novels. Pure reading joy.

Fools & Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Remember how fun and smart the movie, Shakespeare in Love, was? Well groundlings it's time to drop a penny in the box for another raucous and rowdy romp to Elizabethan England. This book may not have an orchestrated sound track; but, even better, it has Bernard Cornwell's skills of story telling and his ability to apply intimate historical detail. The author makes me dream of how grand it would have been to be a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men!

Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Many novels and movies tend to romanticize the survivalist in the face of the apocalypse. Heller imagines what may be the reality. He portrays the damage to the mind and heart as well as the environment. This is a painfully beautiful, literate story. As I read, I found myself slowing down and sinking into the creation of this new life in the Colorado Rockies. As sorrowful as the book is, I really liked it. Peter Heller is one of my new favorite authors.

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Take a walk on the wild side of contemporary magical realism. An artist heads out on a road trip following the shock of breaking up with the woman he loves.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison

Essun comes home to discover her husband has murdered her son and kidnapped her daughter. She follows them. Take your time. Slip into a new (post-apocalyptic?) reality.

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