Rachel is the operations director at Avid Bookshop. She fell in love with books because of the mindful introduction to literature her parents gave her starting at age 3, when her father read her the entire Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. He read the entire series to her again at age 7. Her hobbies include playing the piano, gardening, tending to her chickens, and reading.
Mona is a housecleaner with a complicated past whose closest confidant is the host of NPR's Fresh Air, Terry Gross, who Mona has a personal relationship with (in her active fantasy world=mind). Mona falls in love with all the wrong people (and houses) and is secretly a gifted photographer. This book is weird and I loved it.
The Gulf is the a book about timing, and how when it's right, it's magic. When things are off, it's a struggle just to keep up. Marianne's joke idea to start a Christian writing school was just that, a joke. But when this atheist poet finds herself without any other options, Marianne moves to Florida to set up a low-residency school funded by her novelist ex-fiancé's grandmother. The lives of the workshop applicants who make it to Genesis Inspirational Writing Ranch will never be the same.
Mariastella Fortuna's life story is one of bizarre near-death experiences, complicated family relationships, curses, and superstitions. This mesmirizing immigrant story is the perfect escape. I dare you to not read it obsessively.
Jump on, hang on, and don't fall off as Lara Prior-Palmer's Rough Magic recounts her riding and winning the world's longest, hardest horse race in Mongolia at the age of nineteen. This story is outrageous and told with lyrical intelligence. I couldn't put this down and read it in one day!
The Need is a thriller about the sheer emotional and physical intensity of mothering and perhaps a rip in the time space continuum. Phillips is a gifted lyrical creator of worlds. Not for the faint of heart and wonderfully absorbing.
This is beautifully written with observations by the 6th grade female protagonist that may break your heart. Middle school is hard for everyone, but the slowing of the earth's rotation when Julia turns 11 is life-changing.
Clock Dance reminds me why I fell in love with Anne Tyler's writing 3 decades ago. Willa Drake isn't just a character in a book. She becomes a friend you root for, someone you'd like to hug. Clock Dance focuses on the pivotal decisions we make in life and how saying yes instead of no can be the most rewarding choice of all. This book is a gem and Ms. Tyler has again blown my mind.
Becoming a mother transforms you into the best and worst person you didn’t know you were. Meaghan O’Connell’s memoir, And Now We Have Everything, reveals her personal transformation without apology and cracks wide open societal and gender norms of parenting. Bravo for her honesty. Congratulations for saying aloud what we’ve all thought internally. This book breaks down what so many of us have been unable to share personally and is important.
Tessa Fontaine is a brave woman: a snake handler, a fire breather, a daughter who is losing her mother to a massive brain injury. Her memoir of her time on the road for a season as a performer in the last traveling sideshow is more than a documentary of a freak show. It is the story of a daughter coming to terms with the woman her mother was and it’s so beautifully written. Highly recommend.
This memoir is unlike anything I've ever read, yet I fear that there are others who were raised in circumstances like Tara Westover. Westover documents her childhood devoid of education beyond the family's radical, extreme, doomsday religion with chilling detail as if investigating herself as a case study will help explain how she escaped. Highly recommend.
The Hazel Wood is totally captivating. This modern day fairy tale is smart, funny, and clever. Alice Proserpine is a heroine I'd like to buy a cup of coffee. Highly recommend and would be an ideal vacation read.