Looking for some new books to start off the new year? Here are some of our staff’s top picks.
Blindness by Jose Saramago
A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive…
Logorrhea, an anthology
For most of us, these prizewinning spelling bee words would be difficult to pronounce, let alone spell. We asked twenty-one of today’s most talented and inventive writers…
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he apprentices himself…
In the Name of Ishmael by Giuseppe Genna
Milan, 1962. Detective David Montorsi is obsessed with the murder of a young child found buried under a WWII monument. His lone investigation leads him to an elusive figure named Ishmael…
The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen by Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen was twenty-two when he enlisted in the Artists’ Rifle Corps during World War I. By the time Owen was killed at the age of 25 at the Battle of Sambre, he had written what are considered the most important British poems of WWI…
Poems 1962-2012 by Louise Gluck
From within the earth’s / bitter disgrace, coldness and barrenness / my friend the moon rises: / she is beautiful tonight, but when is she not beautiful?
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school….
Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga by Hunter S. Thompson
His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was 1st defined, & when such countercultural movements were electrifying & horrifying America.
Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service…
Walden & Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
These simple but profound musings-as well as “Civil Disobedience,” his protest against the government’s interference with civil liberty-have inspired many to embrace his philosophy of individualism and love of nature.
note: along with this recommendation comes an endorsement of the Dickinson tv show by AppleTV (worth the free trial, if nothing else.)
The Best of Robert Service by Robert Service
This new and revised edition of poems about the men and women of the North features the most loved ballads by Robert Service. This new and revised edition of poems about the men and women of the North…
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara…
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness…