October 2018 Books to Read!

I hope everyone reading this has found some comfort in the fall. In my neck of the woods, it’s still a bit warm outside, but the trees are turning and the evenings are cooling down nicely. It’s time for some hot drinks, a couch, and a good book. Here are a few coming out this month that caught my attention. Please let me know if there are any I’m missing that you’re excited for.

The links to Amazon.com are affiliate links, so if you purchase the book (or any item) by going there from this page, we’ll make a bit of money for the site. Do not feel obligated, of course — we’ll keep going regardless! Release dates are based on the U.S. release date.

October 2

The Taiga Syndrome
by Cristina Rivera Garza
translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana
The Dorothy Project

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from The Dorothy Project:

A fairy tale run amok, The Taiga Syndrome follows an unnamed female Ex-Detective as she searches for a couple who has fled to the far reaches of the earth. A betrayed husband is convinced by a brief telegram that his second ex-wife wants him to track her down–that she wants to be found. He hires the Ex-Detective, who sets out with a translator into a snowy, hostile forest where strange things happen and translation betrays both sense and one’s senses. Tales of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood haunt the Ex-Detective’s quest, though the lessons of her journey are more experiential than moral: that just as love can fly away, sometimes unloving flies away as well. That sometimes leaving everything behind is the only thing left to do.

Gone So Long
by Andre Dubus III
W.W. Norton & Company

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from W.W. Norton & Company:

Few writers can enter their characters so completely or evoke their lives as viscerally as Andre Dubus III. In this deeply compelling new novel, a father, estranged for the worst of reasons, is driven to seek out the daughter he has not seen in decades.

Daniel Ahearn lives a quiet, solitary existence in a seaside New England town. Forty years ago, following a shocking act of impulsive violence on his part, his daughter, Susan, was ripped from his arms by police. Now in her forties, Susan still suffers from the trauma of a night she doesn’t remember, as she struggles to feel settled, to love a man and create something that lasts. Lois, her maternal grandmother who raised her, tries to find peace in her antique shop in a quaint Florida town but cannot escape her own anger, bitterness, and fear.

Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become, and probes the limits of recovery and absolution.

Once and Forever
by Kenji Miyazawa
translated from the Japanese by John Bester
NYRB Classics

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from NYRB Classics:

A collection of classic, fantastical tales from Northern Japan that are equal parts whimsical and sophisticated, perfect for readers of all ages.

Kenji Miyazawa is one of modern Japan’s most beloved writers, a great poet and a strange and marvelous spinner of tales, whose sly, humorous, enchanting, and enigmatic stories bear a certain resemblance to those of his contemporary Robert Walser. John Bester’s selection and expert translation of Miyazawa’s short fiction reflects its full range from the joyful, innocent “Wildcat and the Acorns,” to the cautionary tale “The Restaurant of Many Orders,” to “The Earthgod and the Fox,” which starts out whimsically before taking a tragic turn. Miyazawa also had a deep connection to Japanese folklore and an intense love of the natural world. In “The Wild Pear,” what seem to be two slight nature sketches succeed in encapsulating some of the cruelty and compensations of life itself.


October 9

The Witch Elm
by Tana French
Viking

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Viking:

From the writer who “inspires cultic devotion in readers” (The New Yorker) and has been called “incandescent” by Stephen King, “absolutely mesmerizing” by Gillian Flynn, and “unputdownable” (People), comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out.

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

Killing Commendatore
by Haruki Murakami
translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen
Knopf

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Knopf:

In Killing Commendatore, a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home, and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors. A tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art—as well as a loving homage to The Great GatsbyKilling Commendatore is a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.


October 16

Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl
by Uwe Johnson
translated from the German by Damion Searls
NYRB Classics

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from NYRB Classics:

Late in 1967, Uwe Johnson set out to write a book that would take the unusual form of a chapter for every day of the ongoing year. It would be the tale of Gesine Cresspahl, a thirty-four-year-old single mother who is a German émigré to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and of her ten-year-old daughter, Marie—a story of work and school, of friends and lovers and the countless small encounters with neighbors and strangers that make up big-city life. An everyday tale, but also a tale of the events of the day, as gleaned by Gesine from The New York Times: Johnson could hardly foresee the convulsions of 1968, but some of the news—the racial unrest roiling America, the escalating war in Vietnam—was sure to be news for some time yet to come. Finally, it would be a tale told by Gesine to Marie about Gesine’s childhood in a small north German town, of her independent and enterprising father, of her troubled mother, of Nazi Germany (Gesine was born the year Hitler came to power) and World War II and Soviet retribution and the grimly regulated realities of Communist East Germany. An ambitious historical novel as well as a wonderfully observed New York novel, Anniversaries would take in the unsettled world of the present along with the twentieth century’s disastrous past, while vividly depicting the struggle of a loving, though hardly uncomplicated mother and a bright, indomitably curious girl to understand and care for each other and to shape a human world.

Gesine and Marie are among the most memorable and engaging characters in literature, and Anniversaries, at once monumental and intimate, sweeping and full of incident, stylistically adventurous and endlessly absorbing, is quite simply one of the great books of our time.

Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver
Harper

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Harper:

How could two hardworking people do everything right in life, a woman asks, and end up destitute? Willa Knox and her husband followed all the rules as responsible parents and professionals, and have nothing to show for it but debts and an inherited brick house that is falling apart. The magazine where Willa worked has folded; the college where her husband had tenure has closed. Their dubious shelter is also the only option for a disabled father-in-law and an exasperating, free-spirited daughter. When the family’s one success story, an Ivy-educated son, is uprooted by tragedy he seems likely to join them, with dark complications of his own.

In another time, a troubled husband and public servant asks, How can a man tell the truth, and be reviled for it? A science teacher with a passion for honest investigation, Thatcher Greenwood finds himself under siege: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting work just published by Charles Darwin. His young bride and social-climbing mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his worries that their elegant house is unsound. In a village ostensibly founded as a benevolent Utopia, Thatcher wants only to honor his duties, but his friendships with a woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor threaten to draw him into a vendetta with the town’s powerful men.

Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.


October 23

Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce
by Colm Tóibín
Scribner

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Scribner:

Colm Tóibín begins his incisive, revelatory Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know with a walk through the Dublin streets where he went to university—a wide-eyed boy from the country—and where three Irish literary giants also came of age. Oscar Wilde, writing about his relationship with his father, William Wilde, stated: “Whenever there is hatred between two people there is bond or brotherhood of some kind…you loathed each other not because you were so different but because you were so alike.” W.B. Yeats wrote of his father, John Butler Yeats, a painter: “It is this infirmity of will which has prevented him from finishing his pictures. The qualities I think necessary to success in art or life seemed to him egotism.” John Stanislaus Joyce, James’s father, was perhaps the most quintessentially Irish, widely loved, garrulous, a singer, and drinker with a volatile temper, who drove his son from Ireland.

Elegant, profound, and riveting, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways these men surface in their work. Through these stories of fathers and sons, Tóibín recounts the resistance to English cultural domination, the birth of modern Irish cultural identity, and the extraordinary contributions of these complex and masterful authors.


October 30

Omer Pasha Latas: Marshal to the Sultan
by Ivo Andric
translated from the Serbo-Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth
NYRB Classics

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from NYRB Classics:

Omer Pasha Latas is set in nineteenth-century Sarajevo, where Muslims and Christians live in uneasy proximity while entertaining a common resentment of faraway Ottoman rule. Omer is the seraskier, commander in chief of the Sultan’s armies, and as the book begins he arrives from Istanbul, dispatched to bring Sarajevo’s landowners to heel, a task that he accomplishes with his usual ferocity and efficiency. And yet the seraskier’s expedition to Bosnia is a time of reckoning for him as well: he was born in the Balkans, a Serb and a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a bright boy who escaped his father’s financial disgrace by running away and converting to Islam. Now, at the height of his power, he heads an army of misfits, adventurers, and outcasts from across Europe and Asia, and yet wherever he goes he remains a stranger.

Ivo Andric, who won the Nobel Prize in 1961, is a spellbinding storyteller and a magnificent stylist, and here, in his final novel, he surrounds his enigmatic central figure with many vivid and fascinating minor characters, lost souls and hopeless dreamers all, in a world that is slowly sliding towards disaster. Omer Pasha Latas combines the leisurely melancholy of Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March with the stark fatalism of an old ballad.

Toddler Hunting: And Other Stories
by Taeko Kono
translated from the Japanese by Lucy North
New Directions

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from New Directions:

Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories introduces a startlingly original voice. Winner of Japan’s top literary prizes for fiction (among them the Akutagawa, the Tanizaki, the Noma, and the Yomiuri), Taeko Kono writes with a strange beauty, pinpricked with sadomasochistic and disquieting scenes.

In the title story, the protagonist loathes young girls, but compulsively buys expensive clothes for little boys so that she can watch them dress and undress. The impersonal gaze Taeko Kono turns on this behavior transfixes the reader with a fatal question: What are we hunting for? And why?

Multiplying perspectives and refracting light from the strangely facing mirrors of fantasy and reality, pain and pleasure, these ten stories present Kono at her very best.

The Hole
by José Revueltas
translated from the Spanish by Amanda Hopkinson and Sophie Hughes
New Directions

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from New Directions:

Set in a Mexican prison in the late 1960s, The Hole follows three inmates as they plot to sneak in drugs under the noses of their ape-like guards. The inmates desperately need to secure their next fix, and hatch a plan that involves convincing one of their mothers to bring the drugs into the prison, inside her person. But everything about their plan is doomed from the beginning, doomed to end in violence…

Unfolding in a single paragraph, The Hole is a verbal torrent, a prison inside a prison, and an ominous parable about how deformed and wretched institutions create even more deformed and wretched individuals.

David Grann The White DarknessThe White Darkness
by David Grann
Doubleday

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Doubleday:

Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot. Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death, and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.

Worsley felt an overpowering connection to those expeditions. He was related to one of Shackleton’s men, Frank Worsley, and spent a fortune collecting artifacts from their epic treks across the continent. He modeled his military command on Shackleton’s legendary skills and was determined to measure his own powers of endurance against them. He would succeed where Shackleton had failed, in the most brutal landscape in the world.

In 2008, Worsley set out across Antarctica with two other descendants of Shackleton’s crew, battling the freezing, desolate landscape, life-threatening physical exhaustion, and hidden crevasses. Yet when he returned home he felt compelled to go back. On November 13, 2015, at age 55, Worsley bid farewell to his family and embarked on his most perilous quest: to walk across Antarctica alone.

David Grann tells Worsley’s remarkable story with the intensity and power that have led him to be called “simply the best narrative nonfiction writer working today.” Illustrated with more than fifty stunning photographs from Worsley’s and Shackleton’s journeys, The White Darkness is both a gorgeous keepsake volume and a spellbinding story of courage, love, and a man pushing himself to the extremes of human capacity.

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By |2018-10-01T15:23:16+00:00October 2nd, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

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