Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For January, we’re looking at a prestigious annual literary collection, a standalone mystery from one of the most popular crime writers working today, and a profile of the Los Angeles library system.
Pushcart Prize XLII: Best of the Small Presses (2018)
As I’ve confessed on here before, as much as I enjoy a good novel, a good short story collection is even better in my eyes. (I suspect there’s potential for an additional blog post there. . . .)
If you also like short stories–or just would like a quick and easy way to sample some of the best in contemporary writing–give this year’s Pushcart Prize XLII Anthology a try.
Of course, I focus on the short stories because that’s what I’m drawn to, but that is hardly the only thing in this book. The editors also compile the year’s best poetry and essays.
Topping out at 600 pages, this anthology provides hours of reading and a convenient sampling of some of the most exciting new (and old) voices in literature today.
Recommended for those who enjoy literary fiction and anthologies.
Tana French’s The Witch Elm (2018)
Tana French is an author I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I’m a mystery fan, and she’s widely considered one of the best mystery writers today. Since 2007, her Dublin Murder Squad series has enthralled readers. She has now recently released her first standalone book: The Witch Elm.
Toby has led a charmed life. He has a good, interesting job at a Dublin art gallery and has always been happy and well-liked. And then one day, he is brutally beaten by robbers. The attack leaves him incapacitated, and to recover, he relocates to his ailing uncle’s home. But that’s just the beginning of Toby’s troubles, especially once he discovers a human skull in the backyard. . . .
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Gillian Flynn.
Susan Orlean’s The Library Book (2018)
Journalist Susan Orlean’s ostensible purpose in The Library Book is to probe a 30-year-old mystery: a disastrous unsolved fire (likely the result of arson) that destroyed and damaged hundreds of thousands of books at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. Nevertheless, The Library Book is so much more than that. Along the way, Orlean examines the history of the LAPL and the very important role of libraries in society, ultimately turning coverage of a tragedy into a triumphant celebration of books, reading, and–most of all–libraries.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Simon Winchester and David Grann.
What’s your favorite new-ish books? What books are you buzzing about these days? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information about any of these items.