Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For June, we’re looking at a tender piece of literary fiction about mourning, an entertaining thriller/mystery set in Ireland, a darkly fantastical historical romance about 1920s circuses, and a drama about a chess prodigy.
If you like literary fiction:
Laura Imai Messina’s The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World (2021)
Originally written in Italian by an Italian expat who is a longtime resident of Japan, this book has generated a lot of buzz recently for its honest but heartwarming examination of grief and is inspired by a true story. Yui is devastated by the loss of her mother and daughter in the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan. She eventually learns about a disconnected phone booth where others in mourning talk to their lost loved ones. Along the way, she befriends a man named Takeshi, who lost his wife in the tsunami. What follows is a poignant but ultimately hopeful exploration of grief and friendship.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Sigrid Nunez.
If you want a mystery:
Lucy Foley’s The Guest List (2020)*
A celebrity destination wedding on a remote Irish island sounds like a lot of fun, right? Right?! Well, wrong! Will and Jules have envisioned their perfect wedding, but things break down pretty quickly as tensions flare and nothing goes according to plan. Before you know it, the groomsmen are misbehaving with drinking games, there’s a wardrobe malfunction, and that’s even before a dead body pops up. . . .
*Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.
Recommended for those who enjoy the works of Agatha Christie and Ruth Ware.
If you love historical fantasy:
Constance Sayers’s The Ladies of the Secret Circus (2021)
Lara’s world turns upside down in 2004 America when her fiancé disappears before the wedding. As she is desperately searching for answers to his whereabouts, she comes across her great-grandmother’s journals, which transports her to 1920s France and a fantastical but dark circus and a doomed romance. Gothic complications ensue.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of V.E. Schwab and Katherine Arden or those who enjoyed Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.
If you want an audiobook:
Walter Trevis’s The Queen’s Gambit (2018)**
Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit miniseries was a critical darling last year, but did you know it was based on a book? Beth is introduced to the game of chess in the orphanage she lives in. Nothing about her pre-chess self suggests that she is a prodigy in the making, but within a matter of years, the teenager is competitive on the professional chess circuit during the Cold War. However, her success comes with its own challenges, which she is ill-equipped to handle.
**Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby. A physical copy of the book is available in the system as well.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Yann Martel and Kazuo Ishiguro.
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 on any of these items or to place them on hold.