There is still a lot of winter left.
It is the fact that is staring you in the face. Once the holiday decorations are down, the toys put away, and you’ve rediscovered your gift certificates, what do you do with them?
You buy books, of course. And to get you started, here are some surefire picks for the best of 2021:
What would you do if life threw a curve ball at you? In “The Guncle” by Steven Rowley (Putnam, $ 27.00), Gay, Former TV Star, Palm Springs Regular, No Responsibilities Patrick is asked to care for his long-term niece and nephew. He never wanted children at all. He never wanted to fall in love with them either. Cute, sweet, funny, genuine – what more could you ask for?
You don’t have to have read Cork O’Conner’s other novels to want “Thunderbolt” by William Kent Krueger (Atria, $ 27.00), which brings readers back to 1963, and a murder in a small town in Minnesota. Cork O’Conner is then a young teenager, the son of the local sheriff, and he knows that Big John Manydeeds could not have hanged himself. But how does a boy go about proving something like this? For the fans, this is a question one should not miss. For new fans, this will send you running to the rest of the Cork O’Conner series.
Watchers of “The Handmaiden’s Tale” will absolutely devour “Outlaw” by Anna North (Bloomsbury, $ 26.00). In a small corner of Texas, at an unspecified time, 17-year-old Ada struggles to give birth to her husband, which embarrasses her, and it’s something only witches do. This is how Ada is driven out of the community and heads north, to a place of safety, where barren women are outlawed. This dystopian and feminist western is dangerous and delicious.
“Raft of stars” by Andrew J. Graff (Ecco, $ 26.99) is a coming-of-age story of two boys who are best friends, and one of them is abused by his father. Tired of seeing his friend injured, the other boy shoots the man and the two boys run away to escape what will surely be legal issues and possibly even jail time. They run to a lie, however, and they head for a waterfall that they don’t know is there. This is one of those books with heartbreakingly beautiful prose in a story that will leave your hands sweaty.
And finally, have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had taken a different path? In “The nine lives of Rose Napolitano “ by Donna Freitas (Pamela Dorman Books, $ 26.00), a woman has many options in her life, each ending in a way she never thought possible. It’s like “Groundhog Day” with a twist that will roll around in your mind for days …
For every child who grew up with a stack of comics next to the bed, in a drawer, or in the closet, “American comics: a story” by Jeremy Dauber (WW Norton, $ 35) is a must-see. Here, Dauber follows the comics from their political roots to militant cartoons today, and how we went from Katzenjammer Kids to MAD Magazine to compose as we know them. The bonus is that Dauber puts the comics in a fascinating historical perspective.
Did you buy your lottery ticket this week? If you did, it will make a good bookmark for “Jackpot: How the super-rich really live – and how their wealth harms us all” by Michael Mechanic (Simon & Schuster, $ 28.00). You might think twice about the burden of wealth after reading this book – and you might reconsider your thoughts on what one person’s wealth does to everyone.
Readers who love memoirs will appreciate “Punch Me Up to the Gods” by Brian Broome (HMH, $ 26), who writes about growing up, being in love with the boy who abused him and the father who did too. It’s a sometimes funny and always graceful coming-out story that will sometimes make you gasp and be happy to read.
Do you know that feeling you get when you stumble upon a stack of old magazines in the attic? That sweet hometown feeling of yesteryear is extra rich inside “The ride of his life” by Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine, $ 28). It is the story of Annie Wilkins, aging, ill and alone, and the daring cross-country race that she decides to undertake on a horse she has just bought. This wellness story takes place in the 1950s and its neighborhood could make it the perfect antidote for today’s world.
Recently, “The Redemption of Bobby Love” by Bobby and Cheryl Love with Lori L. Tharps (Mariner Books / HMH Books, $ 28) might be the most unusual memoir you’ve read this winter. As a young man, Walter Miller escaped from a prison bus and traveled to New York City, where he renamed himself Bobby Love and hid in plain sight. Love kept the straight path, fell in love, got married and raised a family, but 40 years later the law caught up with it. This incredible and impossible story, told alternately between the two loves, is one that you, uh, will love.
Based on a real event (the Mexican Revolution), “The Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna” by Alda P. Dobbs (Sourcebooks, $ 17.99) is the story of a young girl who becomes responsible for her Abuelita and her little sister when the Federales destroy their village and their home. This causes the trio to run north, one step ahead of those who wish to kill them, in a race to reach the border and get to America. It is fascinating read for 8 to 14 year olds.
Children who like silly stories will appreciate “The egg marks the spot: a story of a skunk and a badger” by Amy Timberlake, the second in what appears to be a series. A whirlwind named Skunk and his very posed and very reluctant friend Badger are at odds again – this time over a missing stone from Badger’s collection. There are chickens involved, a little mysterious, dinosaurs and lots of fun for your 7-10 year old. Hint: find the first Skunk and Badger book; your child will want this one too.
For teens who love unique memories, “Violet and Daisy: the story of the famous Siamese twins of Vaudeville” by Sarah Miller (Schwartz & Wade, $ 17.99) is the story of the Hilton sisters, their careers and their lives. Born united at the bottom of the spine, Violet & Daisy were “adopted” by a woman who led their lives. Upon her death, the daughters were passed on to this woman’s heirs, who mismanaged their careers and left them almost penniless. It’s an exciting story of Legalities, Vaudeville, and two women determined to make their own way, despite having been united forever. It’s the perfect read for any reader ages 14 and up, including memoir-loving adults.
So now go to the bookstore. Hunting at the library. Don’t miss these excellent books for adults and children – and Readings of the season!