10 Brilliant Book Recommendations for May 2019

Another new month is upon us and as always that means a raft of new releases. There are so many books hitting the shelves it can be overwhelming but thankfully we’re here to dissect the new releases and bring you the best of the bunch with some fantastic recommendations and a May reading list!

This month we’re not sticking to one genre, but offering you a broad reading list. Surely one of these will catch your eye!

Furious Hours – Casey Cep

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

Furious Hours

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Cari Mora – Thomas Harris

Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked it for years. Leading the pack is Hans-Peter Schneider. Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men.

Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the violence in her native country. She stays in Miami on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status, subject to the iron whim of ICE. She works at many jobs to survive. Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure. But Cari Mora has surprising skills, and her will to survive has been tested before.

Monsters lurk in the crevices between male desire and female survival. No other writer in the last century has conjured those monsters with more terrifying brilliance than Thomas Harris. Cari Mora, his sixth novel, is the long-awaited return of an American master

Cari Mora

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Rabbits for Food -Binnie Kirshenbaum

Master of razor-edged literary humor Binnie Kirshenbaum returns with her first novel in a decade, a devastating, laugh-out-loud funny story of a writer’s slide into depression and institutionalization.

It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced fellowship, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum’s protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital, where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow “lunatics” and writing a novel about what brought her there. Her story is a brilliant and brutally funny dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly.

Rabbits for Food

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Exhalation – Ted Chiang

From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others—the basis for the Academy Award –nominated film Arrival—comes a groundbreaking new collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. These are tales that tackle some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only Ted Chiang could imagine.

In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and second chances. In “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications that are literally universal. In “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom,” the ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will.

Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, Exhalation is Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic—revelatory.

Exhalation

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No One Home – Tim Weaver

At Halloween, the residents of Black Gale gather for a dinner party. As the only nine people living there, they’ve become close friends as well as neighbours.

They eat, drink and laugh. They play games and take photographs. But those photographs will be the last record of any of them.

Because by the next morning, the whole village has vanished.

With no bodies, no evidence and no clues, the mystery of what happened at Black Gale remains unsolved two and a half years on. But then the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker – and their obsession becomes his.

No One Home

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The Unpassing – Chia Chia Lin

A searing debut novel that explores community, identity, and the myth of the American dream through an immigrant family in Alaska

In Chia-Chia Lin’s debut novel, The Unpassing, we meet a Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father, hardworking but beaten down, is employed as a plumber and repairman, while the mother, a loving, strong-willed, and unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When ten-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected, too. She did not survive.

Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby’s death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.

The Unpassing

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A Walking Life – Antonia Malchik

“I’m going for a walk.” How often has this phrase been uttered by someone with a heart full of anger or sorrow? Or as an invitation, a precursor to a declaration of love? Our species and its predecessors have been bipedal walkers for at least six million years; by now, we take this seemingly arbitrary motion for granted. Yet how many of us still really walk in our everyday lives?

Driven by a combination of a car-centric culture and an insatiable thirst for productivity and efficiency, we’re spending more time sedentary and alone than we ever have before. If bipedal walking is truly what makes our species human, as paleoanthropologists claim, what does it mean that we are designing walking right out of our lives? Antonia Malchik asks essential questions at the center of humanity’s evolution and social structures: Who gets to walk, and where? How did we lose the right to walk, and what implications does that have for the strength of our communities, the future of democracy, and the pervasive loneliness of individual lives?

A Walking Life

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The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna – Juliet Grames

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella’s own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life’s harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.

In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

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Cape May – Chip Cheek

Late September 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara’s lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.

The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.

Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.

Cape May

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The Farm – Joanne Ramos

Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child.

Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

The Farm

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We hope you find some good suggestions there and we’ll be back with more recommendations lists soon. If you want to ensure you never miss any of these, subscribe now.

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1948

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We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, though it may be a while before we’ve covered the whole hundred years!

We’re covering each year at a time and we’re now approaching the end of the 1940s as we feature 1948.

1948 was a leap year, which saw the first prefab houses to counter the lack of housing after the war, televisions started to appear in homes, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered, and a loaf of bread in the US cost just 14c.

Among all that, there were plenty of books published and read too, and today we’re featuring the bestselling novels of 1948, and some that didn’t make the list but have stood the test of time. Read More

6 Essential Books About Climate Change and the Environment

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We’re getting bombarded by all sides right now, The Extinction Rebellion, The Sixth Mass Extinction, Unnatural History, Climate Change, the buzzwords are everywhere, but what do they all mean?

If you want to care about the planet and want to make positive change but you don’t really understand what it’s all about, why it’s happening, and what you can do about it then today we are bringing you six must read books about climate change to ensure you’re as informed as possible!

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10 Books Guaranteed to Give You That Summer Vibe

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As the smell of summer comes in on the warm air and my allergies confirm that the warmer weather is definitely on its way, you might be thinking of holidays and long relaxing days on the beach. If that’s the plan then you’ll need some reading material and so today we’ve put together a list of reads guaranteed to get you in the summer vibe!

There’s a selection of reads, across various genres but they all have one thing in common, they are guaranteed to make you feel summery! From old favourites to new releases we hope you’ll find something to read from this list!

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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1947

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, though it may be a while before we’ve covered the whole hundred years!

We’re covering each year at a time and we’re now approaching the end of the 1940s as we feature 1947.

In 1947 we saw the Roswell incident, the International Monetary Fund was founded, India and Pakistan gained independence from the UK, and a US postage stamp cost 3c.

Among all that, there were plenty of books published and read too, and today we’re featuring the bestselling novels of 1947, and some that didn’t make the list but have stood the test of time. Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1946

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, though it may be a while before we’ve covered the whole hundred years!

We’re covering each year at a time and we’re now well into the 1940s where today we take a look at the bestselling books of 1946.

In 1946 with the war finally over, the Nuremberg trials began, the first car phones appeared in the US (yes, really!) and the bikini made its first appearance on the catwalk.

Among all that, there were plenty of books published and read too, and today we’re featuring the bestselling novels of 1946, and some that didn’t make the list Read More

6 New Books With Muslim Protagonists to Read During Ramadan

By | Discussion and Recommendations, New Releases | No Comments
Around the world Muslims are marking Ramadan and so we thought we’d make some suggestions of some new books by Muslim authors that were released this year. We’ve featured books by Muslim authors previously but this time it’s a brand new selection, full of books released, or to be released in 2019.

We’ve tried to include a selection of genres, and we hope that you’ll find something here that you would like to add to your TBR.
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