We can’t believe it is finally here: the last month in Bookish’s 2016 TBR Challenge. We hope that you’ve had as much fun as we have in tackling these reading challenges. It’d be a lie to say that our TBR piles have shrunk (we can’t resist the temptation of buying new books!), but we do feel proud for having ticked off a number of titles that have been sitting around unread for far too long.
For this final month, we want you to read books that have been recommended to you. You can ask a friend, a family member, or even a coworker to share a book that they think you should read. Let us know what you’ll be picking up by using #killyourtbr2016 on social media.
In the spirit of the challenge, here are seven books that our editors recommend picking up this month:
In some ways, offices are like small universes. They have their own individual cultures, their own vernaculars, and even a set of shared values. Joshua Ferris takes readers into an advertising agency office that definitely feels like its own world in Then We Came to the End. The office is populated with quirky, insane, all-too-familiar coworkers who will make you chuckle and sigh. There are office flirtations, hilarious hijinks, controversial promotions, and more. We know, we know—it’s almost time for the holiday break, and you’re probably looking forward to not spending your time in an office. Trust us on this one.
For readers who don’t already know and love the work of Oliver Sacks, there’s no time like the present to get started. This is one of Sacks’ later books, and it takes an anecdotal approach to explaining the phenomenon of hallucinations. While you might think hallucinations are limited to seeing what’s not there, Sacks explores how there are actually many, many kinds of hallucinatory experiences. Along the way, readers will meet a variety of Sacks’ own patients and learn about the cultural history and importance of hallucinations. No, you’re not seeing things. Go read this book!
If you love Alfred Hitchcock and New York Trilogy-level postmodern antics, then Adam Ross’ Mr. Peanut will keep you enthralled up to the very last page. Husband and wife David and Alice Pepin are in love, but David can’t stop thinking about how his wife will die. Then Alice does die, and all hell breaks loose. David finds himself under investigation for Alice’s murder, and Detectives Hastroll and Sheppard’s search for the truth only grows more bizarre. Ross paints a dark picture of marriage, and will keep readers guessing until the end.
Ivy Pochoda’s second novel explores themes of gentrification, racism, and grief in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. When 15-year-old June Giatto goes missing after taking a raft out onto the bay, shock waves ripple through the community. There are no cops here, only well-crafted and nuanced characters who react to June’s disappearance. Her best friend Val battles guilt because she too was out on the bay that night, but washed up on shore alive. Fadi, the local bodega owner, keeps his customers up-to-date as new details come to light. Eighteen-year-old Cree wonders if he can help without the police assuming he had something to do with June’s disappearance. Pocoda’s writing is remarkable and completely transports readers to Red Hook, a setting that is as much a member of the cast as the rest of the characters.
Rhine Fontaine has built a good life for himself: He’s engaged to a beautiful woman, he owns real estate and a popular saloon, and he sits on Virginia City’s town council. He’d lose it all if the small Nevada town knew his secret: He was born a slave. Rhine is biracial and passes for white, using his status to fight for the rights of African Americans. When he rescues Eddy Carmichael, an African-American woman robbed and left for dead in the desert, he wonders if this could be the woman worth risking everything for. If you’re a romance reader who has yet to pick up Beverly Jenkins, this is a great place to start.
If you aren’t yet addicted to graphic novels, let this month be the start of a new love affair. We think Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk series is an excellent place to begin. It has rollicking international adventures, a dynamic and death-defying heroine, and a lot of tea. What more could you want? Things kick off in this first volume when Lieutenant Selim becomes entangled with Delilah Dirk, who is on a mission to rob Constantinople’s corrupt Sultan. Delilah acts on a whim whereas Selim is overly cautious, making them a hilarious team. The art is gorgeous, the characters are vividly expressive, and the story is exhilarating.
This is the first book in Marie Rutkoski’s stunning trilogy about star-crossed lovers. Kestrel, the daughter of a Valorian general, buys a Herrani slave named Arin at the market. She doesn’t know that he’s a spy, purposefully placed in front of her so that he could gain information about her father’s plans. Neither trusts the other, but slowly their apathy turns to grudging respect and then to attraction. Even with as their feelings grow, Kestrel and Arin each act in their own self interest and must face the consequences of their actions. This series is wildly intelligent and set in a richly built world. There’s a touch of fantasy, but enough inspiration taken from world history that fans of both historical and SFF YA will be pleased. If you haven’t read it yet, this is the month to start.