Various “challenges” have been circulating Facebook, including one for which I was recently nominated: list 10 books that have impacted me. Not much of a challenge, in my opinion, although choosing which books to include did take some serious consideration.
After making my list, I realized that it was mostly old favorites, from S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders to the Shakespeare-inspired Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. All of the novels are also young adult fiction.
Maybe it’s time to try some new genres? My bookshelf needs an upgrade. Luckily, there are a slew of upcoming and new releases this fall to help anyone discover some new favorites.
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer, released on Sept. 9, explores the parallel lives of Scott, who along, with his wife, has been taking care of a young foster boy, and Mara, a wife and adoptive mother who is dying from Huntington’s disease.
The novel takes place in the final five days before Scott has to decide if he is willing to risk his marriage to keep his foster son or return him to his mother who is being released from jail, while Mara is planning on ending her life before her disease progresses any further.
While some of this sounds melodramatic, I am interested in seeing how the two narratives connect and what choices Timmer has her characters make.
Two historical novels have caught my attention: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas, released in August and The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters, released on Sept. 16.
The former follows the life of Eileen, the daughter of an Irish immigrant family in New York and her family—husband Ed and son Connell. The novel spans decades, beginning with Eileen’s childhood in the 1940s and ’50s and then progressing with her marriage. The family tries to deal with Eileen’s long-held American Dream and Ed’s early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
In The Paying Guests, a novel set in 1920s London, a widow and her daughter take in a young married couple as lodgers so they can still afford to pay for their villa. An illicit romance, accidental murder and investigation ensue. Both novels have dark themes, but the character development and peeks into bygone eras make me want to read them.
World literature has always seemed like an obscure genre to me, but it really just encompasses any book written in another country, usually in another language.
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee, which will be released in the U.S. in October, takes place in Calcutta in 1967. The Ghoshes are a wealthy family, but it is revealed that one of their sons’ political choices might bring down their precariously held social standing.
I haven’t read any Indian or South Asian literature, so this multigenerational tale seems to be a good starting point.
All of these books have now been added to my Good Reads “virtual bookshelf” for when I have time to read them. Maybe these will be my new favorite novels along with classics like The Outsiders. Give them a chance when you have a free moment, and maybe they’ll become some of your favorites, too.