We’re All Adults Here
Book Recommendations & Other Musings
by Carol Tuttle
This May is a Big Month for New Books
As an acquisitions librarian (basically a book buyer for your Willoughby-Eastlake public library) one of the parts of my job that I love is having a box of ARCs land on my desk. ARCs are “Advance Reader Copies”: paperback uncorrected proof copies of upcoming books. These are sent to book reviewers, book bloggers and librarians in hopes of generating sales and publicity. The positive (hopefully) reviews posted by these early readers on Goodreads, social media and in trade publications (Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly) can give a big boost to great books even before they land on the library shelves or in bookstores.
I do my best to read a few ARCs before the books are published, but as avid readers know, “so many books, so little time”. This month I can recommend three very different titles, all brand new or available soon: How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper; Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep; The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames. The first and last are fiction and the middle title is nonfiction.
How Not to Die Alone might be described as an Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine read-alike novel. This is a debut novel written with decidedly British humor. Andrew, the main character, has a government job in London tracking down the next of kin to deceased community members. A long-lived lie threatens to come between lonely Andrew and his potential friendship with a new coworker. Can Andrew face up to his past to connect with his future?
Furious Hours is a true crime book composed of three equally interesting parts: The Reverend; The Lawyer; The Writer. The “Reverend” chapters tell of the murders of five family members of Reverend Willie Maxwell during the 1970’s in Alabama. “The Lawyer” is the ensuing courtroom drama. And “The Writer” ties in author Harper Lee and her real-life obsession with this story she hoped to write. For fans of true crime, To Kill a Mockingbird, and southern Gothic novels.
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is an epic debut novel. It is written as a family drama told by a descendant of Mariastella Fortuna, an Italian woman shadowed by death her entire life. Stella is not always a likable person, but she is a compelling character who makes difficult choices in some dark situations. The story begins in early 20th century Calabria, Italy and then moves with the family’s immigration to Connecticut for the remaining years of Stella’s long life. Beautiful writing kept me riveted to this novel.
Carol Tuttle is the Collection Services Librarian for the Willoughby-Eastlake Library System. She is currently exhausted from reading May new releases and will resume reading in June.