‘Tis the season for celebration, reflection, and perhaps, most importantly, new beginnings. What better way to spend the New Year than snuggled up in a comfy blanket, hot beverage of choice in one hand and a good book in the other? Last year presented some great reads, spanning a wide range of genres, subject matters, and unforgettable characters who tackle love, life, war, revenge, mystery, and so much more. While many books made my favorites list, three recent releases found their way onto my nightstand—and into my heart. Get started on your reading resolutions by disappearing into these compelling stories.
(Hub City Press, September 2017)
By Brock Adams
Imagine the sun dying and the world using its nuclear capabilities to reignite it, only to fail. That’s the premise in Adam’s page-turner, Ember. Set largely in the Upstate of South Carolina and western North Carolina, readers will recognize specific places and people in this book. Original and brimming with unexpected twists and turns (Adams is a master at pulling the rug out from under you!), this debut novel delivers a thought-provoking examination of what folks will do to survive and thrive in an unrelenting environment when the easiest thing to do would be to give up.
Future Home of the Living God
(Harper, November 2017)
By Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read her National Book Award–winning novel, The Round House, it’s a must. Future Home, eerily reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, follows a young Ojibwe woman who becomes pregnant in a time where childbearing has become a matter of the state. A thrilling tale with an endearing cast of characters, Erdrich’s latest is an entertaining read that’s seriously plotted in current issues of women’s agency and natural rights.
Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs
(W.W. Norton, October 2017)
By Beth Ann Fennelly
With refreshing honesty and candor, Fennelly opens a window into her life through this unique collection of micro-memoirs. Within her brief vignettes is every woman: wife, mother, lover, daughter, friend, daughter-in-law, worker. One page might cause you to spit your drink from laughter; the next will draw tears to your eyes. In a compact 107 pages, Fennelly reminds the reader we’re all in this together, and how it seriously takes a village to raise a child, tend a marriage, and uplift the broken.
Kathleen Nalley is the author of Gutterflower, a full-length prose poetry collection, winner of the Bryant-Lisembee Editor’s Prize from Red Paint Hill Press (available at M. Judson Booksellers), and the poetry chapbooks, Nesting Doll and American Sycamore. Recently, her poetry has appeared in the violence against women anthology from Sable Books, Red Sky, and in Hand-in-Hand: Poets Respond to Race anthology from Muddy Ford Press. She holds an MFA from Converse College, teaches literature and writing at Clemson University, and finds books their forever homes at M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, SC. kathleennalley.com