It's technically a young-adult novel, but I can't imagine any adult not being sucked in by the premise of Katie Coyle's debut, Vivian Apple at the End of the World. The eponymous heroine is the freethinking teenage daughter of two extremely devout parents who are convinced the rapture is on its way—
Aside from Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman might be the most famous caped crusader around, and she's certainly the most famous superheroine. But as Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman reveals, her origins might be even more interesting than her travails on the comic-book page.
Dark, witty, and intense, Merritt Tierce's Love Me Back has been earning acclaim for its penetrating insight into the life of a complicated woman. Marie, its protagonist, is a young single mom who's scored a waitressing job at a high-end Dallas steakhouse, but instead of rising high, she self-destructs, falling into a tangle of casual sex, cocaine, drinking, and other bad habits.
Truth is stranger than fiction, as Alexis Coe's Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis proves. It's the 100 percent true story, sourced from hundreds of original letters and documents, of 19-year-old Alice Mitchell, who planned to pass as a man to marry her girlfriend, 17-year-old Freda Ward, in 1890s Memphis.
When it comes to tales of transgender people, we often hear stories of transwomen (from Jeffrey Tambor on the new Amazon series Transparent to Laverne Cox in Orange Is the New Black), but the stories of transmen are much more rare. Local writer Thomas Page McBee, who was born female, offers an intriguing reverse perspective in his memoir about becoming a man, appropriately titled Man Alive.
Australian novelist Richard Flanagan is generally considered to be one of the greatest fiction writers working, and his novel Gould's Book of Fish is one of my all-time favorites. So I'm eagerly anticipating getting my hands on his new The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which took him over 12 years to write.
Somehow, I had never heard of Diana Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander series until the Starz debut of its recent TV adaptation. A friend who's a longtime fan of the books encouraged me to read the first one, and it's a pretty ripping yarn, full of adventure, and with a relatable heroine who's neither a Katniss Everdeen-style badass nor an underwritten pushover.
Haruki Murakami is one of the most cultishly beloved authors in the States— despite the fact that all of his work is translated from Japanese. His "latest," Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, is about an engineer cut off from a group of beloved friends. It's been out in Japan for over a year, and now makes its debut Stateside.
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