16 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: August 2017

books-radar-august-2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for August 2017:

  1. Hum If You Don’t Know The Words by Bianca Marais
  2. The Late Show by Michael Connelly
  3. Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
  4. Of Mess And Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
  5. Killerjoy by Jon Negroni
  6. A Clean Kill In Tokyo by Barry Eisler
  7. The Road To Concord by J.L. Bell
  8. All The Bayou Stories End With Drowned by Erica Wright
  9. Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
  10. I Was Told To Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet
  11. The Weight Of Blood by Laura Mchugh
  12. Into The Forest by Jean Hegland
  13. A House Among The Trees by Julia Glass
  14. A Distant View Of Everything by Alexander Mccall Smith
  15. The Elephants In My Backyard by Rajiv Surendra
  16. Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/8/3/17-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-august-2017

 

7 Books That Are More Feminist Than You’d Think

wuthering heights emily bronte

Reading while also being a feminist can be a demoralising endeavor. It feels like for every brilliant piece of feminist writing, there’s an unassailable mountain of misogynistic nonsense (I’m looking at you, Ernest Hemingway). So much of what we read in secondary school literature, for example, is written by white men, about white men, and for white men, and it starts to get exhausting. Can we only read books of essays on feminist theory for the rest of time? Are any other books safe? Well, these books might not change your entire gender-based worldview, but they certainly all have feminist messages buried in there somewhere. Here are a few books that turn out to be more feminist than you’d think.

I mean sure, we can all enjoy the occasional story about hunting lions in Africa with your shrewish wife, but over half of the planet’s population is made up of genders other than men. It’s tempting to give up on male authors entirely and go live underground and/or only read Ella Enchanted on repeat for the rest of your life. But if that’s sounding a little unrealistic, here are a few books that have more to say on women’s rights than you might have guessed:

1. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare

Sappy romance between hormonal teens…or secret feminist manifesto? Romeo and Juliet has quite the reputation for being a classic love story, but the way it deals with gender is very nearly revolutionary. Despite being a teen boy, Romeo is the emotional, romantic, sensitive character, who kills himself using poison, which is traditionally a “woman’s weapon.” Juliet, on the other hand, is a thoughtful, logical teenage girl, who has a whole monologue about how excited she is to have sex with her boyfriend, and who stabs herself to death in a very traditionally masculine form of violence.

2. ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce

Yes, James Joyce writes a lot about dudes staring at women and yes, a lot of his fans are lit bros who’ll make you read their screenplay and then ghost you. But if you can make it through Ulysses, you just might find that Joyce is more complex than that. The book is all about Leopold Bloom, but Molly Bloom, his wife, gets the final chapter all to herself. The last few pages are a stream of consciousness monologue from Molly as she masturbates, and it’s presented as a beautiful, empowering, life-affirming event (that got the book repeatedly banned for obscenity).

3. ‘The Suffragette Scandal’ by Courtney Milan

A lot of people write off the romance genre as trashy or backwards, but there are many well-written feminist love stories out there. The Suffragette Scandal, for one, is a nuanced and sexy romance between an outspoken suffragette and a man who actually appreciates her for her wit, tenacity, and bold opinions.

4. ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ by Hanan Al-Shaykh

Like most classic folklore collections, the original One Thousand and One Nights isn’t exactly up to date on gender politics. But Hanan Al-Shaykh’s beautiful, witty re-telling of these stories manages to highlight complex women throughout. The stories are equally funny and gruesome, and at the center of all of them is young Shahrazad, spinning tales to save her life, and to protect other women from the king’s wrath.

5. ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen

People seem to be split on Jane Austen: either they think she’s a brilliant proto-feminist, or they dismiss her books as classic chick lit. Those “chick lit” people need to take a long hard look in the mirror and then read Persuasion. It may not have as much of a feminist following as Pride and Prejudice, but Persuasion is the most mature of Austen’s novels: the story of an old-ish young woman looking for a second chance with a man she once spurned. But more than that, our heroine is forced to deal with the existential question of her own place in society as a woman who never married (she’s a dried up old maid of 27!).

6. ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ by Lemony Snicket

I don’t know that anyone would call Lemony Snicket’s darkly humorous children’s series sexist, but it’s certainly not the book that comes to mind first in a discussion of feminist kids’ books. That’s too bad, because the Baudelaire siblings eschew traditional gender roles and deal with a lot of sexist creeps. Violet, the mechanically minded inventor, is a great example of a young women who can enjoy hair ribbons and machinery.

7. ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë

When it comes to the Brontës and feminism, Jane Eyre gets most of the attention. After all, Jane Eyre is very clearly the story of one woman growing into her own independence, while Wuthering Heights is… more of a story about two awful people who love/hate each other until they angrily die. But, I’d argue that Wuthering Heights is important in part because it has an unlikable female protagonist. So many great books star antihero men, so why can’t Cathy be an antihero woman? Wuthering Heights challenges us to invest in the story of a young woman who is not particularly pleasant or nice, but who is still a fully realised individual with passions and thoughts.

Via: https://www.bustle.com/p/7-books-that-are-more-feminist-than-you-think

18 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: July 2017

books-radar-july-2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for July 2017:

  1. Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash
  2. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
  3. The Fallen by Ace Atkins
  4. Madame Zero by Sarah Hall
  5. Grunt by Mary Roach
  6. The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
  7. Unsub by Meg Gardiner
  8. The Graybar Hotel by Curtis Dawkins
  9. Found Audio by N.J. Campbell
  10. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  11. The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt
  12. Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore
  13. St. Marks is Dead by Ada Calhoun
  14. The Songs by Charles Elton
  15. The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick
  16. Blind Spot by Teju Cole
  17. Sweat by Lynn Nottage
  18. Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: Books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-July-2017

15 Books With Plot Twists You Never Saw Coming

plot twists you never saw coming

If you participated in Mystery & Thriller Week on Goodreads earlier this year, then you probably used the opportunity to crack open at least a few of those mind-bending, spine-tingling reads in your TBR pile. But with the week only running May 1 through May 7 (due to the fact that, you know, weeks are only seven days long) you may not have had quite enough time to get your fill of creepy, shocking, heart-pounding books with plot twists you never saw coming. (I barely made a dent in my own TBR pile, TBH.)

The good news is, you don’t have to stop reading great thrillers just because the Goodreads’ Mystery & Thriller Week is over. If you’re the kind of bookworm who loves her shelves stacked high with one shocking plot twist after another, then maybe every week is Mystery & Thriller Week in your reading life. Or maybe you used the opportunity to spark a new love of mysteries and thrillers — in which case you’re probably going to need some book recommendations, am I right? From classics like Henry James to contemporaries like Paula Hawkins, there are plenty of thrillers on this list that’ll shake up your reading life. And, if you like your plot twists a little less terrifying, there are also a few non-thrillers that will leave you just as floored.

Here are 15 novels with plot twists you never saw coming:

1. ‘Big Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty

Even if you missed the HBO mini-series Big Little Lies, it’s not too late to check out Liane Moriarty’s New York Times bestselling novel from which the show was adapted. (And even if you did, there are some big differences between the novel and the show that are definitely worth checking out.) For those who don’t know, Big Little Lies tells the story of a group of mothers who are all wrestling different demons — some psychological, others pulled directly from the real world, and a few that fall under both categories, and they’re not always honest about it; often lying to each other and themselves. Somehow this novel will manage to both amuse and disturb you, often on the very same page. And it will definitely surprise you.

2. ‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon

Another New York Times bestseller, this YA novel will surprise — and maybe even infuriate you — with its ending. (And if you haven’t seen the film yet, definitely read the book first.) Everything, Everything introduces readers to 17-year-old Madeline, a girl who has never left her house. She is, as she describes, allergic to the whole world. But when the tall, dark, and handsome teen Olly moves into next door, Madeline finally discovers something — or rather someone — she is willing to risk stepping outside for. But not everyone is going to be happy about it.

3. ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen

Don’t let the performance of the circus distract you — Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants has some surprising twists you’ll want to watch out for. In this Depression-era novel, penniless college drop out Jacob Jankowski hops a freight train in the middle of the night, and joins the circus; the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, to be exact. But the most spectacular show on earth isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be, and behind the scenes things like sex and alcohol, violence and betrayal abound. And, everyone isn’t who they seem to be — or, at least, they’re not who they are for the reasons you might expect.

4. ‘People Who Knew Me’ by Kim Hooper

On September 11, 2001, Emily Morris’s entire life is transformed — pregnant and prepared to leave her husband for the man she’s been having an affair with, Emily instead uses the national disaster to take on a new identity, leaving New York City and the mistakes she made there behind. Fast forward 13 years, and Emily is raising a teenage daughter and battling a terminal illness — one that leaves her wondering if she can re-imagine her life, and more importantly the life of her 13-year-old daughter, once more. Maybe other readers predicted the ending of People Who Knew Me, but I definitely didn’t.

5. ‘Into the Water’ by Paula Hawkins

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Into the Water is filled with more twists and turns than any book I’ve recently read — and once you think you’re starting to figure it out, author Paula Hawkins will surprise you again. This novel, from the bestselling author of The Girl on the Train, takes readers to a small, storied town, where a teenage girl and a single mother are found drowned in the nearby river — a river that has seen a disturbing number of drownings of women before. Suddenly, long-buried local mysteries rise to the surface, and there are a few people in the community who can’t let that happen.

6. ‘The Queen of the Night’ by Alexander Chee

A lengthy read, Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night is not, IMO, a book to be missed. Blending historical fiction with a mystery thriller, The Queen of the Night takes readers back to the historic Paris Opera, where the legendary soprano Lilliet Berne has just been given the role of a lifetime — one that will define her legacy in the opera forever. But as she begins to perform her part, she realizes the opera is based on a dark and secret part of her own past, which, if revealed, could certainly ruin her life. The thing that terrifies Lilliet even more than the opera itself is who could have committed her secrets to performance in the first place — and that’s the question that will keep you guessing as well.

7. ‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James

Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw is a classic Gothic horror, telling the story of a governess who moves into an English estate to care for two children, only to have her sanity compromised by supernatural happenings and evil phantoms — phantoms that her two charges already seem eerily well familiar with. Or, was the well-meaning governess insane to begin with? If you haven’t read this classic yet, definitely check it out.

8. ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

The way I see it, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl did (at least) two important things for the thriller genre: it made thrillers appealing for people who never read thrillers, and it turned the violent male/victimized female formula of the genre entirely on its head. And I’m glad for that. If you haven’t read this one yet, you should. When Nick Dunne’s wife Amy disappears before their fifth wedding anniversary, suspicion immediately falls on Nick — who, let’s face it, isn’t awesome. And his lies make him look even worse. But the plot twist Flynn has in store might actually make you shout out loud from surprise, or throw the book across the room. Really.

9. ‘Waking Lions’ by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Set in the novelist’s native Israel, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s Waking Lions begins with a murder — the hit-and-run of an undocumented Eritrean immigrant by Israeli doctor Eitan Green. Eitan, speeding down a rural road late at night, slams into Asum and after a quick inspection of the immigrant’s body, decides to flee the scene. Except he’s left some evidence behind — evidence that Asum’s wife, Sirkit, will use to blackmail the doctor into operating a free, nighttime health clinic for Israel’s undocumented immigrants and refugees. In Waking Lions, the bad guys are the good guys, the victims are the perpetrators, and the ending is definitely not what you’ll expect.

10. ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers

Man has always had a complicated relationship with machines — but that relationship is getting a whole lot creepier of late. Written like 1984-meets-The Fountainhead for the social media generation, Dave Eggers’ The Circle will take you behind the scenes of one of the world’s most powerful tech companies — one that monitors your every move, where secrets, privacy, and unplugging are automatically suspect. What’s so shocking about The Circle isn’t the ending (with its strong echoes of Winston and Julia) but rather how familiar some of the disturbing happenings in The Circle will start to sound.

11. ‘Second Life’ by S.J. Watson

Another novel that will make you re-think your relationship with the internet forever, S.J. Watson’s psychological thriller, Second Life, tells the story of a fairly unremarkable wife and mother whose entire life is turned upside-down after her sister is murdered. According to Julia, the police aren’t doing everything to find Kate’s killer, and so she takes matters into her own hands. Suddenly, Julia finds herself immersed in her sister’s secret world of online dating and cybersex, and quickly begins to succumb to a hidden, and potentially deadly, digital “second” life of her own.

12. ‘The Westing Game’ by Ellen Raskin

Featuring a surprising plot for a YA/Middle Grade novel, Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game just might have been your very first mystery thriller. In The Westing Game, sixteen characters are thrown together to play a series of games hosted by a dead millionaire — and lifelong lover of games himself. Samuel Westing’s will is filled with games, tricks, and mysteries, all leading his heirs to their share of his estate… and although all are somewhat eccentric in their own rights, one might actually be a murderer.

13. ‘Before the Fall’ by Noah Hawley

Alternating between the past and the present, Noah Hawley’s novel, Before the Fall, tells the story of a terrible (and unlikely?) boating accident. When an entire boat of people traveling from Martha’s Vineyard to New York one summer evening disappears into the thick fog off the coast, only two survivors surface: an unknown painter and a four-year-old boy who seems to have lost his entire family. But was the disappearance really an accident? As past and present begin to collide, and theories abound, the possibility that this was really a planned conspiracy becomes increasingly likely — and disturbing.

14. ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini

Young Afghan boys Amir and Hassan might feel like they’re best friends, but the ethnic and tribal tensions that permeate every aspect of Afghan society say otherwise. Amir is the son of a wealthy Pashtun merchant and Hassan, of the Hazara caste, is technically his servant. But Baba Amir’s father, loves both boys as sons; often exhibiting a soft spot for Hassan, while critiquing Amir. This fear of disappointing his father causes Amir to betray his lifelong friend, threatening their relationship with more than just the dynamics of Afghan politics. And once Amir betrays Hassan, unforgivably, he discovers — through one surprising twist after another — that the rest of his life risks being defined by this betrayal.

15. ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart

The winner of several awards for books for young writers, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars introduces you to Cadence Sinclair, a teen suffering from amnesia who is struggling to remember the accident that led to her injury, trusts no one, and is questioning everything — including her cousins and best friends, the “Liars.” Written in choppy, nontraditional prose, We Were Liars will take you through Cadence’s internal journey, into the darkest depths of her mind, leaving you wondering whether she is the victim of a terrible violence or an unreliable narrator. All is revealed in the end.

Via: https://www.bustle.com/p/15-books-with-plot-twists-you-never-saw-coming-56286

20 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: June 2017

books-radar-june-2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for June 2017:

  1. The Force By Don Winslow
  2. Killers Of The Flower Moon By David Grann
  3. The Light We Lost By Jill Santopolo
  4. Mom & Me & Mom By Maya Angelou
  5. Exit Strategy By Steve Hamilton
  6. The Bright Hour By Nina Riggs
  7. The Immortal Irishman By Timothy Egan
  8. American Bang By Doug Richardson
  9. Apollo 8 By Jeffrey Kluger
  10. Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give By Ada Calhoun
  11. Girl At War By Sara Nović
  12. Evicted By Matthew Desmond
  13. Trajectory By Richard Russo
  14. She Rides Shotgun By Jordan Harper
  15. The Story Of My Teeth By Valeria Luiselli
  16. Goodbye, Vitamin By Rachel Khong
  17. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé By Morgan Parker
  18. The Animators By Kayla Rae Whitaker
  19. White Fur By Jardine Libaire
  20. IQ By Joe Ide

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: Books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-June-2017

17 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: May 2017

books-radar-may2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for May 2017:

  1. Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
  2. The Wrong Side Of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
  3. Marlena by Julie Buntin
  4. Janesville, An American Story by Amy Goldstein
  5. Little Victories by Jason Gay
  6. The River Of Kings by Taylor Brown
  7. American War by Omar El Akkad
  8. A Brutal Bunch Of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski
  9. The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris
  10. Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli
  11. The One-Eyed Man by Ron Currie
  12. Recitation by Bae Suah
  13. The Warren by Brian Evenson
  14. Unbearable Splendor by Sun Yung Shin
  15. Hothouse by Karyna Mcglynn
  16. Make: A Decade Of Literary Art
  17. Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-may-2017

16 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: April 2017

books-radar-april

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for April 2017:

  1. Faces In The Crowd by Valeria Luiselli
  2. An Exaggerated Murder by Josh Cook
  3. No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
  4. The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
  5. What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
  6. The Whore’s Child by Richard Russo
  7. The Stand by Stephen King
  8. The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  9. Mad Men And PoliticsCo-Authored And -Edited By Lilly Goren
  10. Dark Money by Jane Mayer
  11. The Good Assassin by Paul Vidich
  12. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  13. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  14. The Spy by Paulo Coelho
  15. Humans Are Underrated by Geoff Colvin
  16. Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/16-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-april-2017