We are extremely grateful at Book Club Babble to work with many amazing authors and publishers. We have read so many great books during 2016 that it was challenging to come up with a favorite list, especially since we only publish reviews and interviews of books we would recommend to a friend. But here are a few we think you cannot miss!

 

             

            

           
            

Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel, by Lily Brooks-Dalton. Chilling in its premise, the narrative focuses on the plight of the characters who now face a question for the ages: What matters at the end of the world? With elegant prose, Lily Brooks-Dalton explores connection and isolation, regret and hope, angst and acceptance. Her beautifully drawn characters pull the narrative forward, and she captures their emotions with depth, grace, and truth. This one is a favorite! ~Tabitha Lord

Dessert First, by Dean Gloster. Dean Gloster’s young adult novel Dessert First is a beautifully written, compassionate story of a young girl dealing with the painful realities of her brother’s fight with cancer, while at the same time navigating her own tumultuous teenage experience. Sixteen-year-old Kat had to grow up quickly, with much of her family’s attention focused on her brother and his illness. But in many ways, Kat faces the everyday challenges of a normal teenager – a first crush, difficulties with friends, and a messy sibling relationship. Gloster captures Kat’s voice with authenticity, humor, and sensitivity. With Dessert First, he delivers a moving story that doesn’t shy away from the pain, but also serves up a generous portion of hope and a large dollop of forgiveness. ~Tabitha Lord

The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena.  One summer night, Anne and Marco Conti’s new baby, Cora, mysteriously disappears from her crib while her parents carouse at a dinner party next door. What starts out as every parent’s worst nightmare leads to growing scrutiny from the police, the couple’s mounting desperation, and eventually, suspicion within the family’s inner circle. What really happened to baby Cora? The Couple Next Door is a taut, psychological thriller that sweeps you off your feet and doesn’t let you go. ~Kate Newton

North of Here a novel, by Laurel Saville.  Against the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains, Laurel Saville’s North of Here immerses readers in the story of a back-to-nature cult, delving into the complex relationships that can grow between damaged souls and their would-be rescuers. Told from the alternating perspectives of its four main characters, the book highlights both the power and the limitations of love. ~ Kate Newton

If at Birth You Don’t Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny, by Zach Anner. In his exceptionally written memoir, If at Birth You Don’t Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny, Zack Anner skillfully and hysterically finds meaning in all of his milestones. Using the power of narrative structure, and comedy as his context for struggle, he shows his readers, and legions of fans, that it is possible to find humor in every failure … starting with his birth. He writes, “Growing up with cerebral palsy I needed help with almost everything. When you’re relying on adults to help get you dressed, get you food and go to the bathroom you can either develop of sense of humor or be embarrassed about everything.” Lena Dunham envies his life, John Mayer writes music for his shows, and Stephen Colbert wants to make a buddy cop movie with him–not too shabby. ~ Maribel Garcia

The Runaway Wife: A Novel, by Elizabeth Birkelund, a literary thriller. Ms. Birkelund’s style is fresh and insistent, bringing a lively sense of importance to her words and her story. Reading The Runaway Wife is akin to taking an invigorating walk through beautiful surroundings as you inhale the rich, fortifying air. The novel is like a Matisse cutout–by leaving in only that which is essential, it is both stark and richly informative. The Runaway Wife is a unique tale, tenderly capturing the essence of despair and hope. ~Amy M. Hawes

Everyone Loves You Back, by Louie Cronin.  Bob, a beautifully flawed self-assessor, is easy to love. His honest, biting observations of the changes being made in his neighborhood and at the radio station he works at will have you laughing out loud. This is one of those “read in one sitting” books that provides both food for thought and great entertainment, which is just the type of book BCB loves to recommend! ~Amy M. Hawes

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Isenberg, non-fiction. Dr. Isenberg’s book is both groundbreaking and critically important if we, as a society, want to live up to our ideals and our potential. After finishing the book, I have a deeper understanding of the complexity of what it takes to actualize the American Dream, but I’m not giving up on it! ~ Amy M. Hawes

A Hundred Thousand Worlds: A Novel, by Bob Proehl, literary meets genre fiction. Proehl combines the story of a mother, Valerie Torrey, and her nine-year-old son, Alex, who travel cross-country hopping from one comic book convention to another. The plot lines follow Valerie and Alex, the comic book creators, and the characters featured in their comics. Proehl’s technique facilitates an interesting and fun read that never bores, while deftly avoiding confusion and excess. In addition, Proehl is a skilled storyteller with just the right touch of literary style. ~Amy M. Hawes

Innocents and Others: A Novel,  by Dana Spiotta, literary fiction. With the eagerness of a student and knowledge of a seasoned teacher, Ms. Spiotta spins a captivating story that echoes a real-life game of truth or consequences. Her characters are drawn from an exquisite blend of insight and curiosity, each exhibiting a unique relationship with objective truth. The stories they tell themselves and each other form a literary collage that is a delight to explore. ~Amy M. Hawes

The Yoga of Max’s Discontent: A Novel, by Karan Bajaj, literary/contemporary fiction. The Yoga of Max’s Discontent tells the story of Max Pzoras, a Wall Street analyst who, in the wake of his mother’s death, struggles with a lack of meaning in his life. Max quits his high-paying job and embarks on a spiritual journey in India, hoping to find some kind of enlightenment through yoga. Max’s voyage from hidden night markets to remote ashrams and Himalayan caves is simultaneously philosophical and suspenseful, making The Yoga of Max’s Discontent a rare kind of book: a fast-paced trek of the mind. ~Kelly Sarabyn

Leaving Lucy Pear: A Novel, by Anna Solomon, literary fiction. Leaving Lucy Pear is the heartbreaking story of Lucy Pear, a daring girl who was birthed by one woman and raised by another. But it is not only Lucy’s story; it is the story of both Lucy’s mothers and their families, and the 1920s New England town they live in. Lyrical, emotionally gripping and panoramic, Leaving Lucy Pear illustrates the difficult choices women of all segments of society often encounter on their path to motherhood and marriage. ~Kelly Sarabyn

The Dinner Party: A Novel, by Brenda Janowitz, contemporary fiction. Brenda Janowitz’s fifth novel The Dinner Party is the story of a Passover Seder where three different families, from three different backgrounds, have an unforgettable night of surprises, awkward moments, and revealed secrets. Populated by an interesting and realistic cast of characters, The Dinner Party is at once an emotional page-turner and full of insight. ~Kelly Sarabyn

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah. If you read one book in the new year, let it be this one. I’ve never seen The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, so you don’t need to be a fan to find this book fantastic. It’s about Noah’s youth in South Africa – during and after apartheid. He was born a crime because when he was conceived, it was a crime punishable with jail for the races to mix. The book is about him navigating this world as he grows up the son of a radically (for the time/place) independent mother. Memoir by a comedian is a powerful way to make the truth of apartheid go down easier – and with more poignancy – than it would in a history book. It’s a page turner that I literally stayed up in the middle of the night reading. ~Mary Anne Sullivan

Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. Unlike other retellings, which normally feel as exciting as reading a master’s thesis to me, this re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice is great. It’s set in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Bennett parents still want to get their girls married off. This time, most are in their 30s, over-educated, and working on their fitness. It’s a tongue-in-cheek view of modern life, and I found it enormously entertaining. ~Mary Anne Sullivan

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys.  This young adult novel is about a mismatch of teens trying desperately to flee East Prussia before being slaughtered by Stalin. By a mix of sheer luck and force of will, they successfully make it aboard the ship Wilhelm Gustloff. It’s not a spoiler to say that ship is then torpedoed by Stalin because that’s what happened in real life. This novel is harrowing and haunting, and though difficult to read, captivating and necessary. ~Mary Anne Sullivan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.