There are only a few weeks left until the unofficial end of summer! Before waiving goodbye and getting back into school and work routines, practice self care by setting aside some "ME" time. It's the perfect excuse to choose a book, find a cozy nook and get hooked on a literary adventure. Don't forget to check out the following picks from our Research and Readers' Advisory Department, featured in The State newspaper:
Bunny by Mona Awad
Recommended by Sarah Cameron
“We call them Bunnies because that’s what they call each other. Seriously. Bunny.” Samantha could not possibly fit in less with the other students in her highly selective MFA writing program. The titular Bunnies -- a gaggle of insufferably precious women who lavish flowery praise on one another’s writing when they aren’t too busy sweeping each other up in rib-crushing group hugs -- obviously find Samantha far too dark and gritty for their taste. Everything changes when the Bunnies invite Samantha to one of their weekly “Smut Salons,” where she discovers that her classmates are far more horrifying than she ever imagined. Bizarre in the best way, Bunny is a delightfully wicked, acerbically funny, and surprisingly gory satire of academia and the world of creative writing.
How to Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir by Kate Mulgrew
Recommended by Allison Thiessen
Actress Kate Mulgrew’s memoir about leaving her acting career to come back to Iowa to care for her dying parents. It is broken into two sections, one about her father and his quick passing from lung cancer, the other about her mother and her long passing from Alzheimer’s. The book was written, not as a catharsis, but out of a need to understand her parents’ relationship with each other and how it shaped her life. She shares the experience not only of her parents’ deaths, but beautiful, vivid memories of what her life growing up with them was like. Death is a universal experience that touches us all and Mulgrew describes this universal trip with refreshing frankness and implores the reader to find solace in the knowledge that we are not alone.
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
Recommended by Ellen Dowdell
Sarah Gailey, known for their alternate-history novellas featuring American hippo ranchers running cons in 1860s Louisiana, is back again, gleefully turning genre on its head with their new work Magic for Liars.
Ivy Gamble, a moderately successful, curmudgeonly Private Investigator fashioned in the neo-noir style, is asked to take on a case for more money and more prestige than she’s received in her entire established career. The twist? The gruesome murder no one else can solve took place at her estranged twin sister’s workplace- the Osthorne Academy for Young Mages. And Ivy Gamble doesn’t know a thing about magic.
This story takes us through a classic murder investigation, plays gleefully with the established conventions of a magical boarding school (Osthorne is far more like a typical high school, with cruel graffiti and petty dramas, than like Hogwarts), and is deeply funny to boot. But Ivy Gamble, a professional liar, is solving not just a murder but what it means, as an adult, to come to terms with all of the parts of yourself - especially the parts you feel are lacking.
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
Recommended by Sara McBride
Jessa-Lynn Morton has a lot of problems. The taxidermy shop her father left her after his sudden suicide is about to go bankrupt. Her mother has been working through her grief by making lewd dioramas with the wildlife in the shop windows. She’s been unable to get over her only love, who happened to also be her brother’s wife. Her niece and nephew are running feral. Everything is turning extremely… Florida. On the surface, Mostly Dead Things is a farcical treatment of escalating ridiculous situations, but beneath it is an emotionally affecting examination of desperately sad people struggling to make sense of their lives and find a way forward through grief and confusion to a place of growth. Squeamish readers should be aware – the animals in this book are more than mostly dead!
Recursion by Blake Crouch
Recommended by Morgan Ryan
Blake Crouch, author of New York Times bestseller Dark Matter, hits us again with his newest work, Recursion, about New York City cop Barry Sutton who is investigating an abnormal illness filling those afflicted with torturous memories of another life and begins erasing their own, dubbed "False Memory Syndrome". On the other side of the country, on an island off of San Francisco, neuroscientist Helena Smith is working on a technology-ridden chair that has the capability to delve into memories and preserve them as a hopeful solution to dealing with the harsh reality of coping with her mother's Alzheimer's disease. But the chair in the wrong hands has the power to alter everyone's reality forever. As reality keeps shifting and memories are being replaced, Helena and Barry must get a handle on the one thing that has the power to alter the world as we know it.
Crouch has an innate ability to take the "what if?" of mind-boggling science and make it accessible to every reader. Vividly filled with twists and turns, this book will have you racing through it until the very last page.