Are you looking to make updates to your reading list?
Instead of browsing endlessly from home, our staff is ready with some Fresh Picks. These titles have been released over the last few months, spanning different genres, and they were recently featured in The State newspaper.
In this bittersweet historical novel, a traveling fiddler is forced to enlist in a regimental band in the last days of the Civil War. Simon, the fiddler, falls for the indentured Irish governess of a Union colonel and sets about planning for his future with her. After the war, Simon and his ragtag band-mates seek their fortune by playing gigs – and running into trouble - all over Texas. The novel brings alive the atmosphere of postwar Texas and its struggle to re-form itself. Paulette Jiles is known for writing historical fiction with a strong sense of place – her last, “News of the World,” was a National Book Award finalist - and “Simon the Fiddler” does not disappoint.
This claustrophobic Gothic novel is definitely not for everyone. It’s an intense book. Fans of atmospheric dark ghost stories with unreliable narrators will love this story about Iseult, a nervous young Victorian woman who believes her dead mother lives in the scar on her neck and continues to direct her life as her odious father attempts to marry her off. When she meets a suitor willing to marry her and begins to make wedding plans, her mother becomes increasingly controlling and volatile. In turns bleakly funny and trembling with anxiety, this nerve-wracking page turner will be polarizing to readers but a favorite of its fans.
“The Vanishing Half” is a bittersweet look into the lives of twin sisters and how they deal with separation, betrayal, abuse and a changing world. And that's all before their daughters get involved.
Stella and Desiree Vignes want nothing more than to get out of their small town where a lighter skin tone in your children is a familial aspiration. They steal away in the night to New Orleans where their stories diverge for the first time. Stella chooses to pack up, leave everything she has ever known behind, and pass for white. Desiree meets and falls in love with a dark skin man, and she has a dark-skinned daughter.
The story spans 30 years of the twins’ lives, and you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat wondering if they will come together again. The book is well written, with dynamic characters, and leaves you wishing for more after the last page.
Mary Morris, author of the travel classic “Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone,” deftly guides readers along two journeys in this new memoir – her thrilling excursion to India in search of one of the world’s deadliest predators and her internal journey of healing and self-discovery. On the first day of a long-awaited sabbatical, Morris and her husband are preparing for the trip of a lifetime when a spontaneous decision to go ice skating derails their plans. A freak fall on the ice shatters the author’s ankle so badly that doctors fear she’ll never walk again. As Morris spends the next three years undergoing surgeries and physical therapy, she becomes determined to regain her ability to walk and to satisfy her lifelong fascination with tigers when she does by seeing one in the wild. Morris weaves a skillful narrative, interspersing tales of her travels with childhood memories and scenes from her recovery, all culminating in a compelling exploration of the wild and endless journey of becoming your truest self.