I officially have way too many damn books thanks to Book of the Month Club. After organizing the library-sized cache that is my bookshelf—a healthy accumulation consisting of over 500 (likely unread) books—I finally accepted that my penchant for purchasing new books far outweighs my interest in reading them.
Obviously, the blame lies in my addiction to Salvation Army book sales; never-ending Goodreads timelines which allow me to see what my favorite BookTubers are reading, perpetuating my guilt; and Edelweiss and NetGalley ARCs… oh, those kind publishers know not what they do when fulfilling my requests.
Then again, it’s quite possible my spending habits are symptomatic of something laughably clinical. Although ignorance is bliss, Book of the Month doesn’t do my obsession any good, either. Seeing as February marks the final month in my subscription before I decide to renew, I figured I could probably get away with skipping this month all together in place of reading some of what’s already on my shelf, except…THAT WAS NOT THE CASE TONIGHT BECAUSE THERE JUST HAD TO BE A BOOK I REALLY WANTED TO READ ON THIS DAMN LIST SO LET’S GET INTO THESE SELECTIONS!!!
These are Book of the Month’s February 2017 Selections
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The Possessions, Sara Flannery Murphy
In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances.
In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies”, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.
But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.
After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.
A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion. — Goodreads
The Possessions channels many forms: it’s a mystery, a romance, a ghost story, and an erotically-charged thriller. — Judge, Liberty Hardy
The Animators, Kayla Rae Whitaker
In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing. Drawing: Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.
Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature, which transforms Mel’s difficult childhood into a provocative and visually daring work of art. The toast of the indie film scene, they stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success come doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership. Sharon begins to feel expendable, suspecting that the ever-more raucous Mel is the real artist. During a trip to Sharon’s home state of Kentucky, the only other partner she has ever truly known—her troubled, charismatic childhood best friend, Teddy—reenters her life, and long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.
It is about something I love without reservation – women who aren’t afraid to want. — Goodreads
A funny, heartbreaking novel of friendship, art, and trauma, The Animators is about the secrets we keep and the burdens we shed on the road to adulthood. — Judge, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Behind Her Eyes, Sara Pinborough
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling. — Goodreads
This novel isn’t just a who-dun-it. This novel is a what-the-f*ck-even-got-dun. ― Judge, Cristina Arreola
Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.
So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja’s family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity. — Goodreads
A novel with its own legend, a big novel to lose yourself in or to find yourself anew—a saga of Koreans living in Japan, rejected by the country they call home. — Judge, Alexander Chee
Perfect Little World, Kevin Wilson
When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she’s fresh out of high school, pregnant with her art teacher’s baby, and totally on her own. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or relatives to help, she’s left searching.
Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has spent his life studying family, even after tragedy struck his own. Now, with the help of an eccentric billionaire, he has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are. He calls it The Infinite Family Project and he wants Izzy and her son to join.
This attempt at a utopian ideal starts off promising, but soon the gentle equilibrium among the families disintegrates: unspoken resentments between the couples begin to fester; the project’s funding becomes tenuous; and Izzy’s growing feelings for Dr. Grind make her question her participation in this strange experiment in the first place.
Written with the same compassion and charm that won over legions of readers with The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson shows us with grace and humor that the best families are the ones we make for ourselves. — Goodreads
Isn’t it better to try for an idealized version of the world, than not to have tried at all? — Judge, Maris Kreizman
From the Editor-in-chief, Paris Close: Oh Liberty, I’ve betrayed you once again… I am so bad at judging books by their covers, I’ve learned. The Possessions looked less promising than the cover let on and, no bullshit, I had an opportunity to grab this one as an ARC and refused because the cover reminded me of one of those really, really shitty mass market romances that you find laying on your aunt’s dull coffee table: suspiciously worn out and dog-eared. You remember those, right? The really ugly ones! I’M SORRY BUT I MUST GO WITH MY HEART: BEHIND HER EYES, YOU ARE MINE!
From the minute I opened my browser to the milliseconds it took for Safari to load the BOTM webpage, I recognized Behind Her Eyes IMMEDIATELY. Not to mention, I bragged a bit about Pinborough’s book in our wrap-up for last year; the moment I saw the book, I didn’t second guess my selection. I want soooooo bad to read something exhilarating again. My TBR plans for last month didn’t go over so well: I DNF’d the shit out of Caroline Kepnes‘ books by Chapter 5; sabotaged the reading experience of S.J. Watson‘s Before I Go to Sleep since I’d already watched (and liked) the film last year; but at least Ruth Ware‘s In a Dark, Dark Wood was pretty exceptional.
As quick as it was to make a decision this time, I was really hoping for better selections this month. I don’t know, I think it’s because I’m too picky. I did skip like three months before I received my first book… that might explain something. But I’ll happily renew because I love this company and I love what they stand for. I’m just excited to get my hands on this fucking book after hearing so much about it!
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