Another month, another load of books
thrown against the wall being added to my collection. I should only feel so lucky as to be afforded the opportunity to receive so many amazing books during my day-to-day, even more so when Book of the Month makes its way into my bank account on the first on the month. It’s getting harder and harder to prioritize bill expenses when there are so many books waiting (and I mean, waiting) to be read.
For the first time ever, though, I am very tempted to bring home just about every book from Book of the Month‘s round up this time around. It’s miraculous, really, but it’s quite possible that I’ll be using the remainder of my credits for this month alone. (But by the looks of the selections this time around, I’m sure it will be well worth it.)
*crosses fingers for a productive summer reading turnout*
These are Book of the Month’s July 2017 Selections
This post is not sponsored by Book of the Month Club.
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The Windfall, Diksha Basu
For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.
The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters.
“A bubbly, fun, witty comedy of manners about a family attempting a lifestyle upgrade in Delhi.” — Rachel Syme
American Fire, Monica Hesse
The arsons started on a cold November midnight and didn’t stop for months. Night after night, the people of Accomack County waited to see which building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. Vigilante groups sprang up, patrolling the rural Virginia coast with cameras and camouflage. Volunteer firefighters slept at their stations. The arsonist seemed to target abandoned buildings, but local police were stretched too thin to surveil them all. Accomack was desolate—there were hundreds of abandoned buildings. And by the dozen they were burning.
The culprit, and the path that led to these crimes, is a story of twenty-first century America. Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse first drove down to the reeling county to cover a hearing for Charlie Smith, a struggling mechanic who upon his capture had promptly pleaded guilty to sixty-seven counts of arson. But as Charlie’s confession unspooled, it got deeper and weirder. He wasn’t lighting fires alone; his crimes were galvanized by a surprising love story. Over a year of investigating, Hesse uncovered the motives of Charlie and his accomplice, girlfriend Tonya Bundick, a woman of steel-like strength and an inscrutable past. Theirs was a love built on impossibly tight budgets and simple pleasures. They were each other’s inspiration and escape…until they weren’t.
“American Fire has a larger scope than just arson, and the story Hesse tells is grander than a simple crime spree plaguing a small town.” — Judge, Elizabeth Kiefer
Goodbye, Vitamin, Rachel Khong
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
“As it dazzles and delights, as it compels you to fall in love with the people within its pages, it too shows you what is impossibly hard about love, about life.” — Judge, Isaac Fitzgerald
Final Girls, Riley Sager
*The image on the right is not of author Riley Sager but the author’s uncoincidentally iconic Twitter profile picture.
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
“A slasher film, a mystery, and a survival story all rolled into one. Think ‘Gone Girl’ meets ‘American Horror Story.'” — Judge, Liberty Hardy
The Child, Fiona Barton
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…
“Because readers see the mystery through the eyes of Kate, a reporter, it’s easy to feel as though you are a part of the investigation, too.” — Judge, Cristina Arreola
From Editor-in-chief, Paris Close: Despite the many, many other commitments I’ve made this summer (which includes relocating, a summer TBR, books upon books to review), I can never bring myself to stop taking in more books. It’s an addiction, with a similar impulse one feels when walking into a pet adoption agency. How does one be so inhumane to take home only ONE PET?
Ever since I read The Widow last year, though I only own it as an ARC. Since then, I’ve been waiting to read Barton’s next release. The Child seems like it will be just as eerie as her debut, but I’m not sure how well Kate Waters and I will get along since our last bout. (But I’m still going to be bringing this baby home with me!)
On another note, have I mentioned I’ve been really digging nonfiction lately? After reading the summary, I think Hesse’s American Fire sounds so intriguing: a love story of arson? Um…yes, please!
Given the poor turnout of this year’s thrillers—Into the Water and The Woman in Cabin 10 were considerable flops to me, albeit I DNF’d the former—I’m not sure how to approach Final Girls. I’m not sure I’m ready to take another leap of faith in that direction, even with its Stephen King endorsement. Nonetheless, my thumping heart cannot pass up the opportunity. *adds to box*
BuzzFeed Books Editor Isaac Fitzgerald is someone whose recs I’ve deeply admired so far. So I was extremely pleased to know he’d rejoined the panel for this month’s picks. This time around is Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin. The first thing that stuck out to me about this one was the cover (obviously) although I wasn’t exactly sure where it would fit into my priority list of things to read this year. But I sort of like what I’ve read of it so far, and with that, I am adding that to my box as well. (That’s FOUR books if you’re keeping up.)
Lastly, there’s Hunger, which, if I can be honest, isn’t one I’m too sure about just yet. Roxane Gay is a name I haven’t been able to avoid on the Internet recently, but I’ve never read any of her work. I’m still considering this one, though I’m indifferent to whether or not I’m up to expend my last credit on it. We’ll see what happens.
Which picks are you going with this time around? Let me know!