This is a New Year’s read that I revisit biennially, as it continues to hold up over the years and remains my favorite Hornby novel. Four strangers meet atop London’s Topper House on New Year’s Eve night, all intent on ending their lives. Hornby adeptly juggles four very different (often humorous) character points of view as each person determines the next course of action for his or her particular life struggle. If you like to read books when they take place seasonally, consider making this comedy-drama one of your first reads in 2016.
Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin are not merely authors of this book, they are its bibliotherapists, which is to say they believe in the curative powers of fiction to alleviate any number of common human conditions, whether it be Fatherhood, Broken Leg, or Tax Return, Fear of Doing. Their amusingly formatted volume prescribes hundreds of books to remedy afflicted readers, and is a must-own for the bibliophile’s personal library.
Anyone that sees the cover of this Paul Murray novel can deduce that someone within its pages must be named Skippy and that, at some point, he must meet his demise. What readers won’t know until they delve further into this dark tragicomedy is whether Skippy’s history teacher Howard “The Coward” will ever gain his students’ respect or the affections of Miss McIntyre, if Skippy’s roommate Ruprecht’s string theory experiments will amount to anything, and most importantly, what Skippy meant when he wrote “Tell Lori” in strawberry syrup on the donut shop floor.
Though this is a perfect read for baseball season, one need not be a baseball fan to appreciate it! The life circumstances of five residents of a small town in Michigan are altered dramatically when shortstop Henry Skrimshander commits an uncharacteristic play during a college game.
Intrigued by the Humans of New York blog I’d seen in social media, I was delighted to learn creator Brandon Stanton had published a book featuring many of his earliest blog posts and more. Bursting with wisdom and personality, HONY is a collection of photographs, quotes, and brief stories of the residents Stanton has encountered in the streets and neighborhoods of the Big Apple.
Phil Needle just wants to keep his struggling production company afloat, but his bored, not-yet-permitted-to-use-public-transportation teenage daughter Gwen proves to be more challenging to manage. Her attempt at petty theft quickly spirals downward into full-blown modern-day piracy, complete with stolen ship and weaponry.