5 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: October 2014

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books we've read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments section or tweet us @WritersBone.

Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York by Sari Botton

Lindsey Wojcik: I can't tell you much about this book yet, because it just came out yesterday and I haven't started it. But I finished Sari Botton's first anthology Goodbye to All That, and as much as that was a love letter to New York City, it was mostly about moving on from life in New York City and sometimes coming back—and, after five years living in the city, I totally related to the desire to flee it. From what I've read on Botton's follow up, it's even more of a love letter to the city. The phrase "unshakable love" is on the cover, for goodness sake. Anyone with even a questionable love or appreciation for the city will undoubtedly fall back in love with it in this new set of essays.

Chump Change by David Eddie

Daniel Ford: Speaking of leaving New York City, Sean Tuohy was right when he said David Eddie’s Chump Change had me written all over it. The first line of the book: “I’m a failure.” That effectively sucked me in. There’s a great scene where Eddie’s character—who has been chewed up by New York City—says goodbye to the woman he’d been seeing. He wants to make it a clean break, but he’s so screwed up, he leaves the relationship in a weird state of limbo. The worst part is that he’s so poor, she has to buy his ticket back to Toronto. “A new low,” the character says, “I have to borrow from my girlfriend to leave her.” The adventures that follow are best enjoyed with some low grade alcohol.

2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Daniel: This book is quite simply a complete treasure from start to finish. There is music playing in your head from the moment you open the book until you finish it in a white heat two days later without any sleep in between. It is the rare book that combines exquisitely drawn characters, a swift, meaningful plot, and innovative prose. I honestly did not want the book to end, and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it in the near future. If you need a constant surprise in your life, pick this book up immediately. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I very much look forward to Bertino’s next novel (hurry up!).

A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by Tyler Dilts 

Daniel: Sean Tuohy knows a thing or two about crime stories. When he recommends a novel that has anything to do with detectives, crime, or heart-pounding action, you listen.

A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by @tylerdilts one of the best thrillers out there now. It's crack for a crime reader. Pick it up!
— Writer's Bone (@WritersBone) October 2, 2014

Sean knows a thing or two about crack too, so his metaphor must be legit (just kidding, he was just a drug mule). When I asked him what made this novel in particular so special, his response was surprising: “He spends a lot of time on the victim of the crime.”

Say no more Sean, I’m in.

You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt

Daniel: Writer’s Bone contributor Hailey Reissman recommended Elliott Holt’s novel You Are One of Them a couple of weeks ago and, I have to admit, the premise didn’t immediately grab me. Two friends growing up in Washington D.C. during the Cold War write to Soviet premier Yuri Andropov asking for peace. Only one of the friend’s letters receives a response, leading that friend to head to the USSR for a meeting with Andropov, which pisses the other friend off to no end. The two are still estranged when one of them dies in a plane crash with her parents. However, it turns out said friend might not be dead. Mystery ensues.

Who am I kidding? This book sounds exactly like something I would pick up on one of my daily trips to Barnes & Noble (I have a serious problem). This book is also inspired by the true story of Samantha Smith, which satisfies the non-fiction reader in me as well. If that all wasn’t enough, I made the mistake of reading the prologue while I was invested in another book. It hit all the right notes ensuring that I’ll be devouring this novel in short order. Holt is yet another author to watch closely.

Other books worth checking out: A Tree Born Crooked by Steph PostSway by Kat SpearsEcstatic Cahoots by Stuart Dybek, and A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block

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