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The Lottery and Other Stories

The Lottery and Other Stories

Thanks to recent film adaptations of We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson's fiction is more popular than ever. Her famous short stories like "The Lottery" are just as entertaining, and perhaps more HSP-friendly, than her adapted novels. Jackson expertly turns the seemingly mundane into deeply unsettling events, revealing the darker side of humanity in the process. More info →
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Walking: One Step At a Time

Walking: One Step At a Time

I've had this little book on my stack for well over a year, and am so glad I picked it up as one of my final 2020 reads! I loved it so much. This book in translation (from the original Norwegian) is a little bit personal story, a little bit philosophical meditation on just that—how walking is grounding and expansive. I took a ridiculous number of notes in my book journal (which I shared with the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club in our Best Book of the Year event, along with all the quotes I had to read out loud to my family). More info →
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The White Boy Shuffle

The White Boy Shuffle

From the publisher: "Paul Beatty's hilarious and scathing debut novel is about Gunnar Kaufman, an awkward, black surfer bum who is moved by his mother from Santa Monica to urban West Los Angeles. There, he begins to undergo a startling transformation from neighborhood outcast to basketball superstar, and eventually to reluctant messiah of a 'divided, downtrodden people.'" More info →
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The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen

I'm glad the universe is catching on to my Sarah Addison Allen love. I've been talking about her so much. Count Sarah Addison Allen among my authors worth binge reading. Sparkly Southern women, screwed-up family relationships, and magical realism mark this novel. One woman's unique magic is that the specific book she needs in her life right then mysteriously appears—on her bedside table, on her desk at work, in her handbag. That's enough to win me over. More info →
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Something in Between

Something in Between

If you loved The Sun Is Also a Star, add this to your reading list, pronto. A reader (hi, Bethany!) enthusiastically shared this title with me after I mentioned I was reading de la Cruz's book Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (mentioned in this post about Jane Austen retellings). When Jasmine wins a big-deal college scholarship, her immigrant parents are forced to reveal the truth they've been hiding: their visas expired years ago, and they're staying in California illegally. To keep things interesting, de la Cruz throws a cute boy in Jasmine's path, as well as some friend drama. More info →
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Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

Jackson’s latest Southern story feels both exactly like the books her long-time readers know and love and like a total departure—and I loved it. Her domestic thriller (yes, really!) begins at a book club meeting in a quiet suburban neighborhood. These women live quiet lives revolving around family and sometimes work; they know each other well, and everything unfolds as usual … until a new guest arrives, one who has a score to settle based on long-buried secrets, and who won't rest until she makes the woman pay for her crimes. But what happened back then, and why does it matter now? I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in my quest to discover the truth for myself. An absorbing, rewarding mystery that will delight her loyal readers and entice new fans. More info →
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Passing

Passing

One of my favorite books of 2020. I read this for the first time last year, and it was not at all what I expected. Written in 1929, set during the Jazz Age in Harlem, this is the story of two childhood friends who reconnect after choosing very different paths. Both women are Black and light-skinned. Clare has chosen to pass for white, and is even married to a white man who knows nothing of her heritage or history. Irene is married to a successful African-American physician. As the women spend more time together, Irene's life starts looking better and better to Clare ... and what unfolds is a battle of wits in a story akin to a psychological thriller. The story feels so fresh and unexpected, I couldn't believe it was written nearly a hundred years ago. What a page-turner! More info →
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