Since I have made the commitment to slow down reading, I've really been enjoying it. I think the books I'm reading have come to mean so much more. I finished Mockingjay two days ago and that book has so totally disrupted my life that I can't even really think about reading anything else. (or really thing about much else) And that's okay, I love for story to have that kind of impact. I wouldn't trade my slightly dazed feeling for anything.
But I do a few things...like a podcast more focused on new books in which I look through catalogs for books with certain themes. As such, my book lust is constantly being ignited, though I'm committed to really focusing my reading and taking it slowly. So I'm stealing a page from world-famous book blogger Nymeth's book and making lists of books coming out that are tempting me something crazy. The following books are coming out in September alone!
Vestments by John Reimringer is coming September 1st from Milkweed Editions. This books is about: Originally drawn to the priesthood by the mystery, purity, and sensual fabric of the Church, as well as by its promise of a safe harbor from his tempestuous home, James finds himself - just a few years after his ordination - attracted again to his first love, Betty García. Torn between these opposing desires, and haunted by his familial heritage, James finds himself at a crossroads. Exploring age-old and yet urgently contemporary issues in the Catholic Church, and infused throughout by a rich sense of the history and vibrant texture of St. Paul, and infused throughout by a rich sense of the history and vibrant texture of St. Paul, this is an utterly honest and subtly lyrical novel.
It should be fairly obvious why this appeals to me...I enjoy explorations of faith and calling. I love the torturous idea of being torn between a public faith commitment and love. And the pre-publication reviews are outstanding.
Snakewoman of Little Egypt: A Novel is coming from Bloomsbury on September 14th. Snakewoman of Little Egypt is about: On the morning of her release from prison, Sunny, who grew up in a snakehandling church in the Little Egypt region of Southern Illinois, rents a garage apartment from Jackson. She's been serving a five-year sentence for shooting, but not killing, her husband, the pastor of the Church of the Burning Bush with Signs Following, after he forced her at gunpoint to put her arm in a box of rattlesnakes.
Sunny and Jackson become lovers, but they're pulled in different directions. Sunny, drawn to science and eager to put her snake handling past behind her, enrolls at the university. Jackson, however, takes a professional interest in the religious ecstasy exhibited by the snakehandlers. Push comes to shove in a novel packed with wit, substance, and emotional depth. Snakewoman of Little Egypt delivers Robert Hellenga at the top of his form.
Oh for the love! Another book exploring the tension between religion and science you know it's right up my alley. I always really enjoy stories about small cults and the way community forms in them and the impact they have on the individual as well. This one looks like it should not be missed!
Salvation City is coming from Riverhead on September 16th. Salvation City is about: After a flu pandemic has killed large numbers of people worldwide, the United States has grown increasingly anarchic. Large numbers of children are stranded in orphanages, and systems we take for granted are fraying at the seams. When orphaned Cole Vining finds refuge with an evangelical pastor and his young wife in a small Indiana town, he knows he is one of the lucky ones. Sheltered Salvation City has been spared much of the devastation of the outside world.
But it's a starkly different community from the one Cole has known, and he struggles with what this changed world means for him. As those around him become increasingly fixated on their vision of utopia - so different from his own parents' dreams - Cole begins to imagine a new and different future for himself.
Written in Sigrid Nunez's deceptively simple style, Salvation City is a story of love, betrayal, and forgiveness, weaving the deeply affecting story of a young boy's transformation with a profound meditation on the true meaning of salvation.
Again with the religious element! Plus a little cult/dystopia/utopia/apocalypse stuff going on...this one sounds absolutely amazing.
To the End of the Land is by David Grossman and is coming from Knopf on September 21st. Book description: From one of Israel’s most acclaimed writers comes a novel of extraordinary power about family life—the greatest human drama—and the cost of war.
Ora, a middle-aged Israeli mother, is on the verge of celebrating her son Ofer’s release from army service when he returns to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, she sets out for a hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the "notifiers" who might darken her door with the worst possible news. Recently estranged from her husband, Ilan, she drags along an unlikely companion: their former best friend and her former lover Avram, once a brilliant artistic spirit. Avram served in the army alongside Ilan when they were young, but their lives were forever changed one weekend when the two jokingly had Ora draw lots to see which of them would get the few days’ leave being offered by their commander—a chance act that sent Avram into Egpyt and the Yom Kippur War, where he was brutally tortured as POW.
In the aftermath, a virtual hermit, he refused to keep in touch with the family and has never met the boy. Now, as Ora and Avram sleep out in the hills, ford rivers, and cross valleys, avoiding all news from the front, she gives him the gift of Ofer, word by word; she supplies the whole story of her motherhood, a retelling that keeps Ofer very much alive for Ora and for the reader, and opens Avram to human bonds undreamed of in his broken world. Their walk has a "war and peace" rhythm, as their conversation places the most hideous trials of war next to the joys and anguish of raising children. Never have we seen so clearly the reality and surreality of daily life in Israel, the currents of ambivalence about war within one household, and the burdens that fall on each generation anew.
Grossman’s rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great antiwar novels of our time.
I have sadly not ever read anything by Grossman, but when I saw someone tweet about this book the other day, I looked it up. It was this blurb that absolutely sold me and made me want to read the book:
Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same. Walls have been pulled down, barriers broken, a dimension of feeling, of existence itself, has opened in you that was not there before. To the End of the Land is a book of this magnitude. David Grossman may be the most gifted writer I've ever read; gifted not just because of his imagination, his energy, his originality, but because he has access to the unutterable, because he can look inside a person and discover the unique essence of her humanity. For twenty-six years he has been writing novels about what it means to defend this essence, this unique light, against a world designed to extinguish it. To the End of the Land is his most powerful, shattering, and unflinching story of this defense. To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being.--Nicole Krauss
I felt a little bit like that after reading Mockingjay and I welcome the chance to be completely altered in the same way again. I'm a bit embarrassed to have not heard of Grossman before, but I suppose it's impossible to know every author!
Fame by Daniel Kehlmann is coming from Pantheon Books on September 14th. It's about: After some initial hesitation, a man receiving someone else's phone calls begins to play with his new identity. From one day to the next, an actor's telephone falls dead silent, as though someone has stolen his life. A writer takes a pair of trips with a woman whose worst fear is to end up in one of his works. A somewhat confused Internet blogger wants nothing more than to become a character in a novel. A detective-story writer goes missing while on a journey through Central Asia, a fictional old woman on her deathbed quarrels with the writer who created her, and a managing director at a cell phone company goes crazy trying to manage his double life with two women.
In Fame, nine episodes coalesce to form a coherent whole as Daniel Kehlmann plays a sophisticated game with reality and fiction—creating, in essence, a dazzling hall of mirrors.
This sounds really different to me, and timely. I'm always up for something different and this certainly seems like it is!
And if that wasn't enough, I talk in-depth about some of the books coming out this September with Nicole on The Underground Literary Society.
What September books are you looking forward to reading?