Canadianliving staffers love a good book—and we know you do, too! Here’s our roundup of titles to tempt you into a cozy chair by a fire on these blustery October days.
Whether you’re a nonfiction fanatic or a mystery series maven, we’ve got you covered
Sing, Unburied, Sing FICTION (SCRIBNER) BY JESMYN WARD, $35.
Jojo, despite his tender age of 10 and often unstable circumstances, is wise beyond his years. He devotedly cares for his infant sister, Kayla, and aids his ailing grandmother, all while learning to become a man from his tough and stoic grandfather. But this isn’t just a coming-of-age tale. It’s also a road novel, as Jojo, his young sister and their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, pack the car to pick up his father from prison. Surprisingly, it’s a ghost story, too, as both Leonie and Jojo find themselves conversing with (and trying to ignore) visions of the dead. There’s a lot going on, but I was immediately invested in the characters and their tormented pasts, as I hoped that maybe their stories might turn brighter. —AD
The Lagom Life NONFICTION (CICO) BY ELISABETH CARLSSON, $23.
For people who prefer to live simply, this book is a new source of inspiration. Lagom—a Swedish word that means everything from balance to propriety to sufficiency—is being touted as the Swedish version of the Danish hygge we’ve all heard so much about, but in fact, it’s more than that. It’s a governing attitude of Sweden in which the main tenet is to be content with just enough. And while I get that, for some, the idea can be a bit stifling, in our current climate of excess, that sounds pretty good to me. —SM
The History of Bees FICTION (TOUCHSTONE) BY MAJA LUNDE, $25.
This timely and thoughtful novel goes beyond the topical question, What happened to the bees? In England in 1852, a biologist attempts to build a beehive that will earn his family prestige. In 2007 America, a beekeeper proudly and stubbornly honours his family’s traditions. In China in 2098, the bees have disappeared and a hand pollinator searches for meaning after a terrible accident. These stories are interwoven in this moving tale about family and the history—and future—of bees. —AD
“When I began writing Sing, Unburied, Sing, I thought, I’m going to follow this family on a journey. I began to think about stories like Theodyssey, where the characters are searching, travelling and trying to return home. My characters are trying to find sort of a figurative home—a place of safety and comfort.” —Jesmyn Ward Read canadianliving.com/jesmynward.more of Alex’s chat with Jesmyn Ward at
The Golden House FICTION (KNOPF CANADA) BY SALMAN RUSHDIE, $35.
René has grown up in a sheltered and affluent New York community, and the residents often inspire his filmmaking ambitions. When Nero Golden, a mysterious expat with three sons and many secrets, moves in, René has found his leading man. Of course, it wouldn’t be New York City without a little political drama, and so the intrigue of the Goldens unfolds as a shocking (and notso-subtly familiar) presidential election plays out. Is it Salman Rushdie’s best? I don’t think so, but his fans won’t be disappointed by this sweeping family drama. —AD
The Last Mrs. Parrish FICTION (HARPER) BY LIV CONSTANTINE, $32.
Equal parts Gone Girl, Sleeping
With the Enemy and Single White Female, this psychological thriller about a con artist weaseling her way into the lives of the ultrarich had me hooked from its opening line: “Amber Patterson was tired of being invisible.” As heartless and self-centred as she is clever and composed, Amber schemes to get what she thinks she deserves in life, even if it means destroying someone else’s. But neither she, nor I as a reader—could ever predict how it all ends up. —SC