Kester’s Top 5 Reasons (book wise) To Be Excited For Fall
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Franzen fans (like myself) have long awaited a follow-up to his brilliant 2001 novel, The Corrections. The ways in which he wrote about family, with all its joy and pain and angst and anger, captured the hearts and minds of many a reader and the praise of many a critic. I am one of those who counts it among the best fiction of the past decade. But the questioned remained; can he do it again? I am here to tell you, he can and he did. Freedom touches upon similar themes, but creates an entirely new cast of characters, as fully realized and alive as those he imagined almost 10 years ago. I cannot wait to sell you this book. You cannot wait to buy it. Trust me.
The Instructions by Adam Levin. The size alone of this book is bound to intimidate some readers. Advanced copies of Levin’s novel had to be sent in two parts. Once it is collected together, it is bound to bring on flashbacks to David Foster Wallace’s epic Infinite Jest. Fans of Wallace will be glad to know that the comparisons don’t end there. This is a story of ten-year-old Gurion Maccabee who may, in fact, be the messiah. Though the 900+ pages cover only four days, the story never bogs down and, in fact, never lets up.
The Tiger by John Vaillant. Vaillant’s The Tiger is proof that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. It is also more thrilling, more engaging, more exciting, and more terrifying. The tiger of the title is a Siberian tiger, one with a long memory and a taste for revenge. It is the story of the man whose job it was to outthink this tiger and to hunt it down. It is scarier than any horror story. If you don’t start seeing Siberian tigers under your bed, you haven’t been reading closely enough.
Room by Emma Donoghue. Room is as claustrophobic as its title’s location, but don’t let that keep you from reading it. It is horrifying and heartbreaking, but that shouldn’t send you away. In fact, I can’t think of any good reason not to make this the next thing on your reading list, except that it doesn’t come out in stores until September. When it does, pick it up. It is the story of a room inhabited by a mother and her son. It is brilliantly and endearingly narrated by a 5-year-old boy. It is full of fear and faith and love and loss. It is about the world we live in and what a big and scary and wonderful place it can be.
To The End of the Land by David Grossman. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t read this book. But acclaimed novelist Nicole Krauss has drawn fame and infamy for posting this blurb about it: “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.” Whether she is wrong or right, I must read this book and find out. And you must read it too.
Other books to look for in the fall include: Nemesis by Philip Roth, C by Tom McCarthy, The False Friend by Myla Goldberg, Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre, and Great House by Nicole Krauss.