If you’re anything like us, you perk up a little when you see someone reading in public. We do a double take, and sometimes we even backtrack to see what book has caught someone else’s attention. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of seeing another reader’s choices. Best of all, it’s a chance for a recommendation outside our own reading habits and comfort zones. Take a look at the books we saw in our travels this week. Descriptions cribbed from the publisher.
All The Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer / Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA’s Vienna station gathered intel during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anna Fowler / Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous―sometimes infamous―husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon / The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her. But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line…Meanwhile, Styxx is faced with a desperate decision: To save the world, he can either join forces with the brother who betrayed him or battle the only woman who has held his heart. Which will he choose? The real fight for survival is about to begin…
The Once and Future King by T.H. White / The Once and Future King is T.H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur, a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.
Saturday by Ian McEwen / In his triumphant new novel, Ian McEwan, the bestselling author of Atonement, follows an ordinary man through a Saturday whose high promise gradually turns nightmarish. Henry Perowne–a neurosurgeon, urbane, privileged, deeply in love with his wife and grown-up children–plans to play a game of squash, visit his elderly mother, and cook dinner for his family. But after a minor traffic accident leads to an unsettling confrontation, Perowne must set aside his plans and summon a strength greater than he knew he had in order to preserve the life that is dear to him.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford / Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison / Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
Cross Justice by James Patterson / When his cousin is accused of a heinous crime, Alex Cross returns to his North Carolina hometown for the first time in over three decades. As he tries to prove his cousin’s innocence in a town where everyone seems to be on the take, Cross unearths a family secret that forces him to question everything he’s ever known.
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach / Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations.
American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwen / From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.