Fall is my favorite time of year, and the cool weather and early evenings make it an ideal time to curl with a good book. Lucky for me, fall is also the time of year publishers tend to release many of their eagerly anticipated new books. Recently I read two new fiction releases that were particularly impressive.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a hilarious satire focusing on the Seattle family of Bernadette Fox after Bernadette mysteriously vanishes before a planned family trip to Antarctica. The book is presented as a file of documents compiled by Bernadette's daughter Bee to try to explain Bernadette's disappearance. The story unfolds in a series of emails between various characters ranging from officials at Bee's private school to Bernadette's former colleagues. Bernadette is a bit of an enigma herself, a woman with a past who shuns those around her in the wealthy Seattle society she inhabits, going so far as to hire a virtual assistant in India to make phone calls and email arrangements for her. While this novel presents a biting satire of a certain segment of society, it has a lot of heart and often made me laugh out loud.
Blasphemy is a career-spanning collection of stories from Sherman Alexie, a prolific author of short stories, poems, and novels. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington and his work often focuses on the modern lives of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. He won the National Book Award in 2007 for his semi-autobiographical (and controversial) young adult book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. The stories in Blasphemy range from stories from his first collection to recent stories published in magazines like The New Yorker. These stories explore universal themes of relationships and identity along with the thornier issues of American life, like race and class, with remarkable heart and humor. Whether you are already a fan of Sherman Alexie, or want a great introduction to his work, this moving collection is one to seek out.
What are your favorite new books of the season? Stop by the library and let us know or share in the comments!