From historical fiction to thriller to novella to novel of manners, here are some recently published books that create worlds you might want to lose yourself in.
When’s the last time you were totally lost in a book? Seriously lost, in the way that hours go by and hunger kicks in and nothing matters but the pages turning? It doesn’t happen for most of us, even if we’re avid readers; life tends to intervene, and it’s rare to find a book that really pulls us in.
But ever since I began covering books for The Times (in addition to my longtime beat, movies) this year, it’s been happening to me a lot. So many books turn up at my desk! So many of them make their way home with me — so I can, you know, just take a quick look! So many, as it turns out, are awfully good! And the volume of books gives me the luxury of abandoning those that don’t engage, in pursuit of those that will. (I employ Nancy Pearl’s useful Rule of 50: Give a book 50 pages if your age is under 50; after that, you can quit reading if you don’t like it, knowing you gave it a fair shot. If you’re over 50, subtract your age from 100 and use that as your page count. When you’re 100, you’re free to judge a book by its cover. Let’s just say I’m not there yet.)
So, setting aside the problem of how to make my nonstretchable home find space for an endless parade of books, I’ve been channeling the reader I was as a teenager — a time when neighbors were known to call my mother to tell her that they’d spotted me crossing a busy street with my nose in a book. And, in preparation for this fall fiction roundup, I’ve gotten lost in quite a few. The titles below, all released in the past couple of months, range from historical fiction to thriller to novella to novel of manners to just plain fiction, but all of them created a world — one that I was reluctant to leave.
New in paperback
Should you need to get lost in a book that’s a bit less expensive, here are some worthy just-out or nearly-out paperback novels — all recommended by me or by other Seattle Times reviewers:
“The Mothers” by Brit Bennett (Riverhead, $16, out Oct. 10)
“Moonglow,” by Michael Chabon (Harper Perennial, $16.99)
“The Wonder,” by Emma Donoghue (Back Bay Books, $15.99)
“The Fortunes,” by Peter Ho Davies (Mariner Books, $14.99)
“Faithful” by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, $15.99)
“To the Bright Edge of the World” by Eowyn Ivey (Back Bay Books, $16.99)