Here's the top 5 on my list right now:
This crushing novel by the author of A Mouthful of Air is a shocking portrait of suburban ennui gone horribly awry. Laney Brooks, approaching middle age in Short Hills, N.J., appears to have it all: doting husband, two beautiful children, the big house with a kidney-shaped pool. But beneath the facade of upper-middle-class perfection, Laney's life descends into a chasm of indiscriminate sex and drug and alcohol abuse. Koppelman's prose style is understated and crackling; each sentence is laden with a foreboding sense of menace, whether she's describing a sunny Florida resort or the back alley of a seedy strip mall. Laney's self-debasement can be a bit over-the-top at times, but like a crime scene or a flaming car wreck, it becomes impossible not to stare."
-- Publisher's Weekly
A few days before Frida Kahlo’s death in 1954, she wrote in her diary, “I hope the exit is joyful—and I hope never to return.” Diagnosed with polio at the age of six and plagued by illness and injury throughout her life, Kahlo’s chronic pain was a recurrent theme in her extraordinary art. In Frida’s Bed, Slavenka Drakulic´ explores the inner life of one of the world’s most influential female artists, skillfully weaving Frida’s memories into descriptions of her paintings, producing a meditation on the nature of chronic pain and creativity. With an intriguing subject whose unusual life continues to fascinate, this poignant imagining of Kahlo’s thoughts during her final hours by another daringly original and uncompromising creative talent will attract readers of literary fiction and art lovers alike.
The lives of a London couple about to have their first child unravel in Perkins's haunting third novel. In the wake of surviving a train derailment, pregnant Ann Wells tells her husband, struggling screenwriter Tom Stone, that a man has been following her. With only Ann's vague description, the police can do little and Tom attempts to reassure his wife about her safety. As her due date approaches, Ann turns her attention to scouring the house and molding clay guardian figures, while Tom searches for work. Finally, Tom agrees to approach a popular television writer and fellow train accident survivor, Simon Wright, for work. After the birth of their son, Arlo, Ann's behavior grows more disturbing, and Tom realizes too late the truth behind her fears. Perkins's gamble to reveal Ann's fate in the early pages pays off; the suspense mounts with each added detail, until everything falls into place in an unsettling climax. Throughout, both Tom and the reader struggle to find a moment when everything could have been prevented.
-- Publisher's Weekly
When Lynn Barber was sixteen, a stranger in a maroon sports car pulled up beside her as she was on her way home from school and offered her a ride. It was the beginning of a long journey from innocence to precocious experience—an affair with an older man that would change her life. Barber’s seducer left her with a taste for luxury hotels and posh restaurants and trips abroad, expensive habits that she managed to support in later life as a successful London journalist whose barbed interviews at once terrorized and fascinated her smart-set subjects.
Food is the one thing that Americans hate to love and, as it turns out, love to hate. What we want to eat has been ousted by the notion of what we should eat, and it's at this nexus of hunger and hang-up that Michael Pollan poses his most salient question: where is the food in our food? What follows in In Defense of Food is a series of wonderfully clear and thoughtful answers that help us omnivores navigate the nutritional minefield that's come to typify our food culture. Many processed foods vie for a spot in our grocery baskets, claiming to lower cholesterol, weight, glucose levels, you name it. Yet Pollan shows that these convenient "healthy" alternatives to whole foods are appallingly inconvenient: our health has a nation has only deteriorated since we started exiling carbs, fats--even fruits--from our daily meals. His razor-sharp analysis of the American diet (as well as its architects and its detractors) offers an inspiring glimpse of what it would be like if we could (a la Humpty Dumpty) put our food back together again and reconsider what it means to eat well. In a season filled with rallying cries to lose weight and be healthy, Pollan's call to action—"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."--is a program I actually want to follow.
--Anne Bartholomew, Amazon.com