Welcome to Kay's Recommendations! Bookselling is Kay’s fourth career but it might have been her first and only career if she roughly followed grade-school aptitude testing that said she should become a librarian. An avid reader, Kay’s go-to is science fiction, but she often dips into off-beat (i.e. dark) fiction, and both fiction and non-fiction about nature, the environment, art, gardening, adventure and unusual minds. Her favorite book changes about every five years; most recently it would have to be the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood.
Check out what Kay has been reading below!
This novel powerfully portrays the psychological aftermath of a childhood damaged by a cruel and manipulative older brother and by a horrible murder. The story alternates between events in Dustin’s dark childhood and his current life as a psychologist being manipulated once again, this time by an unusual client obsessed with a theory about a long-running serial killer in the area. Dustin’s beliefs about his childhood and his current life are challenged by the release of his brother from prison, by his growing estrangement from his sons, and by the client who insinuates himself into Dustin’s daily life. Suspenseful, creepy and hard to put down, the story is ultimately sewn together in a surprising but oddly satisfying way.
Brilliant. Haunting. Insidious. Anxiety-inducing. Wonderful!!
Delphine has just finished signing her latest book for a seemingly endless line of fans. She is exhausted. A latecomer asks for her signature and she summarily refuses. Chatting with a new acquaintance later that night, Delphine uncharacteristically confesses feeling awful about turning away the latecomer. Before long the acquaintance, L. has become her new best friend. While Delphine preps for her next book, she gets a few pieces of disturbing hate mail about her last book, and her new friend L. starts expressing increasingly strong opinions about the subject of Delphine’s next book. Soon Delphine can’t open a Word document, can’t answer her mail, can’t even jot a quick note to herself; she has become completely unsure of herself, depressed, and entirely dependent on L. to get through the day. The story takes a couple surprising turns that can’t be revealed without giving away delicious shocks that await the reader. This is a formidable, unforgettable piece of writing.
An astonishingly quiet novel that whispers gut-punching truths about love as we live it versus love as we finally understand it when it has escaped our grasp.
Boyle gives the failed self-sustaining, closed system dome in Arizona a second chance. The story alternates between the voices of two of the eight Terranauts hand-selected to live inside the dome for two years, and one rejected and bitter Terranaut who is assigned to support those living inside the dome. The complexities of the closed system itself and the increasingly erratic behavior of the eight Terranauts inside that very limited environment move the story along with a sense of urgency.
This is a perfectly crafted ghost story set in moody London. Smooth writing may lull you for a while, but plot twists and turns soon shake you awake as the story mirrors the jagged alleyway where Slade House is hidden from the view of all but a few special souls.
Eggers recounts the true story of one man’s efforts to save his family and a handful of others during Hurricane Katrina. Zeitoun has serious run-ins with government-hired contractors who set out to round up survivors in whatever manner it takes. The book exposes a side of Katrina that may very well shock you.
Neal Stephenson’s thriller wouldn’t leave my hands after 50 pages or so. Set in Washington State, British Columbia and Southeast Asia, the story flies by as a on-line gaming entrepreneur and his family collide with Russian strongmen and Chinese hackers. The characters are solidly drawn, ranging from despicable to funny to downright lovable. One of my favorite books from the past few of years.