Judd Foxman’s father is dead; and his final request was that his family spend the seven days following his funeral living together in the same house…as a family, albeit a highly dysfunctional one. A poignantly told story of family, love, divorce, and the ties that bind. If you enjoy the book be sure to check out the film with Jason Bateman and Tina Fey.
For more domestic fiction written by dudes, add these to your TBR pile:
Summerlong by Dan Bakopoulos
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Buter
Little Children by Tom Perrotta
Brilliant, eccentric, and opinionated–Bernadette Fox doesn’t quite fit with her fellow private school moms or the other Seattle Microsoft spouses. After she goes missing there are lots of theories but no trace of the singular Bernadette. 15-year-old Bee, Bernadette’s daughter, attempts to locate her mother by collecting emails, letters, invoices, and other random correspondence. As she sifts through them a clearer picture of who her mother really was begins to form.
For other contemporary epistolary novels, check these out:
Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts.Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
For other novels that explore the idea of alternate realities, check these out:
World War Z by Max Brooks
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ellen Gulden has been accused of helping her terminally ill mother die, but what is most striking about this poignant novel is the deepening intimacy between mother and daughter. In Ellen’s words, “our parents are never people to us, they’re always character traits….There is only room in the lifeboat of your life for one, and you always choose yourself, and turn your parents into whatever it takes to keep you afloat.”
For more novels that look at difficult choices that forever alter characters’ lives, here are three stand-outs:
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (or really anything by this author)
Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: What are the effects of children on their parents? In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior tries to tackle this question, isolating and analyzing the many ways in which children reshape their parents’ lives, whether it’s their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self.*
For more interesting and innovative books on modern parenting, check these out:
Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber
Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by Shauna Shapiro PhD and Chris White MD
*I couldn’t come up with a better summary on my own so this one was borrowed from the publisher. I did, however, read and LOVE this book. ;)
Celebrated American opera singer Roxanne Cass has just given a recital in the home of the vice-president of a poor South American nation when terrorists storm in and take all in attendance hostage in what becomes a months-long siege. This tense, beautifully rendered novel draws out the lives of its characters while interweaving the universal themes of music and language.
For other beautifully written novels that have received the Pen/Faulkner award, check these out:
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Managing a failed seafood restaurant in a run-down New England mall just before Christmas, Manny DeLeon coordinates a challenging final shift of mutinous staff members; an effort that is complicated by his love for a waitress, a pregnant girlfriend, and an elusive holiday gift.
For other contemporary novels that take place in “real time,” check these out:
The 25th Hour by David Benioff
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.
For more nontraditional love stories, check out these three titles:
Goodbye For Now by Laurie Frankel
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
There’s been a murder at Parent Trivia Night and no one knows who is responsible. Could it be Madeline, a forceful personality who never keeps her opinions to herself? Or the stunning but standoffish Celeste? Or is it the new, young mother Jane with the sad eyes and murky past? These three women have one thing in common, kids in the same kindergarten class, but the friendship they forge from that simple connection will help them weather a murder as well as the typical insanity, infighting, and backstabbing that comes with parenting young children.
For more page-turners you won’t be able to put down, check these out:
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Intensity by Dean Koontz
Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
An exemplary piece of in-depth, investigative journalism, Going Clear paints a vivid picture of the notoriously insular Church of Scientology. Beginning with the life of church founder L. Ron Hubbard and including the church’s fight for legitimacy, its enormous wealth, and its harsh treatment of critics–this is a fascinating account of a religion most of us know very little about.
For more titles exploring issues of faith and religion, check these out:
Does Jesus Really Love Me? by Jeff Chu
The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope by Austen Ivereigh
Escape by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer