Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
On a foggy summer night, eleven people – ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter – depart Marth’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter, Scott Burroughs, and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a powerful media mogul’s family.
Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusation, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
Every spring, we strive to clean our homes, smell the blossoms, and plant a few seeds, both the literal and figurative kind. After a long cold winter, we all just want to feel renewed and reenergized, don’t we? At London Drugs, we aim to help with a selection of books filled with original perspectives and fresh starts.
So pack up your parka, swap your heavy boots for light ones (there’s still snow during a Canadian spring, after all), and check out these fresh reads for spring 2017.
The author, Peter Wohlleben, is a former German forest ranger and naturalist, and a great writer. He combines engaging storytelling with detailed research to introduce and explain an ecological world we mostly ignore – the vast and intricate community of trees. Did you know they raise, assist, and protect their young? Or that they, themselves, depend on a “wood wide web” of fungi for survival?
You’ll learn more than you imagined possible about our leafy, green friends with this book. What better time than spring to learn exactly how trees survived the winter?
Prepare to never look at trees quite the same way again.
This book unleashes the incredible talents of self-proclaimed “geek” comedian Jessi Klein on the awkwardness of finding your place and voice during your tweens, teens, and twenties. The result is raw, unflinchingly self-deprecating, and completely relatable. This book definitely contains adult content, though. So maybe save it for the high schoolers and above in your life.
You’ll follow Jessi’s sometimes difficult, but always hilarious transformation from tomboy to “tom man.” Springtime is, after all, the season of growth.
Jessi also writes on Inside Amy Schumer. Love the show? This book’s for you!
Even casual Top-40 fans probably remember hearing in March 2015 that Zayn Malik had left teen idol mega band One Direction. Fans know he speaks three languages and was raised, along with two sisters, in blue collar, rural England, the son of a Pakistani immigrant father and part-Irish mother who converted to Islam. So saying Zayn’s life wasn’t always full of the trappings of celebrity is an understatement.
Dubbed “the quiet one” for his reluctance in 1D interviews, Zayn finally opens up here and entirely in his own words. Next, he plans to pursue a degree in English Literature.
Zayn’s capacity for reinvention is truly inspirational.
Melton first became famous in 2009 with her hilarious, tell-all blog Momastery. This was followed by a best-selling book in 2013. Then, when things seemed almost too perfect, her marriage disintegrated after her husband confessed infidelity. But Love Warrior is about finding true understanding and, ultimately, getting back on your feet. In Melton’s signature style, it’s also a very enjoyable read.
Known as a Christian blogger, Melton shocked many in November by revealing she was in a relationship with US female soccer star Abby Wombach. Talk about new beginnings.
This book fearlessly probes the human psyche. Be ready to go deep.
If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks’ very romantic books, you’ll probably love this one, too. Even if you don’t, consider giving it a chance. Instead of a will-they-or-won’t-they between a man and woman, this book revolves around a father and his six-year-old daughter, London. The dad is Russ Green, a former ad executive who finds himself on a journey more challenging and rewarding than he ever predicted.
Marriage trouble, financial struggle, and the value of family ties mark fairly refreshing subject matter for Sparks, showing new flowers can bud in any field.
It may be a tough read for some, but a few tissues should help get you through.
The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Take to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic aunt, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.
Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety – and her marriage vows – in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Every family has its problems. Bet even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest”, which they are but months away from finally receiving. Meant by their now deceased father to be a modest midlife supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched the nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and two looming college tuitions for her twin teenage daughters. Jack an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her over-due novel.
Can Leo rescue his siblings and by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone have to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
As the weather turns cooler and swimsuits get packed away in favour of sweaters, it’s a great time to start a fun fall read. Grab one of these great reads and de-stress with a quiet evening with a book. You deserve it!
Preview: We could summarize this novel in one word – EPIC. This multi-generational love story spans both space and time. It is global in scope and starts before the Second World War, keeping the reader wrapped up in the powerfully emotional story until it reaches present day. A word of advice, keep tissues handy.
Good For: Bathtub reading, Romance fans.
Preview: An Australian soldier returns home from WWI and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper with his young, vivacious wife. Unable to conceive, they one day find a baby alongside a dead man in a boat that washes ashore on their small island. They adopt the child in secret, but such choices always have consequences.
Good For: Rainy days, Book clubs.
Premise: This whirlwind tour through the 20th century demonstrates how it was deeply unlike the rest. The book covers everything from relativity to the internet, global wars to global warming, as Higgs, a truly gifted communicator of complex ideas, helps readers to finally unpack just what the heck happened.
Good For: Provoking thought, History buffs.
Premise: Providing a timely and much-needed point of view, this Pulitzer Prize-winning poet tells the true story of her youth and coming-of-age as a black, female artist. Raised by a fiercely loving single mother, Smith relates her struggles to define herself within and against complex cultural and historical forces.
Good For: Memoir lovers, Mothers & daughters.
Premise: What happens when Kimball, a plucky New York writer with no rural experience, takes up impulsively with a highly ambitious young farmer planning to revolutionize the industry? An amazing true-life success story.
The Dirty Life chronicles their first year together both as a couple and as business partners running their farm. The catch? They ethically produce complete weekly grocery plans for their customers.
They even use compost as fertilizer and horses instead of tractors!
Good For: Gardening buffs, Getting inspired.
July 31, which is both Harry Potter’s birthday & JK Rowling’s, is also the release date for the newest book: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! (Pre-order it here for the Potter fan in your life).