This month’s book edit is even more widespread in terms of genre than August’s Book Edit. Whether you’re into fantasy, historical fiction, true crime, or a little of everything, you’ll be itching to read at least one of these…
Set in 1950s New York, The Swans of Fifth Avenue sets you in the midst of the beautiful wives of Fifth Avenue. Used to the routine of their celebrity lifestyles, they find the day to day much more fun when Truman Capote befriends them all. Capote is a phenomenal story teller and an even better gossip. Besides the story of Capote, you fall in love with Babe Paley – the wife of aCBS executive, an unfaithful husband who sees past her.
Babe is perfect in every way – she’s stunningly gorgeous; she doesn’t gossip; she provides a perfect life for her husband; and she makes everyone around her feel special. In her friendship with Truman, you learn that they are both lonely, hoping nobody can see through their facades. The two of them fall in love, in a non-sexual way of course. That is, until Truman becomes the critically-acclaimed writer he’s always wanted to be.
The first half of the book has you gossiping on Fifth Avenue and learning about the hidden realities of the glamorous lifestyle. Then it all starts to fall apart. But you aren’t exactly sure when it will happen, how it will happen, or even to whom. It’s a fun read that will get you thinking in those final pages about your friends , what you’re thankful for, and the kind of person you want to be!
The Devil in Pew Number 7 is part biography/part true crime. It tells the story of Rebecca Nichols and her family. Her father, a preacher and church planter, encounters rough times at his new church in Sellerstown, North Carolina. It starts innocently enough but things continue to escalate. Firecrackers and gunshots at the Nichols family home are the handiwork of a member of Rev. Nichols’ congregation in a battle for control of the church.
The book is compelling as Nichols recounts the story of her family and their service to their church and community as the violence towards their family worsens. I won’t spoil the apex of the book for you, but anyone that likes true crime books should pick this up. It’s a shocking look into the far too prevalent circles of power inside small town churches all over America and what happens when that power is challenged.
If you pay attention to things like the Hugo Awards (or pick up Entertainment Weekly), N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season will not be a stranger to you. It’s the first in a trilogy that has won the best novel award for every single book. You don’t have to just take my word for how great this book is – it’s a verified winner.
While summing up this read isn’t easy, you should know this is fantasy deeply rooted in geology. It imagines a world where humans known as Orogenes can control the very movements of the earth. Their ability to do so has been harnessed to quell the near-constant natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, etc) that befall the tectonically plagued continent. Feared for their immense powers, the Orogenes are kept in slavery. Jemisin writes the story of three Orogenes – Damaya, Syenite, and Essun – across three different timelines in this world.
Saying more about the story will only complicate matters. If you want your fantasy to be deeper than your typical swords and sorcery, this is the book for you – while endlessly entertaining, The Fifth Season is also about the legacy and psychological impact of slavery. Go read it!