Now that summer is coming to a close, the sweet taste of vacation still on the mind, you can ease back into your favorite chair and travel again with a great new book. Tyler Goodson of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., has a few top picks for the season to share. A staple at the bookshop for five years, Tyler hand-picks the latest and greatest literary works for adults, but his recommendations across the board will take you away.
This book is outrageous, hilarious, and a jolt to the system—the opposite of what our main character is after. I don't know how a book about someone wanting to sleep for a year is so compelling, but it feels somehow necessary and like I've needed it all along.
Clock Dance is a novel about time; how it moves and how it can get away from us. It’s sweet, warm, and funny, without ever sacrificing sharp writing and well-observed characters. It’s readable comfort food that reminds us it is not only possible to make a new way in life, but it’s never too late.
This novel is the kind of book you make time for, the kind you cancel plans and turn your phone off for. It's utterly believable, heartbreaking, and beautiful. In Makkai's hands, this generation devastated by AIDS are not victims, but fighters, resisters, and believers. I am thankful for this book.
A harrowing and compelling story of a mother serving two life sentences in prison, this novel is dark, but somehow full of what makes life matter. I love Kushner's writing, and her newest book does not disappoint.
Tana French comparisons are constant (and usually wrong) but The Ruin measures up. With great plotting, characters, and writing, McTiernan has created a vital new series.
Sometimes you want to read a book about characters who have it together even less than you. I loved this book. The characters are flawed but trying to figure it out.
Ill Will is frightening and very unsettling. It's a rare horror novel that is both well-written with great characters. Don't read it alone at night.
Spanning a college wrestler's senior season, Stephen Florida is unlike anything else. Eerie and unsettling, it can be hard to live in Stephen's head, but it is impossible to stop reading, or forget what you find there. As a character, Stephen is unpredictable, sympathetic, focused, frenzied, cold, and tender. He is hard to love and yet I love him. We are lucky to have a new novel like this: something you haven't seen before, that makes you remember what good fiction is capable of.
Katherine Heiny has a voice unlike anyone else. Her writing and characters are smart and fresh—full of precise, hilarious commentary on marriage, parenting, friendship, and dinner parties, etc.
There is a reason this novel won Jesmyn Ward her second National Book Award. This story follows Jojo and his mother Leonie as they travel to Northern Mississippi to pick up Jojo's father from prison. It is haunted and powerful.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
This YA novel is The Secret History meets Agatha Christie. Stevie attends a private boarding school, and wants to solve the school's decades-old murder, but has to turn her keen eye to the present when one of her classmates winds up dead. This feels like a classic. Fun and suspenseful.
On the first day of summer, Avery brings home a stack of poetry. Later that summer, as he tries to navigate crushing loss and disappointment, he turns to that poetry again and again; the reading and writing of it. This book is Avery's bold and thrilling record of his heartbreak, love, grief, and family. It's about creating art through pain, and dealing with pain through art. It blew me away.
NON-FICTION & TRUE CRIME
I'll Be Gone in the Dark is a story of obsession and violence, a woman and a killer. As much a book of true crime as it is a book about a time and a place. And a person: Michelle McNamara. She is a streak of good in the darkness, and how fortunate we are to have this record of her perceptiveness, honesty, and humanity. Go ahead and plan to stay up all night. It's that good (and that scary).
Words by Tyler Goodson
Photographs by Erin Wilson