A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth: Stories by
What it is: a reflective and lyrical collection of short stories that span a range of historical settings, from Ancient Egypt to London during the Great Smog of 1952.
Story titles include: For the Union Dead; The Ecstasy of Alfred Russel Wallace; and The Miraculous Discovery of Psammetichus.
About the author: physician and writer Daniel Mason is best known for his novels, including The Piano Tuner and The Winter Soldier.
Utopia Avenue by
What it's about: fictional 1960s rock band Utopia Avenue and their journey to stardom, which takes them through a tangled web of drugs, social upheaval, clashing egos, and mental illness.
For fans of: Daisy Jones and the Six, another novel about the complexities of rock and roll fame.
About the author: Award-winning novelist David Mitchell's eclectic body of work includes the novels Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and The Bone Clocks.
The Book of V. by
What it's about: the character-driven, century-spanning stories of three female characters attempting to navigate the complex expectations of women in their respective societies.
Starring: overwhelmed modern stay-at-home mom Lily; strong-willed Watergate-era senator's wife Vee; the biblical Queen Esther.
Read it for: the engaging narration of each woman's point-of-view chapters and the unanticipated connections between each of their stories.
The Color of Air by
Hawaii, 1935: On the Big Island, the town of Hilo is home to a tight-knit community of Japanese immigrants and their families, eking out an existence in the shadow of sugarcane plantations. Also in the background: the volcano Mauna Loa, which is on the verge of its biggest eruption in years.
Featuring: Daniel Abe, a medical student whose return to Hilo coincides with the volcanic disaster; Daniel's estranged father Kenji, who is deep in mourning for Daniel's recently deceased mother Mariko; Maile, Daniel's high school sweetheart who is also back in Hilo after a brush with racist violence in Honolulu.
Saving Ruby King by
Catherine Adel West
What it's about: the bond of friendship between two teenage girls living in the South Side of Chicago, which is tested by domestic violence, murder, and decades-old secrets coming to light.
Read it for: the exploration of issues such as inter-generational family trauma and social marginalization; the strong sense of place; the shifting perspectives, including chapters narrated by inanimate objects that witness some of the story's most dramatic events.
A Bend in the Stars by
Russia, 1914: When her physicist brother, Vanya, goes missing en route to observe a solar eclipse, Jewish surgeon Miri Abramov embarks on a desperate rescue mission, accompanied by a charming army deserter.
What's at stake: Vanya believes that photographing the eclipse will verify or disprove Einstein's general theory of relativity, while Miri fears that if the coming war doesn't kill them both, the Czar's pogroms will.
Reviewers say: "exhilarating" (Publishers Weekly).
Enchantress of Numbers: a Novel of Ada Lovelace by
What it's about: the unusual childhood and later life of mathematician and aristocrat Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate child of legendary English poet Lord Byron and creator of the first computer program.
Don't miss: the development of Ada's complex relationship with her mother, who was desperate to keep Ada from turning out like her dissolute father.
Reviewers say: "a wonderful blend of history and fiction, poetry and math" (Publishers Weekly).
What it is: a mosaic novel about physicist and Manhattan Project director J. Robert Oppenheimer, told from the perspectives of seven different characters.
About the author: Louisa Hall's previous novel, Speak, also employed interconnected narratives to explore humanity's conflicted relationship with world-altering technologies.
Reviewers say: "Its genius is not to explain but to embody the science and politics that shaped Oppenheimer’s life" (The New York Times).
The Essex Serpent by
What it's about: Victorian era widow and aspiring naturalist Cora Seaborne relocates to coastal Essex to look for evidence of a local cryptid, a huge sea serpent that allegedly has the wings of a dragon.
You might also like: Other novels that deal with the intersection of natural (and unnatural) phenomena and the social expectations placed on young women, such as The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures, or The Great Unknown by Peg Kingman.
Contact your librarian for more great books!