“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” John Green
Post sunrise, I did not wake to the sound of birds warbling their morning song. There were no nature strains from the Amazon rainforest streaming softly from my phone, no faint sound of waves swashing ashore. Nope, I woke to an altogether different tone. A far better sound roused me from insufficient sleep than Mother Nature’s best—it was coming from my ten-year-old son. I was equally shocked and gratified. Jonah was soulfully singing “Ooh baby I love your way every day.” It made me (and Peter Frampton I’m sure) come alive! I was filled with this weird evangelical zeal, with the same ardor I feel when I discover a champion of a book that must be shared.
I think there’s an art to finding the best books. Admittedly, I undertake looking for my next read much like I approached naming a baby: it involves scouring cyberspace and shelves. Real research. Sometimes it requires talking to experts, other trusted readers. Of course, Rachel could adopt a local personal injury attorney’s motto: One call That’s All. I can always count on her for a hidden winner. Are we taking this book search thing too far? Probably. But scads of friends ask us to weigh in on what to read next—here’s what my current research tells me to place squarely on deck:
I don’t know Susan Rivers, but I do know that being a 2017 finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize is impressive. Her debut also garnered 4.5 stars from amazon. Combine that with praise like “I gobbled this book up in one luscious sitting,” “Oh! What a wonderful book! I could not put it down,” and “I was entranced from page one,” and I suspect you’ve got a keeper. (By the way…luscious?)
This novel caught my eye because of the five-star shine. Fives aren’t easy to come by. This review was glowing. And Michael Ondaatje is the best-selling author of The English Patient. Besides, the promise of “mesmerizing from the first sentence, rife with poignant insights and satisfying subplots, this novel about secrets and loss may be Ondaatje’s best work yet” is auspicious, don’t you think?