Thursday, August 25, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Can't Wait!

Fall always seems to be a great time for books. As much as I love beach reads, I always seem to connect fall with binge reading. That might have something to do with the fact that it's back to school time and I always loved seeing what I would read during a semester.

This month's Variations on a Theme is a list of books I can't wait to read. Most of these are not new titles. They are simply the titles on my TBR list that I want to read sooner rather than later.

The Woman in Cabin Ten 
Ruth Ware

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Before the Fall 
Noah Hawley

On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha'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 Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Eight Hundred Grapes 
Laura Dave

There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide… What if your beloved fiancĂ©, he of the crinkly smile and irresistible British accent, had kept a life-changing secret from you? And what if, just a week before your dream wedding, you discovered it? Georgia Ford, bride-to-be, hops in her car and drives through the night, from Los Angeles to Sonoma, to her safe haven: her family, and the acclaimed family winery. Georgia craves the company of those who know her best, and whom she truly knows. Better yet, it’s the eve of the last harvest—the best time of the growing season, and Georgia knows she’ll find solace—and distraction—in the familiar rituals. But when Georgia arrives home, nothing is at all familiar. Her parents, her brothers, the family business, are all unrecognizable. It seems her fiancĂ© isn’t the only one who’s been keeping secrets.

My Brilliant Friend
Elena Ferrante

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook
Rachel Khoo

Living a life as colorful and creative as Rachel Khoo—star of three BBC television series, author of bestselling cookbooks, illustrator, and international tastemaker—creates a constellation of ideas and inspiration. All of her gifts pack this exuberant more-than-a-cookbook, with its rounded corners and hefty notebook feel. Each turn of the page offers doable and delicious recipes, style-setting ideas from around the globe, 250 photographs, and Rachel's charming illustrations and engaging notes. Here's a cookbook unlike any other—one that brings a smile of surprise and delight every time it's opened.

Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to. Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words...And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Other Can't Wait Titles
Bibliotech - John Palfrey
Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates
Flaneuse - Lauren Elkin
Friday Night Lights - H.G. Bissinger
The Index Card - Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
Sleep Donation - Karen Russell
The Witches - Stacy Schiff

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