As temps continue to drop, we want nothing more than to cuddle up with a cozy blanket and piping hot cup of coffee. But while we're indoors, we'd rather not be guilted into telling Netflix that "Yes, I'm still watching" for the hundredth time this week; instead, we'll be reaching for a great new read. From New York Times bestseller follow-ups to scientific studies that support our affinity for swearing, these are the 9 titles that'll keep us entertained.
A Kind of Miraculous Paradise, Sandra Allen
As a child, Sandra Allen didn't know too much about her Uncle Bob—just that he had done a couple stints in a mental hospital in the 60s and 70s, and that he was "crazy." Then, in 2009, Bob mailed his niece a heartbreaking, typewritten autobiography about growing up a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic, and begged her to help him get his story front of others. Combing through the error-riddled, stream-of-consciousness pages, Allen wove together A Kind of Miraculous Paradise—a combination of Bob's facts, a broader look at the volatile environment he had to deal with, and the state of mental healthcare in America today.
Red Clocks, Leni Zuma
When an author garners comparisons to Margaret Atwood and Eileen Myles, you know their stuff is good. Hot on the heels of The Handmaid's Tale mania, comes Leni Zuma's equally unnerving story of resilience, identity, and freedom. In the world of Red Clocks, abortion and in-vitro fertilization are both illegal in the U.S., and all embryos are granted the right to life, liberty, and property under the Personhood Amendment. In the Pacific Northwest, in a tiny Oregon town, we follow the lives of five women who are grappling with the consequences of such regulations.
The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin
Chloe Benjamin's sophomore novel, The Immortalists, is a true page-turner. Set in New York City's Lower East Side in 1969, it follows the lives of the four Gold children, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya as they meet with a mystical psychic who claims to be able to predict anyone's day of death. Spanning five decades, the story delves into how the prophecies influenced each child's life. In the end, Benjamin's work will have you contemplating the blurred lines between destiny and choice and reality and illusion.
Swearing Is Good for You, Emma Byrne
If you were a foul-mouthed teen (like me), you were probably told to "watch your language" more than a few times a day. But now, popular science is here to back up our affinity for cursing. In Swearing is Good for You, Emma Byrne breaks down scientific experiments, historical case studies, and cutting-edge research with wit. What she comes to find—and with the support of neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists—is that when used prudently, our linguistic crutches can have quite the beneficial impact.
Everything Here is Beautiful, Mira T. Lee
Told from alternating points of view, Everything Here is Beautiful is a testament to the strength of sisterhood and sacrifice. Miranda is used to being the voice of reason for her younger sister, Lucia. So when their mother dies, and Lucia starts to hear voices, Miranda leaves her home in Switzerland to aid her sister. While Lucia grapples with her mental illness, she yearns to live life on the edge, bouncing her young family back and forth between the States and Ecuador. Ultimately, what Miranda comes to realize is she can't save Lucia if she isn't willing to be saved.
The Afterlives, Thomas Pierce
What happens after we die? That's the question Thomas Pierce's characters faces head on in The Afterlives. Technically, thirty-year-old Jim Byrd died from a heart attack. But after a few minutes of flatlining, he's revived. Though he didn't snap back with memories of a guiding light (or anything else you'd hear about in the movies), he does question what waited on the other side. Not long after the experience, Jim and his wife Annie are visited by an apparition. As they meet with psychics and confront the line between the living and dead, they face the "specter of loss that looms for anyone who dares to fall in love."
Neon in Daylight, Hermione Hoby
British expat Kate has no idea what Manhattan has in store for her when she lands in the city during a summer 2012 heatwave. Between cat-sitting Joni Mitchell, an apathetic feline, and Skypeing her long distance boyfriend, she stumbles upon two strangers who quickly change everything. Bill is an author with one hit (thanks to a movie version of his novel), and Inez is his Bushwick barista daughter who moonlights as a Craigslist escort of sorts. As quickly as she meets them, Kate becomes enamored. Ultimately, Hermione Hoby's Neon in Daylight is a character-driven exploration of infatuation and desire.
Still Me, Jojo Moyes
Following the hit success of Me Before You and After You, New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes is back with the third installment featuring her iconic heroine Louisa Clark. In Still Me, Louisa moves to NYC for a fresh start, confident that she can embrace city life and still maintain her long-distance relationship with Sam. But soon enough, she's rubbing elbows with NYC's high society folk and she meets Joshua Ryan, who shakes everything up and leaves Louisa questioning who she is and what she wants.
Heart Spring Mountain, Robin MacArthur
In August 2011, Vermont is devastated by Tropical Storm Irene. Vale, Heart Spring Mountain's protagonist, is more than a thousand miles away from her New England hometown, working in New Orleans, when she gets word that her estranged mother Bonnie is missing as a result of the disaster. Returning home after eight years away, Vale's search for her mom reveals families secrets that span three generations.
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