Imagine your friend telling you her life story over dessert. As she tells you her past, she makes connections to her restaurant and life's work.
For anyone familiar with culinary revolutionary Alice Waters, this will be a joy. For those unfamiliar, it will provide insight into how taste is developed. -Tom
This quietly powerful novel begins during the 1980 South Korean student protests. Kang's book is a meditation on human action (both humane and inhumane), memory, and the soul. Human Acts increases in power with each page with its jarring reminders of both the courage and violence behind change and its lingering toll on those willing to take the risk.
A tightly written meditation about a marriage over time. Tiesis thoughtful and jostling with just the right amount of suspense. It may have you taking stock of your relationship. -Tom
Saunders' first novel, a best-seller, has a variety of tensions: the living vs the dead, the person vs the private, longing vs letting go. The bardo is a buddhist term for purgatory, and everyone appears to "live" in it. the novel reads like a play. If you enjoy a linear plot and realistic fiction, this is not a novel for you. If you don't mind a challenging form, you will be rewarded. -Tom
Anyone familiar with the On Being podcast will appreciate this book. Tippett has taken bits of her interviews and grouped them. This is for anyone interested in people who live differently than most. -Tom
This "quiet" book is a pilgrimage towards understanding one's identity. It's a beautiful, strange novel of love, friendship and heartbreak. I couldn't put it down.
These pithy modern fables will make you think and laugh. If you're looking for meaningful literature but don't have the time to slog through a 500 page classic, I'd recommend this one! -Tom
"A short but powerful novel. Told from a boy's point of view filled with love and hope, he chronicles his father's descent into addiction and its affects." -Tom
This collection of previously published essays gives insight into Oliver's way of seeing, her writing process, and the influences on them. If you're familiar with her poetry, this book is a gift. If you're hesitant about poetry, read Upstream. It will pique your interest in her other writing. -Tom
I've long been fascinated by quiet people who live as hermits or choose to live mostly in solitude. The plot seems straightforward - a young man, for no apparent reason, walks into the woods and lives there for over 25 years. Like any Maine story, the book is filled with unique characters. What follows had me asking questions about modern society and my own life. -Tom
From the author of Eileen, this collection of short stories address themes of alienation, longing, and love. I won't lie to you - this collection is dark. The characters are often physically unattractive, emotionally stuck, and desire to be somewhere else... yet - like Eileen - I couldn't put it down. -Tom
Prose opens with a simle setting - an off-off Broadway musical based on an old children's book.
A deeply moving book that speaks to love, longing and yearning. Prose shifts points of view to show how perceptions are not necessarily truths.
I cannot recommend it enough if you like a thoughtful narrative, or if you enjoy unpacking layers. Regardless, this novel should not be missed. -Tom
A highly regarded first novel that is extremely well-written and constructed. Moshfegh sucks you into Eileen's 1964 world. The novel builds in suspense with a surprising twist. I could not put Eileen down! -Tom
Do you miss eating steak, eggs, and bacon? Wonder if taking statins matter? This eye opening book on the matters of nutrition and politics of food science will make you salivate. -Tom
While the title says a personal topography, The Hour of Land expands on this premise to address what the National Park System means to all of us. If you enjoyed Ken Burns' PBS series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, you are sure to enjoy The Hour of Land -Tom