Thinking back on what I’ve read this year, and as Thanksgiving approaches, several books come to mind as works that inspire my gratitude.
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
Li Lan travels to the underworld to break her betrothal to a dead man so she can marry his heir. Dark and mysterious, this powerful first novel weaves magical imagery from Chinese folklore with an eerily memorable love/hate story.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
This collection of six imaginative short stories challenges readers to see the humor on the dark side of humanity while not shying away from a truly creepy horror. My favorite story is “Reeling for the Empire” — narrated by workers in a silk factory of a very unusual nature.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
In the early 19th century, Alma Wittaker’s extreme intelligence, desperate plainness and the influence of her misanthropic father, lead her to explore connections between plants, animals and even humans all over the world. Alma suspects a creative “signature” is present in all things. For a treat, listen to the audio version of this book, read by Juliet Stevenson.
Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood
The Honorable Phryne Fisher, the Aussie flapper whose methods of detection and refusal to bow to convention are nearly as outrageous as her magnetic charm, with the help of her minions, takes on the nuns at Magdalen laundry and seeks four missing women who may be victims of foul play. You can read this delightfully cozy mystery series in any order.
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Something horrific is coming down over the winter holiday in Quebec — from the very top of government and maybe even from corrupt police leadership. And from the tiny snowed-in village of Three Pines, Chief Inspector Gemache is marshalling his forces. But is Gemache still smart and powerful enough to prevail?
Yes, I’m always grateful for my family, my dogs and my home, but books are my bread and butter!