So many books, so little time… We, the digital booksellers of 24symbols, are set on helping you make the best of your time. This is why each week we present you a book that has caught our special attention. This may be a book that everybody is talking about, the debut novel from an author one should look out for or a hidden gem that we were lucky enough to bring to light. Check out the best books of the moment and find your next read. We made sure to include something for everyone’s taste:
The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery
The second novel by Amanda Cox is a heartfelt story about three generations of women whose secrets have shaped their lives in unexpected ways. Told through the perspectives of Sarah, her mother Rosemary and her grandmother Glory Ann, we get to know a line of feisty women who all try to shelter each other from life’s hardship. By doing so however, they end up weaving a tale of secrets that turns out to be a cobweb rather than a safety net.
Switching between past and present, Amanda Cox delights us with a carefully developed story and complex characters. Little by little we learn how Glory Ann’s biggest secret has not only shaped Rosemary’s but also Sarah’s life. The biggest challenge for any parent is to find the right balance between protecting their children and at the same time allowing them to make their own experiences. Amanda Cox makes clear that it is always best to stick to the truth, even if it is difficult to digest.
Outraged – Why Everyone is Shouting and No One is Talking
A short but powerful book that takes a critical stand on activism in the times of social media. When not only every tweet but also every newspaper article aims to score as many clicks as possible, provocation and exaggeration are a daily occurrence and hate spreads faster than a virus. While Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles is not per se against outrage, she does want the reader to use it wisely. Outrage has been the driving force for numerous social rights movements but is now being used so lavishly that its impact is being diminished.
Charles’ writing is witty and insightful, in OUTRAGED she presents a wonderful mix of research, anecdotes, personal insights and interviews that will certainly give you food for thought. It is the perfect book to distance yourself for a moment from today’s social media frenzy and reflect on clickbaiting strategies, cancel culture and cultural appropriation.As the author says herself, a book “for anyone who has been outraged or suffered at the hands of it.”
There are those who say that the most important sentence of a book is the first one. If you share the feeling and are into psychological thrillers, this is the book you have been looking for! Charlotte Barnes sure knows how to create tension, she pulls you in right from the start and makes sure that you will be glued to the pages until the very end.
Sarah is 17 when she witnesses the murder of her mother in their own house. The killer is never caught and Sarah moves on as best as she can, turning into a true crime reporter. With her life dedicated to crime, she publishes a book about her mother’s murder and suddenly the killer reaches out to her with an odd apology. An intriguing cat and mouse game takes its course…
After publishing the collection of short stories SCARY OLD SEX, the psychoanalyst Arlene Heyman returns to the literary scene with another intense account about the passions and sorrows of life. Seldom do you come across such a powerful heroine as the one presented to us in ARTIFACT: Lottie is a fierce, intelligent and highly sensual woman who is determined to find out everything about the world and her body, a born scientist.
Just as Lottie, the narrator is a perfect observer and descriptor. Neither of them shies away from giving detailed insight into sex scenes. Whether Lottie gives a scientific account of rats’ oral sex or we witness her own sex life, the pages steam with heat and passion. Yet, we meet Lottie at a point in her life where she has become frustrated by her professional and domestic burdens. What follows is an engrossing tale of her life that shows us how she has come to be the woman that she is now.
Love Death & Rare Books
Robert Hellenga is known for his love for detail. With LOVE DEATH & RARE BOOKS he once more excelled at the description of his characters, especially the portray of the bookselling profession and the peculiar life of the printed book. Hellenga reminds us of some of the most valued pieces of literature of all time and of the passions (and hate) they can evoke.
Gabe’s life has been shaped by books. His father passed on the family’s love for literature and rare books while his mother left him and his father because she wanted to “live life, not read about it”. Gabe continues the business of the family’s bookstore but has to struggle with the rapid changes in the book market. A homage to the power of literature and the printed book full of notable anecdotes that is a must for all booklovers.
Hell Hath No Fury
If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller full of twists and turns, you will love this new thriller by Michelle Morgan.
Meet Charlotte, a single mom who is raising her nine-year-old son Tom – fruit of her affair with Simon, a married man who disappeared from Charlotte’s life after leaving her at the abortion clinic – without the father ever suspecting about his parenthood.
Ten years later Charlotte meets her old lover again and does everything in her power to prevent him from meeting his son. Suddenly Charlotte is being sabotaged, somebody else knows her secret and takes advantage of her situation. Luckily Charlotte’s very likeable neighbor Zach helps her keep her cool throughout this whole emotional chaos. Then things happen very fast and while there are many hidden connections, everything is resolved in the last chapter. Prepare yourself for an unpredictable and fulminating showdown!
Old Lovegood Girls
When a novel by the grand dame of women’s fiction Gail Goodwin hits our shelves we know that we are in for a treat. OLD LOVEGOOD GIRLS is no exception, an intelligent novel that reminds us of the genre’s complexity even though many have come to consider women’s fiction as light entertainment.
Merry and Feron meet at Lovegood Junior College and instantly connect. While Merry has had a stable and happy childhood and spreads good energy wherever she goes, Feron is surrounded by a gloomy aura. No wonder, considering that she fled from her abusive stepfather who possibly beat her alcoholic mother to death. Nevertheless, the two complement and inspire each other in ways they did not expect and their friendship is to last for decades. It is a peculiar type of friendship with long intervals of silence – letters never sent, phone calls never made – but still, each is constantly present in the other’s thoughts, dreams and heart. Both women are aspiring writers and there is an underlying rivalry and an ongoing question of who is allowed to tell whose stories that makes the novel a compelling read.
Masque of Honor
Love, politics and a family feud that escalates into a duel on a chilly winter day are promising ingredients for this historical novel by Sharon Virts. Armistead Mason and Jack McCarty are both descendants of founding father George Madison and have followed his footsteps but could not be more opposed in their political opinions. While Armistead is an absolute advocate of Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic Republican party of Virginia, Jack is a loyal Federalist.
Sharon Virts proves herself as a skillful storyteller with this debut novel. By opening the book with the duel between the two Virginian gentlemen, she creates a tense atmosphere that immediately intrigues the reader to learn more about the two duelists. Let yourself be transported 200 years into the past and get to know two men that are united by family ties but divided by politics. A perfect mix of historical facts and fiction.
Nothing Can Hurt You
This original debut by Nicola Maye Goldberg was inspired by a true crime story but is so much more than a thriller. On the one hand this is because we know almost right away who is the killer (and the victim), on the other, Goldberg chose a peculiar structure for this novel: In twelve chapters she offers twelve different perspectives on the crime. Each story makes sense on its own but it is the whole that creates an impressive understanding of how a crime affects the people that are connected to the victim or the killer.
However, Goldberg does not only concentrate on the big crimes that make the news and cause a collective outcry. She shows a bitter reality in which gender crimes are shrugged off as an annoying but inevitable part of life. An intense and fascinating psychological study that will haunt you long after you have finished reading the last page. If on top of a captivating story and unique characters you like conceptual novelties, this is the perfect book for you!
In Praise of Retreat
The perfect read for all those who are aching to get away from the noise and buzz of the city, or who are in need of a break from work, social media or society in general. Kirsteen MacLeod dives into the history of retreat and shares the findings of her rigorous research in this insightful book. Mixing personal essays with entertaining stories about well-known hermits such as Thoreau or Emily Carr, MacLeod asks herself why people retreat and what they hope to find in their solitude. She looks at the philosophical, religious, cultural and spiritual aspects of sanctuaries throughout history, contemplates Western as well as Eastern traditions and explains how monasteries are adapting to the 21st century and our need for digital detox. If you cannot afford to seclude yourself entirely, this is the best next thing.
Every City Is Every Other City
The master of crime fiction, John McFetridge, has just started a new promising book series: Gordon Stewart is a movie location scout, as well as a licensed private detective. Two jobs that complement each other wonderfully not only because of Gordon’s sense of direction but also because of his constant references to movie scripts and their incompatibility with real life.
Gordon leads an unspectacular life but is happy just the way it is. This changes when he accepts to help the movie production manager and starts looking for her missing uncle. Thanks to his connections in the private security sector, Gordon does get useful information on the uncle but in return he has to do some favors and is suddenly involved in a major sexual assault investigation. Just not on the side he would like to be on.
A witty novel with likeable characters and unexpected turns that explores serious topics such as depression, suicide and the #MeToo movement. We are sure looking forward to read more about Gordon Stewart. Or is it Stewart Gordon?
On The Line
This is a very special book as you will notice right from the start. Ponthus writes in the industrial beat of the factories he describes. There is no punctuation because there is no end to the work on the line, it just never stops. The rhythm dictated by the machines takes over his body, his mind and his writing. In short, repetitive chapters you will get a good grasp of the stoic routines, the incessant sequences and hard physical labor. It is a celebration of the worker but also of the life outside of work. Even though it seems that the center of the novel is the factory which devours its workers, Ponthus makes clear that what really matters is what takes place at home. The wife, the dog – a private life that is only adumbrated but which is the key motivator for him to keep returning to the factory. A small book with a big message – poetic, impressive and simply beautiful.
The Willow Wren
A WWII novel told from a very intimate perspective. The author himself states that this book is a memory of memories, a fictional account of his father’s life embellished with the writer’s imagination and power of observation.
Told in hindsight by the author’s father Ludwig, THE WILLOW WREN describes the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Ludwig was only ten at the peak of the war and thus his perception is often quite naïve. However, this is what makes the narrative stand out, especially as Ludwig adds his grown-up point of view to his childhood memories. Son of a senior Nazi, Ludwig does not care for the war and seeks refuge in books and nature. While this makes him an outsider during his time at the Hitler Youth, his knowledge comes in handy later on.
Through Ludwig’s memories we learn about life in Germany during the years before, during and after WWII. But above all, this is a book about how war affects individual citizens and about a small boy who has to grow up from one day to another in order to protect his family.
A brilliant novel set in the 90s about two aspiring writers from very different backgrounds struggling to make their way in New York. Despite their differences they bond and our nameless narrator invites his newfound friend to move into his apartment. Insecure and “invisibly damaged” he finds himself surprisingly at ease with Billy. However, there is a sense of doom in the air as economic and social differences clearly outweigh the two guys’ bonding over common fears.
Wayne skillfully creates tension between the two and intersperses clues that in the end trigger an emotional tsunami with severe consequences. A truly spellbinding read which explores the universal fears of loneliness and failure and shows that while privilege is certainly a career booster, it does not entitle you to success.
All That We Carried
The forest has always been a place worshipped for its beauty and peace. Especially in today’s hectic everyday life, it has become a much sought-after retreat where one can find inner calmness among the whispers of the trees.
So it seems like a good idea that Melanie suggests a hike in order to reconnect with her sister Olivia. The two have hardly spoken since the fatal accident of their parents ten years ago. Alone in the wilderness Melanie hopes to address a few important topics. But the forest is not only a place of tranquility, it also bears many dangers. Faced with nature’s unpredictability, the different characters of the two sisters emerge even more and it looks like the hiking trip is turning into a disaster. Each interprets the different events in her own way and, how could it be otherwise, their perspectives clash completely.
Bartels uses these differences to raise many questions about life that will give you food for thought. It is a story about loss, belief and forgiveness with complex characters and a beautiful ending which leaves room for interpretation.
The Way it Should Be
Life is a mess and the three protagonists of this book know it. Zara and Eve are twin sisters whose lives have separated but when Zara learns she has to take care of her sisters’ children, she jumps right in, even though se had no idea she was an aunt. Eve battles with addiction and is doing her best to free herself from the drugs. Luckily she is helped by Tiff, a woman who has lost her daughter to drug abuse and is now devoted to help others overcome their addiction.
Nelson talks about serious topics, not only drug addiction but also the difficulties of foster care, and does not shy away from portraying the shady sides of life. She does so in a realistic way and neither idealizes nor over-dramatizes her characters. Despite the dramatic themes of the novel, Nelson gives the read a warm and life-affirming message that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.
The Play’s the Thing
When thinking of romance, one cannot help but thinking of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The play, as well as the playwright, have inspired countless lovers, songwriters and, of course, other authors. Jessica Barksdale Inclán offers us a very different take on Shakespeare and his work. The result is an absolutely delightful novel that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, while traveling in time and place.
English professor and Shakespeare scholar Jessica Randall suddenly finds herself in the chambers of the one and only William Shakespeare. She is not the only one who is baffled, the poet is just as perplex and together they try to adapt to the situation while giving their best not to fall in love. The result is extremely funny and sexy at the same time, especially if you have a thing for Shakespeare 🙂
Arsene Lupin – Gentleman Burglar
Discover the stories that inspired the Netflix series Lupin. No wonder that Assane Diop, protagonist of the successful streaming series, is fascinated by Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin. The charming gentleman thief has not only found his way into our digital bookshelves but also into our hearts with his utterly French sense of humor.
This collection compiles many stories that feature the charismatic Frenchman, including some of his encounters with a certain Holmlock Shears. Sounds familiar? Yes, Leblanc loved a little joke and introduced the beloved English consulting detective to his series. Shears arrives in Paris to give the French Chief-inspector Ganimard a hand. And rightly so, for Ganimard is hilariously incompetent and has no chance against Lupin, who constantly fools the police (and the reader).
Perfect for all fans of detective stories who like a little laugh and of course for fans of the Netflix series who want to learn a little more about Lupin.
This Is Happiness
Niall Williams is an exquisite storyteller who takes such great care in describing places and people that you feel as if you were right there with them.
Our protagonist Noel is a man in his 70s who remembers his youth when he returned to his grandparents’ village to recover from a crisis of faith (no small matter for an aspiring priest) and ends up making his first romantic experiences and finding true friendship. What makes this coming-of-age story so special is that it is told from the perspective of the aged Noel. His tender memories and reflections about time are poetic to say the least and make this book a perfect choice for the upcoming holidays!
Known for diving deep into the cruelties of humankind, Sebastian Fitzek has penned yet another disturbing but superb thriller. The German author is a real phenomenon in his homeland, where all his thrillers have been bestsellers and several of his books (including Passenger 23) have been adapted to the screen. Passenger 23 is a code that is used to refer to persons that go missing on cruise ships – whether by accident or suicide – and which implies that no real investigation follows because usually the body is never found. Police psychologist Martin Schwartz knows this just too well, both his wife and son went overboard on a cruise ship vacation and officials simply closed the case as murder-suicide. Five years later he is called to investigate a Passenger 23 incident on the same cruise ship his family disappeared from and this time he is determined to find out the truth. A truth that is hard to digest.
People of Abandoned Character
What would you do if you thought the man you just married might be Jack the Ripper? What started out as a passionate love affair, soon turns into a true nightmare. Thomas, in the beginning quite the charming surgeon from a wealthy family, abuses Susannah physically and emotionally. He also disappears for days, only to return home with scratches on his face or blood-stained clothes. When Susannah realizes that his worrisome appearances coincide with the dates of the so-called Whitechapel murders, she fears that Thomas might be the man everybody is looking for. Or is her imagination running wild? Clare Whitfield has delivered an astonishing debut novel that captures the atmosphere of London in the late 1880s with a modern and entertaining narrative voice. Susannah is a strong and very likeable character even though we cannot be sure how much of her account is influenced by the opium drops she takes to dull her senses. Prepare yourself for many surprising twists and turns that keep the reading pace fluid until the very end.
The Girls in Blue
Historical fiction at its best! With dozens of books published, Miller is known for her excellent research and courageous protagonists. Jane is eighteen years old when the news break that the war has started. She takes her chances and escapes her violent father to join the fight, more specifically the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. This unique setting sets this book apart, as it allows Miller to introduce many interesting bits and pieces about women in WWII. Get ready to find out everything there is to know about the WAAF. It is a very emotional read that will surely make you laugh and cry. Jane struggles to fight not only for her country but also for herself. She finds friends and love but is reluctant to give in to her feelings. Luckily Oscar is so smitten with her that he is determined to win her over at all costs. His resolution only grows when he learns about her troubled past. A terrific book that will hopefully be the start of a new WWII saga.
In his latest novel, New York Times bestselling author of THE 13th VALLEY surprises with a deeply emotional novel about the dangers of division and polarization of society but also about the importance of family, trust and friendship.
DEMISE is the story of John Pazunio, a man about to turn fifty who, in the time span of roughly 100 days, loses control of his seemingly perfect suburban life. Parallel to his personal downfall, we witness the decline of his neighborhood, as it is shaken by the economic consequences of a big corporate buyout, as well as the emotional aftermath of a horrific accident that killed several teenagers. The dramatic events in John’s and his friends’ lives alternate with John’s childhood memories and his “last thoughts” which hint at his imminent suicide.
Del Vecchio does a great job capturing John’s different selves, from little Johnny-Panni, to grown up John and, ultimately, his suicidal self. Even though the book deals with personal and societal traumas that are frankly frightening (even more so because they are very real and present in today’s society), it is an uplifting read.
Into the Woods
If you are looking for a chilling, slightly supernatural thriller, this one is for you! David Mark excels at creating unusual plots and INTO THE WOODS is no exception. Our protagonist Rowan is a writer in distress as the deadline for his second true crime novel is approaching and he has not produced a single page. But not only the page is blank, his mind is too, because he has not a clue what he could possibly write about. Seeking for inspiration in his sister’s remote lake house, he comes across a local disappearance case 30 years ago. Three girls went into the woods with a stranger but only two came out. The remaining girls did not remember what happened and the case was closed and buried in the town’s collective memory. Rowan starts investigating and digs out horrors that threaten his own safety. This is the first novel of a trilogy and as such Mark takes his time to introduce a wide range of absolutely loveable characters. But don’t be fooled, even though the story is slow at first, it is intense and will glue you to the pages throughout the whole book! We cannot wait for the next part of the series and hope that Mark will not suffer the same writer’s block as his protagonist…
Every day we receive thousands of new books and we carefully select the ones that we believe will interest you most. Our recipe? A great book should give food for thought, it should move, educate and fascinate the reader. A book is a door to another world, and it is while reading how we discover different perspectives and widen our horizon. A book can change a person but be no fool, because just as Edmund Wilson said, “no two persons ever read the same book.” That is another beauty of books. There is always room for interpretation, imagination and discussion. That is why we invite you to comment the books you read, recommend them to your friends and discuss them with fellow digital readers on 24symbols.
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