Six Uplifting Books to Read If You’ve Had a Really Bad Year

Originally published on, our sister company.

Eva Woods spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of happiness when writing her new novel, Something Like Happy. The book tells the story of two women who are seeking joy in the midst of sadness, heartbreak, and tragedy. Like many of us readers, Woods turns to books when she’s feeling low. Here, she shares some of her favorite uplifting titles.

My new book, Something Like Happy, is the story of two unlikely friends who’ve hit crisis points in their lives and decide to see if the #100HappyDays social media challenge can make a difference when you’ve truly reached rock-bottom. At times of hardship in my own life, there are certain soothing, feel-good books I like to reach for as a comfort and aid. It’s not about escapism so much as facing the sadness head on and realizing there is happiness on the other side. Here are my go-to happy reads.

Saint Maybe

Saint Maybe is a beautiful, quirky story of how a family manages not to break after a terrible tragedy, but bends and adapts instead, welcoming in new members and sharing the love. It’s a wonderful tale of guilt and sadness giving way to hope and joy. I cried my eyes out when reading it. The Accidental Tourist is another great Anne Tyler book about loss and hope.

Rachel’s Holiday

This is a book about addiction, self-destructiveness, denial, and pain, but it’s written with humor, lightness, and love. The author draws on her own experiences with addiction, and the book pulls off an incredibly clever feat of unreliable narration, all while celebrating family, friends, and forgiveness. As comforting as a big bubble bath.

The Secret Garden

In the darkest times, sometimes only children’s books will do. This classic story of two lonely, neglected cousins in a spooky house has it all:  mystery, sadness, joy, and an uplifting ending that sees the barren garden (both literal and metaphorical) return to life. Angry, spoiled orphan Mary Lennox is a heroine we can all relate to.

Eat, Pray, Love

A bit of a cliché this one, but I’ve read it several times at crisis moments, turning to it again after my own divorce and finding it uncannily resonant. If you ever need permission to go a little wild and let yourself be sad and crazy and eat a lot of ice cream, this book gives it, with warmth and understanding.

Between Silk and Cyanide

I recently read this riveting memoir of life in the Special Operations Executive during World War II, and I highly recommend it if you ever need reminding of just how brave and noble we can be in the face of great tyranny. It’s also very funny and really brings home the fact that the people behind these amazing feats were just humans like the rest of us, complete with office squabbles, black market tea, love affairs, etc.

A God in Ruins

I love all of Kate Atkinson’s books (Case Histories is another favorite), but this tale of a wartime pilot had me in tears, thinking about the impact of our lives on others. Again, there’s lots of stirring wartime bravery and suffering, and it’s told with a fascinating structure that really makes you think about what we leave behind.

Eva Woods was born in Ireland but now resides in London and has published two women’s fiction novels with Mira UK and also writes crime fiction for Hodder UK as Claire McGowan. In addition to writing novels, she teaches creative writing and has written for GlamourYou magazine, the Guardian, the Dublin Herald, and more. Something Like Happy marks her North American debut.


Happy Birthday, Authors!: A Look at Writers Born in September

Originally published on, our sister company.

Do you share a birthday with your favorite author? Here, we take a look at novelists, poets, journalists, and other writers born during the month of September.

September 1
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875)

September 2
Allen Drury (1918)

September 3
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849)

September 4
Richard Wright (1908)

September 5
Ward Just (1935)

September 6
Robert M. Pirsig (1928)

September 7
Dame Edith Sitwell (1887)
Joe Klein (1946)

September 8
Frédéric Mistral (1830)
Ann Beattie (1947)

September 9
Leo Tolstoy (1828)
Sonia Sanchez (1934)

September 10
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886)
Mary Oliver (1935)
Stephen Jay Gould (1941)

September 11
O. Henry (1862)
D.H. Lawrence (1885)

September 12
H.L. Mencken (1880)
Michael Ondaatje (1943)

September 13
Sherwood Anderson (1876)
Roald Dahl (1916)
Adrienne Kennedy (1931)

September 14
Robert McCloskey (1914)
Kate Millett (1934)
John Steptoe (1950)

September 15
James Fenimore Cooper (1789)
Agatha Christie (1890)

September 16
Francis Parkman (1823)
John Knowles (1926)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950)

September 17
William Carlos Williams (1883)
Ken Kesey (1935)

September 18
Samuel Johnson (1709)

September 19
William Golding (1911)

September 20
Upton Sinclair (1878)
Donald Hall (1928)

September 21
H.G. Wells (1866)
Fannie Flagg (1944)
Stephen King (1947)
Marsha Norman (1947)

September 22
Fay Weldon (1931)

September 24
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825)
Wilson Rawls (1913)
Alexis De Veaux (1948)

September 25
William Faulkner (1897)
bell hooks (1952)

September 26
T.S. Eliot (1888)
Jane Smiley (1949)

September 27
Joyce Johnson (1935)
Mark Vinz (1942)

September 28
Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856)
Elmer Rice (1892)

September 29
Miguel de Cervantes (1547)

September 30
J. I. M. Stewart (1906)
Truman Capote (1924)

Know of an author who should be on this list? Leave a comment and let us know!


Leigh Bardugo on Wonder Woman: “I Just Want to See Her Smash the Patriarchy”

Originally published on, our sister company.

The summer of 2017 turned Bookish’s editor into a ride-or-die Diana fan, and Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer played a significant role in that transformation. The novel tells Wonder Woman’s origin story, introducing readers to a young girl eager to prove herself and earn her place on Themyscira. She’s given the opportunity to do just that when she encounters Alia, a teenage girl and the personification of the Warbringer, destined to bring the world to blood and ruin. We had the chance to catch up with Bardugo at BookExpo America to talk about female friendships, writing kindness, and why the world needs Wonder Woman now more than ever.

Bookish: Diana is a hero in every way, but a lot of the characters in your other novels exist in a gray area. What was it like to write a character who is so defined by her desire to always do good?

Leigh Bardugo: It was an absolute joy. I was really worried when I went in because it was so essential to me that Diana not seem false and not be presented as a paragon. Just because you’re good and kind doesn’t mean you don’t have flaws or weaknesses or fears or that sometimes you don’t make poor choices, which she does.

When I wrote Six of Crows, depending on what section I was working on, sometimes I’d come out of Kaz’s POV and I would just be exhausted and sad and worried about humanity. Then I would write Diana and I would think, “All right, maybe we’re all going to be okay.” There’s a level of optimism that goes along with her character, and kindness. To me, it’s more about her being kind and compassionate than just being good. That is actually much more wonderful to write than I expected.

Bookish: When writing Diana’s origin story, what was one element of her original tales that you were excited to play with and one element that you decided to get rid of?

LB: I loved writing about the Amazons and putting my own spin on the mythology of Themyscira. I’ll admit I didn’t have any interest in writing about Steve Trevor. I was really charmed by his portrayal in the film, but I wanted this story to focus on the women.

Bookish: Diana, Nim, and Alia are a fantastic trio. They not only celebrate the importance of female friendships, but they showcase that there are many ways to be strong. How did you go about crafting their dynamic?

LB: I’ve written a short story set in our world, but this was very different for me. I spent a lot of time thinking about the way those relationships would be forged and how they would function. In crafting these characters, I was trying to keep them as authentic as possible. I had some wonderful readers who really helped me to work through some of the trickier issues they were dealing with.

It was important to me that even though Diana is the hero of the story, that Alia was a hero too. I wanted all of them to have opportunities to show what they’re made of and to show that feminism doesn’t belong to one person. Feminism doesn’t belong to one kind of person and adventure doesn’t belong to one kind of person. Magic, superpowers, all of those stories don’t belong to one kind of person.

I’m honestly a little heartbroken that I’m never going to write about these characters again. I’m not used to that. I’m used to writing a series or at least being able to say, “Well, maybe I’ll make it a series later.” Leaving them behind is so hard. There are so many stories for that group of characters that I would love to tell.

Bookish: The novel is infused with a lot of humor, both wit and physical comedy—Diana tossing the Lasso of Truth in a Duane Reade bag really sticks out to me. As a writer, how do you find that balance between comedy and the chaos of the world ending?

LB: I think if you only give the reader angst and intensity, the negative emotions start to lose their impact. The reader becomes desensitized. But if I’ve made you laugh and gotten you to let down your guard, it’s going to hurt that much more when I break your heart. (That sound you hear is me cackling.) The balance is one that really emerges in revision, fine-tuning the emotional turns and language so that the funny and tragic moments all get their due.

Bookish: We’re in a moment when Wonder Woman, as a character, is going through a period of rebirth. For years the name seemed to evoke the idea of a woman who manages to juggle a lot of responsibilities, rather than the heroine herself. What do you think it is about her story or about this period in history that is bringing her back into focus?

LB: Maybe because we need her. Maybe because we need her and because this is a great time to see a woman in an action film. We’ve seen more and more of that, and I would love to see even more diverse women in those roles, not just white women. But I think we also need a story of a woman who comes from Themyscira, who comes from a place where peace is a value, who comes from a place where compassion and kindness are values and where being strong is awesome and kicking ass is a delight. I love writing it so much, but those fundamental principles matter so much more now. And we’re all much more aware of that. I don’t know why, because we’ve all been waiting so long.

I wrote an essay about this for Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life. I loved Wonder Woman as a kid and I stopped loving her as I got older and began to understand who I was as a girl and as a woman in the world. It wasn’t until later that I came back to her. I feel like in some ways all of us are reclaiming her and saying “I don’t care if she’s wearing straps. I don’t care if she’s wearing heels. I just want to see her smash the patriarchy.”

Bookish: Mortal women have a chance to join the Amazons if they call out the name of a goddess in their last moments. Do you know who you’d cry out for?

LB: Hera, Athena, Demeter, Artemis, Hestia, and Aphrodite. They’re my pantheon. But I don’t belong on Themyscira. Too much cardio.

Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of Six of CrowsCrooked Kingdom, and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. She is the first author in the DC Icons Series, where the DC Comics super hero icons are written by megastar young adult authors. Forthcoming books include Batman by Marie Lu, Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas, and Superman by Matt de la Peña.


Indie Next List

October edition

The American Booksellers Association has announced the selections for the October Indie Next list, drawn from the recommendations of indie booksellers throughout the US. You can request many of these titles on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the ABA site

If you are a bookseller, you can nominate titles for the Indie Next list via NetGalley, and receive special access to new galleys via the Digital White Box program. Sign up today!

Additional Indie Next titles:

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, by Carmen Maria Machado
(Graywolf Press, 9781555977887)

The Last Ballad: A Novel, by Wiley Cash
(William Morrow, 9780062313119)

The Twelve-Mile Straight: A Novel, by Eleanor Henderson
(Ecco, 9780062422088)

Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, by Roz Chast
(Bloomsbury USA, 9781620403211)

Caroline: Little House, Revisited, by Sarah Miller
(William Morrow, 9780062685346)

Forest Dark: A Novel, by Nicole Krauss
(Harper, 9780062430991)

Five-Carat Soul, by James McBride
(Riverhead Books, 9780735216693)

Logical Family: A Memoir, by Armistead Maupin
(Harper, 9780062391223)


Daniel Handler on Romance, Sexuality, and Getting Over Quotation Marks

Originally published on, our sister company.

You may know Daniel Handler by another name: Lemony Snicket, the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. When he isn’t writing about the Baudelaire siblings, Handler is penning adult and young adult novels under his given name. We were lucky enough to catch up with Handler at BookExpo America to chat with him about his new novel, All the Dirty PartsIn it, a high schooler named Cole experiences firsthand the complexity of the “uncomplicated” relationship. Check out our conversation with Handler below.

Bookish: This story is, as the title suggests, is a love story in pieces—what the reader has is literally all the dirty parts. How do you think the story would have been different if the other parts had been included?

Daniel Handler: Well, I don’t think it’s possible to write the whole story of everything, and part of what this book came out of was the way in which sexuality is ignored or pushed aside in so much literature. And that’s a really big part of it—it’s part of the anxiety, and the desire, and the joy, and the anger and sorrow of young relationships. Not that we grow out of it later or anything.

When I wrote Why We Broke Up, it was the first time when I went out to talk about the book that there was a big gender imbalance in my audience. It had always been kind of 50-50, and this time it was like 95% women. And that’s also, in adolescence, when many boys fall off of pleasure reading altogether. I did not fall off of pleasure reading when I was in adolescence. I started looking at what I read, what I really liked, and I saw that it had a really strong sexual streak in it. It was high-minded literature, but like, The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a really powerful work when you’re 15. If you go back and read it, you realize that it’s full of threesomes, and you just think about what was interesting to you. So I was thinking about what segment of the population was falling off of reading.

That was a long way of not answering the question. How would it be different? It’d be longer.

Bookish: All the Dirty Parts is being billed as a companion novel to Why We Broke Up. Could you talk about how you see these two novels as being in conversation with each other?

DH: I think that Why We Broke Up is extremely romantic, and comes to sexuality through romance and that All the Dirty Parts is kind of the opposite—it comes to romance through sexuality. Certainly you can look at that as being gendered—that’s part of our own gender dysfunction around relationships, particularly when we’re young: Boys need to be nice to girls in order to get laid, and girls need to give it up to be girlfriends. So I thought about the ways those overlap: boys’ desire for romance and girls’ desire for sexuality, and how both those things are divisive.

Bookish: All the Dirty Parts reminded me of Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth. Both are explicit books about men whose lives are more or less ruled by sex. What drew you to this form as a vehicle for the story?

DH: It was actually the form that I found when I started thinking about books that are more fragmentary by Mary Robison, and Jenny Offill, and Maggie Nelson, and all these writers who are doing things in little, small parts. I got interested in that, and that kind of matching, not only the way sex can work in the imagination, but also the kind of fragmented, text-based conversations. It began to seem like the right vehicle to write a book in which those issues could be explored.

Why We Broke Up, for instance, is a long, written letter. That’s a very romantic idea, but it’s not realistic that you’d write a book-length letter to your ex-boyfriend. It’s not feasible.

I did a bunch of things I never thought I would do. I thought I would never write a fragmentary book. I like it a lot but I didn’t think it was my jam. I used to rant against books that had no quotation marks in them—I was kind of like, “Sorry, that’s how we do things.” But the way so many people communicate now, between talking and talking on the phone and emailing and texting and whatever else—it’s all kind of in the loam and I didn’t want to make any kind of division within that. In the book you often can’t tell when the characters are in the same room and when they’re not, and I like that.

Bookish: In this book, as in your Series of Unfortunate Events books, adults are unhelpful at best. The effect is that the younger characters are the only ones whose motives and actions make sense. Can you talk about why you write younger and older characters so differently?

DH: I think I’ve always done that. In my first book, The Basic Eight, there’s a high school girl and her parents are completely absent from the book and horrible things are happening. I think that it’s a major part of adolescence, that compartmentalization. You go to school or wherever you go and you’re in this huge thing that’s happening with people your own age and then you go home, and you’re a kid. I think even now that I’m a parent of an adolescent, and I meet so many parents of adolescents, I see that same division going on all the time. Even if you’re really close and you sit around the breakfast table and you talk about things, there’s still a whole world that’s happening that’s completely out of your hands. I eavesdrop on a lot of teenagers on public transportation and I have such a memory of being on the same public transportation–I grew up in San Francisco and I live there–literally the same buses, and I don’t remember anyone older than I am ever being on those buses and now, sure enough, I’m completely invisible when I’m there.

Bookish: You write in the book, about uncomplicated sex, that if you can’t see the complication, you’re probably it. This seems like the central realization for Cole over the course of the novel, and it emerges slowly. Why do you think this is such an important epiphany for him?

DH: Because I think the sex in his world is being un-compartmentalized. It has nothing to do with his friends, even as one of his friends becomes sexually involved with him. It has nothing to do with the way he spends his time—it’s something that he sneaks off to do. To realize that it’s all part of the world that we’re in is a big maturation process.

Bookish: This book subverts the trope that women are the ones to “catch feelings” in a relationship—in your book, it’s the male partner who does. Why did you make that decision?

DH: It just seemed like the way the story was heading, I guess. I like to be surprised when I’m reading a book, so when I’m writing a book, I think about what would be surprising. I try to avoid the pitfalls of cliché and particularly with gender, it’s so easy to see when you’re planning a book how deep those clichés are and how easy it is to fall into them.

Bookish: What’s next for you?

DH: I have a picture book coming out in the fall. And then I’m finishing an adult novel and a Snicket book, so I’ll continue to keep one foot on each side of the seesaw I guess.

Daniel Handler is the author of six novels. As Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for numerous books for children. His books have sold more than 70 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages, and have been adapted for screen and stage. His first play, Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit, will be produced this fall at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He lives in San Francisco with the illustrator Lisa Brown, to whom he is married and with whom he has collaborated on several books, and one son.


Claire Messud’s Favorite Books About Female Friendships

Originally published on, our sister company.

Claire Messud’s latest novel, The Burning Girl, explores the aftermath of broken friendship. At the start of seventh grade, Cassie Burnes ditches Julia Robinson in favor of boys, alcohol, and drugs. Julia, our narrator, is heartbroken that her longtime best friend is suddenly becoming a stranger. Over the course of the year, Cassie begins to spiral and Julia wonders just where the girl she used to know went. In honor of the book’s publication, Messud put together a list of her favorite books that explore complex female friendships.

The Girls of Slender Means

Muriel Spark turns her sharp wit and keen eye upon the residents of the May of Teck Club, a residence for single young women at the end of the Second World War. She captures their foibles and passions, their subtlest dynamics, and their buoyant, youthful frivolity. But as with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, another of Spark’s masterpieces about girls and women, there is darkness behind the bright facades, and a strong dose of tragedy in the comedy.

Two Serious Ladies

The inimitable Jane Bowles wrote just one novel (in addition to a bunch of short stories and a single play): It’s a brilliant but eccentric double narrative about two women, Miss Goering and Mrs. Copperfield, linked by friendship, but living out their separate stories in different places—a farmhouse on Long Island and what’s supposed to be a holiday in Panama, chiefly—surrounded by unlikely new companions. Bowles, like Muriel Spark, is a tragicomic genius; the novel is an existentialist exploration of what it might mean, for each of these two women, to live authentically, which proves a challenging project.

How Should a Person Be?

Sheila Heti’s “novel from life” about the author as a young woman/artist figuring herself out is, like Bowles’ fiction, an existential undertaking. Central to the work and perhaps most memorable in it is the intense friendship between Sheila and her artist friend Margaux: two creative women who love and respect one another, working in different disciplines, honest even in their less appealing attributes, attempting to articulate what their work is and why it matters, as well as their ambitions/pretensions/illusions about that work.

Cat’s Eye

This remains for me one of the most intimately powerful novels about the complications of girls’ friendship and how the dynamics unfold over time. Elaine Risley, an artist, recalls her often painful childhood relationships with Grace, Carol, and the charismatic but venomous Cordelia. Her story will surely strike a chord with many female readers. Margaret Atwood deploys her remarkable ability to evoke the uncanny and the sinister, and the novel is, like Cordelia herself, haunting.

Neapolitan Novels

This gripping tetralogy about the lifelong friendship between Lenù and Lila, two working class girls from Naples, by now needs no introduction. Its portrayal of the pain and rivalrous complication of the girls’ intimacy is as affecting as its depiction of their abiding loyalty and love; and Elena Ferrante’s great triumph lies in her ability to weave into the women’s personal stories many of the broader social themes of their times—political, social, philosophical, and literary. If not always an elegant stylist, Ferrante is a remarkable storyteller, and these books are enormously compelling.

Claire Messud is a recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Author of six previous works of fiction including her most recent novel, The Burning Girl, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her family.

Librarian's Choice

Librarians' Choice: top 10

Librarians’ Choice has announced the Top 10 titles for September 2017 that librarians across Australia love. You can request or wish for the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the Librarians’ Choice site.

If you are a librarian in Australia, you can nominate titles for the Librarians’ Choice list via NetGalley!


Top Ten Books from the UK – October

As we inch closer to Christmas, big name authors jostle with the names of the future in our October roundup. There is a wide variety here – from celebrity autobiography to the best in literary fiction, from chilling crime to romance – so find your perfect winter read while the nights are still light!

Book of the Month

After the Fire
Henning Mankell
Harvill Secker
UK Edition
US Edition

When Henning Mankell died in late 2015, the literary world was robbed of one of its most celebrated and prolific writers. His Wallander novels were international bestsellers, and often considered some of the best crime novels in recent memory. After the Fire is Mankell’s final novel, a compelling conclusion to a body of work few can rival.

Retired doctor Fredrik Welin lives a solitary life on a secluded Swedish island. It is a quiet life; quiet until he is woken in the night to find his house on fire. His possessions destroyed and his house in ruins, Fredrik must uncover the truth of the fire – if someone started it, who? And for what reason?

Two Kinds of Truth
Michael Connelly
UK Edition

The hugely successful television adaptation of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels has given the detective a huge new audience – and Two Kinds of Truth is the perfect example of why the book is even better than the screen. Harry is squeezed by the past and the present as a current murder investigation leads to the dangerous world of Big Pharma, while a killer from Bosch’s past claims Harry framed him. The two cases push Harry to the limit in his quest for the truth. But whose truth is it?

How to be Champion
Sarah Millican
UK Edition

In a few short years, Sarah Millican has become one of the UK’s most popular and beloved comedians. Her observational, quietly acerbic and utterly distinctive style has been filling arenas up and down the country, and now fills the pages of her hilarious and often moving memoir. Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, Millican’s wry portrait of herself is a mine of comedy gold and How to be Champion is sure to be a big bestseller.

Mirror, Mirror
Cara Delevingne
UK Edition

Cara Delevingne is often considered the voice of her generation, and this first novel – written with bestselling writer Rowan Coleman – shows her understanding of the struggles and pitfalls of growing up. Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits, but their band, Mirror, Mirror, holds them together. That is until Naomi is pulled unconscious from the river. The police claim it was a suicide attempt, but her friends aren’t convinced. A powerful coming-of-age story for fans of We Were Liars and The Girls.

Don't Wake Up
Liz Lawler
Worldwide Edition

Already attracting a huge buzz around it on NetGalley, Don’t Wake Up is shaping to become one of the big breakout thrillers of 2017 – but be warned, it is not for the faint of heart. Doctor Alex Taylor remembers going to meet her boyfriend, Patrick, after shift, but nothing more. So why is she on operating table? And what does the man who is not a doctor want with her? And why when she wakes again is there no evidence of the violence he has committed? Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, Alex begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind. And then she meets the next victim…

Edward St Aubyn
UK Edition
US Edition
CA Edition

Edward St Aubyn’s Melrose novels – soon to be a television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch – cemented him as one of England’s finest prose stylists. Dunbar, his retelling of King Lear, shows all his panache and precision, in a novel of intense and brooding tension. Henry Dunbar has retired and left the family firm to his daughters. It is a decision he soon comes to regret, living out his days in a home with only an alcoholic comedian for company. Modernising any Shakespeare drama is always a fraught business, but Dunbar is an unsettling, powerful and an unqualified success.

Hortense and the Shadow
Natalia & Lauren O'Hara
UK Edition

There are some picture books which transcend their intended market; books that can delight anyone of any age. Hortense and the Shadow is one such book, a beautifully illustrated, beautifully told tale that is both timeless and timely. Hortense hates her shadow. Everywhere she goes, it follows. Everything she does, it does too. And every time night falls it grows tall and dark and crooked. But when Hortense decides her shadow must go, she finds herself alone in the wolfish woods. An exquisite fable of gothic imagination, this is essential reading for everyone who loves fairy stories.

Fresh Complaint
Jeffrey Eugenides
4th Estate
UK Edition

There are few writers who can create real excitement when a new book arrives – but Jeffrey Eugenides is certainly one of them. His masterpieces, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, are two of the most celebrated novels of the last 25 years, and this new work of fiction shows him to be a master of the short story, as well as the long form. Beautifully written, original and always unusual, Fresh Complaint is a wholly satisfying read – even if you don’t usually get on with stories.

Seven Days of Us
Francesca Hornak
UK Edition

With enthusiastic endorsements from the likes of Marian Keyes, Adele Geras and Rosamund Lupton, this Christmas-set family drama is poised to become a must-read festive treat. The Birch family come together in Norfolk to celebrate Christmas. But when aid worker Olivia is told she needs to stay in quarantine, the whole family are forced to stay home for a week together. No one can leave, no one can enter. And that’s when the secrets begin to emerge…

The Ninth Hour
Alice McDermott
UK Edition
US Edition

Alice McDermott is one of America’s most compassionate and engaging writers, her stories of Irish-American life full of life, exuberance, tragedy and conflict. The Ninth Hour follows three generations of a family during the middle of the 20th Century in Brooklyn, their lives bound by the suicide of father Jim. His actions on that fateful day will have ramifications for all, testing the limit of their love, forgiveness and hope. An astonishing novel of power, subtly and grace.

News from NetGalley

NetGalley seeking a proactive, enthusiastic part-time Communications Assistant!


Are you passionate about the book publishing industry? Goal oriented, and strategy-driven? NetGalley is looking for a part-time Communications Assistant to maintain important client-facing communications and brand strategy. Find out more about NetGalley at

This role will assist the International Account Director, and also provide assistance with client-relationship building as assigned.


The ideal candidate is a publishing-industry insider with marketing or publicity experience, or B2B brand marketing professional, with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills. Candidate is enthusiastic, professional, extremely organized, and highly detail-oriented; and is adept at prioritization, and juggling multiple tasks.

The perfect candidate will have a knack for creating public-facing content and be comfortable representing the company’s voice and values online, and potentially in-person. Excellent writing skills and tone are a must—friendly, informative, confident, expert. The perfect candidate is a motivated self-starter, in addition.

Familiarity with NetGalley, and the publishing industry is strongly preferred; otherwise, hands-on experience working in a marketing or publicity capacity in any B2B industry is expected.

The NetGalley team is virtual, but we work on an East Coast schedule and many of us are based around NYC. Specific hours will be set when an offer is made, but they will be between 9am-5pm EST, Monday-Friday. This employee will need a home office and to be able to work very effectively in an independent setting. There will be occasional travel to team meetings.

We’re looking for someone available to start immediately, and work 20 hours a week.

You must be:

  • A friendly and professional people-person
  • Able to write well and quickly, especially: engaging professional marketing and publicity tips, detailed announcements about the NetGalley service, and how-to documents
  • Interested to learn and grow by attending professional development events for marketers and publicists, and staying on top of trends and services in the publishing industry
  • Consistent at meeting deadlines within a fast-paced environment
  • Able to work and manage your time independently
  • Comfortable working with a virtual team

We’d appreciate:

  • Publishing or other book-industry background or education, or brand marketing experience
  • A big fan of reading digitally and interest in the overall book publishing industry
  • Experience using cloud-based project- and client-management services like Smartsheet and Confluence
  • Basic familiarity with the NetGalley site and concept


Ability to work remotely from your home office, while gaining invaluable insight into the book publishing industry, specifically fostering client relationships tied to this data- and results-driven market. Plus, you will work with a group of truly amazing and creative people!

How to apply:

Please use this online form to submit your resume, cover letter (brief introduction and how you fit into the description above), and writing sample. Writing sample should be informational in nature, and preferably demonstrating a B2B audience. We look forward to hearing from you!

NetGalley ( is an industry-standard service to help readers of influence discover and recommend new books to their audiences. NetGalley delivers secure, digital galleys to professional readers on behalf of over 300 publishers in North America, Australia, the UK, France, Germany and Japan, to help promote and market new books. NetGalley is part of Firebrand Technologies ( which provides leading software and services to help publishers achieve success.


Cover Love

We’ve rounded up covers we love, and we hope you will too. We’ve also gathered all of your cover votes from this month, and your most loved cover is…The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse!

Click on each cover to read the full description, request (or wish for) the title, and “Like” the cover if you haven’t already. If you’ve read these titles, don’t forget to share feedback with the publisher and with your friends & followers.

Tell us in the comments below which covers you’re loving right now &
they could be included in next month’s edition!