Books to read in the new year

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Looking for new books to read as you ring in the new year? The folks at E Shaver Bookseller have plenty of ideas to help you out, regardless of the genre you’re interested in.

“The Lyrics: 1956 to Present” by Paul McCartney

Published in two volumes that can be bought together, “The Lyrics” tells the stories behind the songs sung by Paul McCartney before, during and after his time with The Beatles.

“It’s just a beautifully done book,” Melissa Taylor said in an interview on Wednesday.  Taylor is one of the owners of E Shaver Bookseller.

Jessica Osborne, the other owner of E Shaver, agreed. She recommended reading it while watching Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” documentary series.

“The Paper Palace: A Novel” by Miranda Cowley Heller

“It’s a wonderful story about the traumas we encounter in life and how we live through all of them,” Osborne said.

This novel is about a 24 hour period where the main character, named Elle, must choose between the life she has made for herself and the life she always dreamed of. Elle, 50 years old, married and a mother of three, must grapple with the love she holds for her husband and that which she has always held for her oldest friend.  

“Station Eleven” and “The Glass Hotel” by Emily St. John Mandel

“If you haven’t read ‘Station Eleven’ and ‘The Glass Hotel’, now is the time to read them,” Said Osborne.

“Station Eleven” is set in a world where civilization has collapsed. A travelling crew of former Hollywood stars roam what was once the Great Lakes Region. Meanwhile, “The Glass Hotel” is also a work of fiction but this time in a completely different setting. Readers will be confronted with the horrors of greed as they follow the story of a bartender named Vincent.

Mandel has a new book coming out called “Sea of Tranquility” in April of 2022 and if readers start now, Taylor is sure they’ll be ready for the next one by the time it is released. While Osborne and Taylor say it isn’t totally necessary to read the first two books to understand the next one, they recommend it.

“Matrix” by Lauren Groff

“Matrix” follows the fictionalized story of Marie de France, a 17-year-old who was cast off to England by her family to become a prioress of an abbey. She soon sees that the nuns at the abbey are living in squalor and quickly decides that she will protect them at all costs.

This book was named NPR’s “Best Book of 2021” and it’s a hit for Osborne as well.

“It’s one of my favorite books from this year,” She said.

“Between Two Kingdoms: A memoir of life interrupted” by Suleika Jaouad

This New York Times bestselling memoir is about a young woman who moves to Paris the summer after she graduated from college. However, thinks quickly took a turn for the worst whenever Jaouad started to develop mysterious symptoms. Soon, at 22 she learned the reason why: leukemia. This memoir follows her journey from that point and onward as she fought to heal physically and emotionally from this traumatic situation.

“It’s beautifully written,” Taylor said,  “A sometimes sad but very uplifting book about someone’s experience with cancer.”

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune

This novel is about a character named Linus Baker who worlks at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is summoned to determine if a group of six children living in an orphanage will bring about the end times. Taylor described the book as a fantasy novel with threads of Harry Potter.

“Read this if you want something that’s just delightful and when you finish it you’ll just sigh happily,” Taylor said.

“The Final Girl Support Group” by Grady Hendrix

This novel by the bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires explores what it means to be a “final girl,” a lone survivor. The horror novel does so through the experiences of the character Lynnette Tarkington who survived a massacre 22 years before the novel began.

“He kind of walks the line of horror with some humor thrown in,” Osborne said.

“Call Us What We Carry,” by Amanda Gorman

This is the first full length collection of poetry that Amanda Gorman has released since she spoke at the inauguration of President Biden in January.  This collection includes “The Hill We Climb,” a poem that Gorman read at the inauguration.

“I think she just has a unique perspective that’s just right on it right now,” Taylor said.

“Renegades: Born in the USA” by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen

Based on their podcast by the same name, this is as much a book as it is a conversation between two friends about the complexities of life. Osborne said that this is the kind of book that you don’t read in one sitting, but slowly make your way through over time.

“It’s nice to just read one conversation and then you can go back later and read another,” Osborne said.

“The 1619 Project: A new origin story” by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Originally presented as a series of essays in the 1619 Project issue of The New York Times Magazine in 2019, the 1619 Project was published as an anthology in November of 2021. Annie Childress, an employee at E Shaver, stressed its importance in the national conversation surrounding America’s history and ongoing struggle with racism.

“It’s a compilation of nonfiction research, poetry and fiction all put together by African American voices,” Childress said. “A lot of it is very upsetting because of the subject matter it deals with but it is brilliantly done.”

Taylor said that the anthology is selling well and the three agreed that they hoped more people would read it.

These books are all available at E Shaver Bookseller at 326 Bull Street and on their website which can be found here.

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