The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Contemporary Picks (January)

Estelle here! Hope all of you have dove into some good reading already this year. I just completed my fourth book last night and so far so good. But I’ve heard some murmurings on Twitter and even just my own about finding some good adult contemporary books to try out this year. If you remember from my Bookish Resolutions, I want to concentrate on broadening my horizons when it comes to book selection. So I finally decided to take advantage of the stack of Publisher Weekly magazines I see every day at work and never open, and scout out some of the reads that I’m most looking forward to. I’m hoping to make this a monthly feature. And by all means, if any of you have any suggestions — old or new — please feel free to comment. You know we just can’t get enough of books around here. (Seriously, M and I have a major addiction going on.)

How It All Began by Penelope Lively
Release Date: January 5, 2012
Why it caught my attention: I love a book set in London and the idea of how one act can affect unrelated folks.

Amazon description:

When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true; an old-guard historian tries to recapture his youthful vigor with an ill-conceived idea for a TV miniseries; and a middle-aged central European immigrant learns to speak English and reinvents his life with the assistance of some new friends.

Through a richly conceived and colorful cast of characters, Penelope Lively explores the powerful role of chance in people’s lives and deftly illustrates how our paths can be altered irrevocably by someone we will never even meet. Brought to life in her hallmark graceful prose and full of keen insights into human nature, How It All Began is an engaging, contemporary tale that is sure to strike a chord with her legion of loyal fans as well as new readers. A writer of rare wisdom, elegance, and humor, Lively is a consummate storyteller whose gifts are on full display in this masterful work.  (Amazon | Goodreads)

Spin: A Novel by Catherine McKenzie
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Why it caught my attention: My husband and I just got done watching a Parks and Recreation episode where one of the characters showed up drunk to an interview. It made me think of this.

Description from Amazon:

Kate’s To-Do List:

  • Go to rehab
  • Befriend/spy on “It Girl”
  • Write killer expose
  • Land dream job
  • Piece of cake!

When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line, it’s the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate—and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It’s no surprise that she doesn’t get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she’d be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow “It Girl” Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop—and complete the thirty-day program—they’ll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she’ll have to pay. (Amazon | Goodreads)

The Lost Daughter by Lucy Ferriss
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Why it caught my attention: Who doesn’t like to read about secrets and old boyfriends?

Goodreads description:

Brooke O’Connor — elegant, self-possessed, and kind — has a happy marriage and a deeply loved young daughter. So her adamant refusal to have a second child confounds her husband, Sean. When Brooke’s high school boyfriend Alex — now divorced and mourning the death of his young son — unexpectedly resurfaces, Sean begins to suspect an affair. 

For fifteen years Brooke has kept a shameful secret from everyone she loves. Only Alex knows the truth that drove them apart. His reappearance now threatens the life she has so carefully constructed and fortified by denial. With her marriage — and her emotional equilibrium — at stake, Brooke must confront what she has been unwilling to face for so long. 

But the truth is not what Brooke believes it to be. (Amazon | Goodreads)

Other Waters: a Novel by Eleni N. Gage
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Why it caught my attention: Reminded me of a Jhumpa Lahiri book (like The Namesake) – which I normally love.

Description from Amazon:

Maya is an accomplished psychiatry resident with a terrific boyfriend, loving family, and bustling New York social life. When her grandmother dies in India, a family squabble over property results in a curse that drifts across continents and threatens Maya’s life. Or so her father says– Maya (being a modern woman, an American, and a doctor) doesn’t believe in curses, Brahman, or otherwise. But when her father suffers a heart attack, her sister miscarries, and her career and relationship both start to falter, Maya starts to worry. A trip back to India with her best friend Heidi, Maya reasons, will be just what’s needed to remove the curse, save her family, and to put her own life back in order. Thus begins a journey into Maya’s parallel world– an India filled with loving and annoying relatives, vivid colors, and superstitious customs–a cross-cultural, transcontinental search to for a chance to find real love. (Amazon | Goodreads)

These Days are Ours by Michelle Haimoff
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Why it caught my attention: I’m a sucker for a NYC setting plus I’ve been reading many 9/11-focused novels lately.

Description from Amazon:

Six months after September 11th, New Yorkers are instructed to get on with their lives despite the terror advisories, streets filled with 9/11 merchandise, and mail that may contain Anthrax.

But for Hailey, still jobless after college and living in her family’s Fifth Avenue penthouse, getting on with life means getting closer to Michael Brenner, the Princeton graduate and future human rights lawyer who seems to have it all. The city feels as if it’s on the brink of apocalypse, and seeking out any sort of future seems pointless. So Hailey and her friends – Katie, already working at Morgan Stanley; Randy, a trust-fund kid who wears sweaters with holes in them; and Jess, confident of her future success regardless of her present inertia – stay out all night, dream up get rich quick schemes and aspire to greatness while questioning how much that greatness really matters.

But when Hailey meets Adrian, a transplanted Pennsylvanian and recent Brown graduate who doesn’t belong to Hailey’s privileged mileu, she begins to realize that her view of the world might not be the only one there is, and soon she is questioning everything she thought she knew. (Amazon | Goodreads)

8 thoughts on “The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Contemporary Picks (January)

  1. Book Chic says:

    Spin is on my TBR list as well since I got a random ARC of it. I also am looking forward to More Like Her by Liza Palmer (I have an ARC) and Meg Cabot’s upcoming new Heather Wells novel.

    • Estelle says:

      BC – Thanks for the comment! I just looked up More Like Her & people seem to really like it. I’m going to add it to my list too. I haven’t read any of Meg Cabot’s adult fiction yet but I’m going to have to look into it. (I should probably finish the Princess Diaries series first.) Thanks for the suggestions!!

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