5 books to read next

Every year the Chicago Tribune hosts the Printer’s Row List Fest, bringing together authors, publishers, book stores and book lovers. Panel sessions, discussions and writers workshops, along with book stalls from book stores around the city, can keep you busy all weekend.

While at Printer’s Row Lit Fest last weekend I heard about a few books – including two debut novels from authors you may know from other works.

imageThe Sun in Your Eyes by Debra Shapiro

Written in the style of The Great Gatsby, with a periphery character doing the narration, Shapiro looks at how relationships with family, friends and ourselves evolved and change over time.

In the style of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, the narrator changes at times. We’re all used to this now though, right?

imageThe House Guest by Kim Brooks

Written in 1941 before the US is in World War II, but after an influx of Jews escaping Europe, Brooks looks at how people turn to, or turn their backs on each other. From immigrants to neighbors, how do we treat each other in times of dire need and political and social upheaval?

The book opens with a crowded subway platform being witness to a suicide, and rabbi trying to help and wondering why so many are turning away, or starring ahead blankly like nothing happened. National apathy being a theme throughout the book, readers will likely find ties today, and the political climate we are surrounded by.

imageBroken Ground by Karen Halverson Schreck

A recently widowed in East Texas during the Great Depression, Ruth gets a second chance, and a new start with a scholarship to college in California. Struggle doesn’t vanish though. Despite having to leave school she finds a place where she can still make a difference.

While working in a school teaching migrant children and farm workers, she learns many are being round up and deported back to Mexico. Even despite many being American citizens. Based on a true and rarely known piece of American history, Schrek places her character at the center of a story she learned about while researching her mother’s life in California at this time.

imageWhite Collar Girl by Renee Rosen

A lone female reporter at the Chicago Tribune in the 1950s, Rosen’s lead character, Jordan, has to fight to get real stories, when no one even wants her in the newsroom.

Moving from her column, White Collar Girl, on being a good secretary, to the front page means trusting a secret source inside the Mayor’s office. With a family mystery to chase down, and the opportunity to make the front page, Jordan may need to choose which story to go after.

imageAlice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

This isn’t new, and was actually Melanie Benjamin’s first book, but I found a copy at Printer’s Row Lit Fest and it’s been on my TBR list for awhile!

This piece of historical fiction centers on the tale of Alice who fell down the rabbit hole, and the real girl she was based on, and the woman she became.

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