Hi! I’m excited to share a few updates with you about what Book Of The Month Club is up to this month! First off—they’re getting ready for Mother’s Day with a collection of the best books for moms and a sweet offer: give a gift and get a free month for yourself!
Now for our May selections! From gripping thrillers to heartwarming stories of survival, there is a book for everyone this month. Months like these have me scratching my head trying to determine which book to pick. Luckily I already have a copy of Still Lives, but I am trying really hard to decide between the rest. Hope you love them.
❃ The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Recommended by Guest Judge Jaime King
I’m tempted to pick this one for selfish reasons; 1) My name is Aimee spelled the same way as the author. 2) I am a mother and I think I am doing pretty well at it (most of the time). 🙂
A night out — a few hours of fun.
What could possibly go wrong?
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
“The Perfect Mother is a gripping page-turner that explores the pressures of modern motherhood as well as a mother’s absolute worst nightmare. At once wonderfully nuanced and compulsively readable, it keeps you guessing at every moment, up until the very end. I could not be prouder to be bringing this thriller to the big screen.”—Kerry Washington
Some people are so good at making perfect look easy.
They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.
When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.
Though none of the other members in the group is close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days after Midas goes missing, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.
Unfolding over the course of thirteen fraught days and culminating in an exquisite and unexpected twist, The Perfect Mother is the perfect book for our times—a nuanced and addictively readable story that exposes the truth of modern mothers’ lives as it explores the power of an ideal that is based on a lie.
❃ The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Recommended by BOTM Editorial Director Siobhan Jones
From twice National Book Award–nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called “the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year” (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner’s work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. As James Wood said in The New Yorker, her fiction “succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive.”
“Kushner is going to be one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we’ll be needing in hard times to come. She is a novelist of the very first order.” —Robert Stone
“Kushner is a young master. I honestly don’t know how she is able to know so much and convey all of this in such a completely entertaining and mesmerizing way.” —George Saunders
❃ How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Recommended by author Taylor Jenkins Reid
I am in love with this beautiful cover! It would be a great addition to my bookshelf.
From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best―a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.
Praise for How to Walk Away:
“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” ―Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost
“If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away.” ―Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop
“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” ―Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love
“Sympathetic and refreshing!” ―Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man
“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” ―Jenny Lawson, bestselling author of Furiously Happy
❃ Small Country by Gaël Faye
Recommended by BOTM Judge Liberty Hardy
Already an international sensation and prize-winning bestseller in France, an evocative coming-of-age story of a young boy, a lost childhood and a shattered homeland.
‘I was born with this story. It ran in my blood. I belonged to it.’
Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expatriate neighborhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister Ana, is something close to paradise.
These are carefree days of laughter and adventure – sneaking Supermatch cigarettes and gorging on stolen mangoes – as he and his mischievous gang of friends transform their tiny cul-de-sac into their kingdom.
But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful existence will shatter when Burundi, and neighboring Rwanda, are brutally hit by civil war and genocide.
A novel of extraordinary power and beauty, Small Country describes an end of innocence as seen through the eyes of a child caught in the maelstrom of history. Shot through with shadows and light, tragedy and humor, it is a stirring tribute not only to a dark chapter in Africa’s past, but also to the bright days that preceded it
❃ Still Lives by Maria Hummel
Recommended by BOTM Readers Committee Member Sarah Bedwell
Fun fact…I received a copy of this one in the mail a few months back. It is on my nightstand ready to read. Can’t wait!
“Still Lives offers its readers that delicious combination of entertainment and brilliance. It’s at once profound and suspenseful, and while the plot kept me up nights (the ending had me gasping in surprise!), the book as a whole asks important questions about art and representation and how we, as a culture, objectify and endanger and victimize women. Maria Hummel has written a remarkable, relevant, and necessary novel.” ―Edan Lepucki, author of Woman No. 17 and the New York Times bestselling California
Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women―the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others―and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.
As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.
Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.
Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls on the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.
Set against a culture that often fetishizes violence, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.
Don’t forget about BOTM’s special intro offer! New members get a free book with code: YESPLZ. How it works: Members will pay $14.99 when they sign up for a subscription that will renew monthly. You’ll also receive a credit for a free book at the time of this transaction (redeemable at any time). Then you’ll be renewed at the end of your second month (unless you cancel).
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