Saturday, December 10, 2022

The Boswellians' Top 5 Books of 2022 - Part Two

Today, we'll feature our buyer's top five picks of the year. They spend all year making decisions about how many copies of this and that book to stock on our shelves and which books to feature. We trust their taste. We think you will, too.
First it's Jason, who buys the books for grown folks.

#1 Hawk Mountain by Connor Habib. An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder. Jason says: "Todd, a high school teacher and single Dad, runs into Jack; his high school bully. Todd is hesitant to interact with him, but his son really takes to Jack. Remembering his high school days, Todd begins to seethe with pent-up emotions and feelings. His ex-wife is attempting to get a hold him (she misses her son and wants to reconnect), Jack reminds him of the humiliations and uncomfortable situations of the past, and his son is bonding with the man who made his life miserable. It's all too much, and what comes next is dark and horrific but only takes a moment. The spiral of the story whips the reader down and down until the final resting place is revealed in all its shocking and damaged depths. Hawk Mountain consumed me with its brutality and wonder."

#2 River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard. Jason says: "Candace Millard delves into the history of the expeditions of Burton and Speke as they try to discover the source of the White Nile. The logistics were mind-boggling, and the amount of supplies and the number of people it took to make the trek seemed like overkill - until it wasn't. And then the food began to run out. The amount of illness and its severity visited upon everyone made me wonder what form of insanity these explorers had to have suffered. The individual personalities and vistas are fascinating. Candace Millard follows the fortunes of these two British fellows along with Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was brought in to handle working with local African groups. Bombay is the real reason this expedition didn't fail spectacularly as the two Europeans worked against each other. Another great historical adventure that opens our eyes to an era that I just don't understand anymore but found amazing."

#3 The Boy and the Dog by Seishu Hase, translated by Alison Watts. The tale of one dog's journey through Japan after the 2013 tsumani. Jason says: "In this novel, we follow Tamon, a dog displaced by the earthquake and resulting Tsunami that hit Japan in 2013. Each section he has a new person who needs to help Tamon and also needs Tamon's help. Seishu Hase has written a tale about the hard journey it takes to come back from tragedy, the sacrifice and will, and the knowledge that what’s happened will never be erased, but family helps."

#4 The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Naylor. A near-future thriller about the nature of consciousness, this book is a dazzling literary debut and a mind-blowing dive into the treasure and wreckage of humankind’s legacy. The NYTimes says: "Alert, intelligent, open." And how about this, from Jeff Vandermeer: "The Mountain in the Sea is a first-rate speculative thriller, by turns fascinating, brutal, powerful, and redemptive. The book poses profound questions about artificial and nonhuman intelligence, and its answers are tantalizing and provocative."

#5 Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles. This book offers a riveting deep dive into a journalist's obsession: the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness and a new theory of who might have done it. John Grisham says: "​A beautifully written account of a great American tragedy - the unsolved murders of an undetermined number of young women, all by the same serial killer, who got away. The truth is still buried. I couldn’t put it down." Intimate, page-turning, and brilliantly reported, Trailed is a love story and a call to justice, and a searching and urgent plea to make wilderness a safe space for women, destined to become a true crime classic.

And next we've got Jen, who buys the books for kids.

# 1 Ithaca by Claire North. A daring reimagining that gives voice to the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. Jen says: "How do I even begin to write a rec?! Simply put, Ithaca is one of the best Greek myth retellings I have ever read! Hera, Mother Goddess, Goddess of Queens tells the story that only women tell and poets will ignore, the story of Penelope, Queen of Ithaca. Watch the mortals cry, grieve, rage, and love along with Hera. Penelope is so much more than what the poets have told us; she is strength, grace, brilliance, and cunning. Claire North delivers an elegant novel of epic proportions that will take your breath away."

#2 Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Malibu Rising and Daisy Jones & The Six. Jen says: "A riveting, fast-paced, and enthusiastic look at the world of tennis through the eyes of Carrie Soto, the world's finest athlete. It's been five years since Carrie Soto retired as the reigning champion of women's tennis, and it's all about to be taken away by powerhouse Nicki Chan. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Carrie decides to step back onto the court to remind everyone who the world's greatest player is. Taylor Jenkins Reid delivers a gripping comeback novel with a fierce character you will be rooting for until the very last page. A must read!"

#3 How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz. Jen says: "Cara Romero wants to work. After being laid off at the factory, Cara meets with a job counselor to help her find a new job. Told through 12 counseling sessions, Cara shares her life's story: from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights, through marriage and motherhood, family, friends, lovers, and faith. Insightful, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water is a new favorite! Grab your favorite cafe and settle in, Cara Romero is a character you will not forget."

#4 Even Though I Knew the End by CL Polk. A fantastical noir that dives into the affairs of Chicago's divine monsters. Jen says: "Helen Brandt’s time is almost up. Instead of heading west with her gal, she’s pulled into one last case, a mystery only she can solve. The White City Vampire is striking fear into the hearts of Chicagoans and Helen may have to make a deal with a devil. Even Though I Knew the End is a clever, supernatural, and suspenseful noir making you wish you didn’t know the end!"

#5 Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon. The self-appointed mayor of a tiny Italian village is determined to save his hometown no matter the cost in this charming, hilarious, and heartwarming debut novel. People magazine writes: "A charming farce that highlights the triumph of hope and community in an often unforgiving world." And from the starred Publishers Weekly review: "[A] sparkling, hilarious debut… Simon’s wit pervades every pages, with colorful portrayals of Speranza and the town’s quirky inhabitants. This triumphant farce is a gem."

More top 5's coming tomorrow!

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