Marie mostly reads novels, though she has been known to pick up a nonfiction title or biography from time to time. She enjoys fiction with intricate storylines and lots of suspense, as well as lush (and well-researched!!!) historical fiction, horror, and satire. A few of her favorite authors are Sarah Waters, Kurt Vonnegut, James Morrow, Christopher Moore, and Jasper Fforde.
The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
Paul Chowder, a poet whose personal life is not the best, is attempting to write the introduction to a poetry anthology. what follows is a novel full of quirky, smart humor along with a clear love of poetry.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Set in an apartment building in Paris, this novel follows the unlikely connection between the building’s concierge, Renee, and a sixteen-year-old genius named Paloma. Told with grace, intelligence, and elegant prose, and populated with well-realized characters.
The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell
If Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner had written a book about the zombie apocalypse, it might have been something like this story about a girl named Temple on the run in a future America beset by the undead. It’s an understated horror novel without too much gore–its power is in the connection the reader feels with Temple and her attempts to remain human in an inhuman world.
Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch
Three elderly brothers live an isolated existence on their primitive family farm in upstate New York, until the eldest suddenly dies. The police investigation into the death brings a questioning community into the remaining brothers’ lives, uncovering their history (and present) piece by piece.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
The laugh-out-loud funny diary of Bridget Jones: thirty years old, single, and navigating her way through jobs, neuroses, boyfriends, and several bottles of wine.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
When she was seven, Libby Day’s mother and two sisters were brutally murdered, and her brother Ben was sent to prison for the crimes on her testimony. Twenty-five years later she is contacted by a group that wants to free Ben–for a price, Libby agrees to uncover old memories to try to solve the crimes.
Bloodroot by Amy Greene
Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power to both heal and kill, this is a story about the legacies that haunt one family across generations from the Great Depression to today. The sense of place in this novel is amazing–Bloodroot Mountain and its inhabitants seem keenly real.
The Lecturer’s Tale by James Hynes
Nelson Humboldt, a visiting adjunct English lecturer at a prestigious university, discovers after a freak accident that he has a strange power–he can force his will on others with a touch of his finger. A Faustian tale that blends satire and horror.
Misery by Stephen King
A writer named Paul Sheldon is held captive by his psychotic number one fan, Annie Wilkes, after she pulls him from the wreckage of a car accident. A compelling and disturbing blend of psychological horror, survival horror, and the power of storytelling.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
A young girl discovers her father’s darkest secret and embarks on a journey to complete the quest he could not–to find history’s most legendary fiend, Dracula. Part literary thriller, part horror, and part suspense, this is a rich and absorbing book.
From Hell by Alan Moore
This graphic novel tells the story of Jack the Ripper, perhaps the most infamous man in the annals of murder. Detailing the events leading up to the Whitechapel killings and the cover-up that followed, From Hell is a meditation on the mind of a madman whose savagery and violence gave birth to the 2oth century.
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Charlie Asher has been recruited for an unpleasant but necessary job–Death. This book shines comic light on the undiscovered country we all eventually explore, and the results are hilarious and poignant.
The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow
Jennet Stearne’s father hangs witches for a living in Restoration England. But when she witnesses the unjust execution of someone close to her, she decides to make it her life’s mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act.
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
This compelling Gothic story, told through the eyes of three different characters, uncovers the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of fairytales.
The Late Mr. Shakespeare by Robert Nye
In an attic above a brothel in Restoration London, an old man named Pickleherring sits down to write the full story of his former friend, mentor, and master, William Shakespeare. A bawdy and wonderfully intelligent romp.
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
This graphic novel tells the story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father’s story and history itself.
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
This stunning and steamy novel chronicles the adventures of Nan King, a small-town girl at the turn of the century whose life takes a wild turn when she follows a local music hall star to London. Atmospheric with wonderful characters and period detail.