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Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting

Nobody ever talks to strangers on the train. It’s a rule. But what would happen if they did? From the New York Times bestselling author of The Authenticity Project, a heartwarming novel about unexpected friendships and the joy of connecting.

Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Bookworm and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do.

Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of Sanjay, a nurse, who gives him the Heimlich maneuver.

This single event starts a chain reaction, and an eclectic group of people with almost nothing in common except their commute discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more. It turns out that talking to strangers can teach you about the world around you—and even more about yourself.

The Wise Women

A witty and wildly enjoyable novel, set in New York City, about two adult daughters and their meddling advice columnist mother. Popular advice columnist Wendy Wise has been skillfully advising the women who write to her seeking help for four decades, so why are her own daughters’ lives such a mess? Clementine, the working mother of a six-year-old boy, has just discovered that she is actually renting the Queens home that she thought she owned, because her husband Steve secretly funneled their money into his flailing start-up. Meanwhile, her sister Barb has overextended herself at her architecture firm and reunited semi-unhappily with her cheating girlfriend.

When Steve goes MIA and Clementine receives an eviction notice, Wendy swoops in to save the day, even though her daughters, who are holding onto some resentments from childhood, haven’t asked for her help. But as soon as Wendy sets her sights on hunting down her rogue son-in-law, Barb and Clementine quickly discover that their mother has been hiding more than a few problems of her own. As the three women confront the disappointments and heartaches that have accumulated between them over the years, they discover that while the future may look entirely different from the one that they’ve expected, it may be even brighter than they’d hoped.

This Time Tomorrow

What if you could take a vacation to your past? On the eve of her fortieth birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, and her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But something is missing. Her father, the single parent who raised her, is ailing and out of reach. How did they get here so fast? Did she take too much for granted along the way? When Alice wakes up the next morning somehow back in 1996, it isn’t her sixteen-year-old body that is the biggest shock, or the possibility of romance with her adolescent crush. It’s her dad: the vital, charming, forty-nine-year-old version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, is there anything that she should do differently this time around? What would she change, given the chance?

The Good Left Undone

From Adriana Trigiani, “a master of visual and palpable detail” (The Washington Post), comes a lush, immersive novel about a hardworking family of Tuscan artisans with long-held secrets. Epic in scope and resplendent with the glorious themes of identity and belonging, The Good Left Undone unfolds in breathtaking turns.

Properties of Thirst

Fifteen years after the publication of Evidence of Things Unseen, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns with a novel destined to be an American classic: a sweeping masterwork set during World War II about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American Dream.

Mother Ocean Father Nation

A riveting, tender debut novel, following a brother and sister whose paths diverge—one forced to leave, one left behind—in the wake of a nationalist coup in the South Pacific.

The Mutual Friend

From the co-creator of How I Met Your Mother, a hilarious and thought-provoking comedy of manners set in New York City, following a sprawling cast of characters as they navigate life, love, loss, ambition, and spirituality—without ever looking up from their phones. It’s the summer of 2015, and Alice Quick needs to get to work. She’s twenty-eight years old, grieving her mother, barely scraping by as a nanny, and freshly kicked out of her apartment. If she can just get her act together and sign up for the MCAT, she can start chasing her dream of becoming a doctor . . . but in the Age of Distraction, the distractions are so distracting. There’s her tech millionaire brother’s religious awakening. His picture-perfect wife’s emotional breakdown. Her chaotic new roommate’s thirst for adventure. And, of course, there’s the biggest distraction of all: Love. From within the story of one summer in one young woman’s life, an epic tale is unearthed, spanning continents and featuring a tapestry of characters tied to one another by threads both seen and unseen. Filled with all the warmth, humor, and heart that gained How I Met Your Mother its cult following, The Mutual Friend captures in sparkling detail the chaos of contemporary life, a life lived simultaneously in two different worlds—the physical one and the one behind our screens—and reveals how connected we all truly are.

A Tiny Upward Shove

Marina Salles’s life does not end the day she wakes up dead. Instead, in the course of a moment, she is transformed into the stuff of myth, the stuff of her grandmother’s old Filipino stories—an aswang. She spent her life on the margins, knowing very little about her own life, let alone the lives of others; she was shot like a pinball through a childhood of loss, a veteran of Child Protective Services and a survivor, but always reacting, watching from a distance. Death brings her into the hearts and minds of those she has known—even her killer—as she is able to access their memories and to see anew the meaning of her own. In the course of these pages she traces back through her life, finally able to see what led these lost souls to this crushingly inevitable conclusion.

In A Tiny Upward Shove, Melissa Chadburn charts the heartbreaking journeys of two of society’s cast-offs as they find their way to each other and their roles as criminal and victim. What does it mean to be on the brink? When are those moments that change not only our lives but our very selves? And how, in this impossible world, can we rouse ourselves toward mercy?

Disorientation

Twenty-nine-year-old PhD student Ingrid Yang is desperate to finish her dissertation on the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou and never read about “Chinese-y” things again. But after four years of grueling research, she has nothing but anxiety and stomach pain to show for her efforts. When she accidentally stumbles upon a strange and curious note in the Chou archives, she convinces herself it’s her ticket out of academic hell. But Ingrid’s in much deeper than she thinks. Her clumsy exploits to unravel the note’s message lead to an explosive discovery, one that upends her entire life and the lives of those around her. With her trusty friend Eunice Kim by her side and her rival Vivian Vo hot on her tail, together they set off a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from campus protests and OTC drug hallucinations, to book burnings and a movement that stinks of “Yellow Peril” propaganda. As the events Ingrid instigated keep spiraling, she’ll have to confront her sticky relationship to white men and white institutions—and, most of all, herself. In this electrifying debut novel from a provocative new voice, Chou asks who gets to tell our stories—and how the story changes when we finally tell it ourselves.

These Impossible Things

A razor sharp debut novel of three best friends navigating love, sex, faith, and the one night that changes it all. It’s always been Malak, Kees, and Jenna against the world. Since childhood, under the watchful eyes of their parents, and countless aunties and uncles, they’ve learned to live their own lives alongside the expectations of being good Muslim women. Staying over at a boyfriend’s place is disguised as a best friend’s sleepover, and tiredness can be blamed on studying instead of partying. But as they grow older and the stakes of love and life grow higher, the three young women find this delicate balancing act between rebellion and religion increasingly difficult to navigate. As their lives begin to take different paths, Malak, Kees, and Jenna—now on the precipice of true adulthood—must find a way back to each other as they reconcile faith, family, and tradition with their own needs and desires. These Impossible Things is a paean to youth and female friendship—and to all the joy and messiness love holds.