October is National Reading Group Month, and while many libraries are in full swing with their current book club activities, it is never too early to scout for the next crop of contenders. With their rich characterizations and highly discussable themes and issues, here are five books (four are debuts) to read now and to consider for your book group once they hit paperback.
- The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Harper) Lyrical writing illuminates the story of an orchard-man, the girls he saves, and the danger they face in a beautifully realized Pacific Northwest landscape.
- Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Harcourt) Narrative nonfiction makes for great book group reading. When you combine Egan’s skill with a subject as rich as this it cannot help but lead to fascinating discussion.
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (Ecco: HarperCollins) The human toll of war and the way soldiers are packaged to the media are explored in this fierce, sharp, and funny indictment.
- Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer (St. Martin’s) Astounding writing meets astounding characterization in a story about a woman dealing with the most mundane and horrible aspects of life.
- The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Scribner) In this character-rich novel, a veteran of World War I takes refuge at a remote lighthouse in Western Australia, where his wife finds a baby, decides to keep her, and sets forth unimagined consequences.