Featured Fiction Author

Book Cover Image. Title: Schroder:  A Novel, Author: Amity Gaige

Schroder

Amity Gaige

I picked this novel up at a Barnes & Noble store on the Baltimore Waterfront while I was touring for the paperback edition of The Sandcastle Girls, and it was a great companion on regional jets and Amtrak trains. It kept me company for two hours on the tarmac in St. Louis. It gripped me as a dad of a daughter and it haunted me as a spouse. It is beautifully written, authentic and, best of all, surprising. Buy Now

Book Cover Image. Title: The Golem and the Jinni, Author: Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni

Helene Wecker

You think a relationship is complicated when a woman is from Venus and a man is from Mars? Trust me, that's a piece of cake compared with the hurdles that a modest golem and a mercurial jinni face when they fall in love. After all, a golem is a monster made of clay -- the cool earth -- and a jinni is a creature born of fire. And in Helene Wecker's charming first novel, their relationship is tested by a megalomaniacal Bedouin wizard, the golem's evil creator, and all the enticements that Manhattan can offer a couple of curious immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. I can't make this stuff up. Fortunately, Wecker can. Buy Now

Book Cover Image. Title: Help for the Haunted, Author: John Searles

Help for the Haunted

John Searles

I read this novel as a galley and was mesmerized. (It goes on sale in September.) Searles, whose previous novels include Boy Still Missing and Strange but True, has given us something absolutely wonderful: A coming-of-age tale that is poignant and touching ... and will scare the living hell out of you. I loved every single page of this book. I loved the two sisters and the story and the lush, atmospheric, page-turning mystery. I just may never go downstairs into my basement again. Buy Now

Book Cover Image. Title: Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Author: Karen Russell

Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Karen Russell

This is a collection of short stories and I really don't read many short stories. I'm more likely drawn to doorstops that have a novel hiding somewhere inside them. But I enjoyed Russell's 2011 novel, Swamplandia, so I gave this collection a chance -- and I'm glad I did. They're all a little quirky and more than a little disturbing: Humans are transformed into silkworms; the meaning of life for a lonesome teenager may exist in the objects that a seagull is hoarding in its nest; and, in a tale set among the Nebraska homesteaders in the 19th century, a windowpane anchors one boy's terrifying ride across the plains. Buy Now

Book Cover Image. Title: Room, Author: Emma Donoghue

Room

Emma Donoghue

This novel will always be a personal favorite of mine. The book is a force of nature: Harrowing, one moment, heartbreaking the next. I can think of few books that so powerfully convey the lengths we will go to as parents to keep our children safe. And that voice? Brilliant. This is a novel that gave me one whopper of an inferiority complex as a writer. Buy Now

Book Cover Image. Title: Les Miserables (Movie Tie-In), Author: Victor Hugo

Les Miserables (Movie Tie-In)

Victor HugoNorman DennyRobert Tombs

See what I mean what I said I read doorstops? I wasn't kidding. As a matter of fact, I just re-read this andiron of a novel -- all 1,463 pages. And I loved it. Sure, there was no Susan Boyle to surprise me with her lovely rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," and -- unlike in a classic "Seinfeld" -- there is no George Costanza to sing for us "Master of the House." But it is astonishing how closely the musical (and Tom Hooper's movie musical) follow the novel. Sure, Fantine isn't a blond and the endings differ slightly. But the novel is wise and moving -- and occasionally very funny. Not kidding. There's a reason this book is so beloved. Give it a chance. Buy Now