While January can find folks counting calories, there’s no need to curb readers’ appetites for big servings of tempting titles. Our January large print picks are five delicious tales that explore maternal ties, intriguing lives, and “what if” scenarios. From a “love letter to mothers and grandmothers” (Fight Night) to an “homage to horror and revenge and triumph” (My Heart Is a Chainsaw), Thorndike Press consistently presents fresh, acclaimed titles that readers devour to satisfy cravings, guilt-free!
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
Amazon Best Book
“A meditative tribute to books, libraries, and Zen wisdom.”
A boy who hears the voices of objects all around him, a mother drowning in her possessions, and a book that might hold the secret to saving them both—a brilliantly inventive new novel from the Booker Prize finalist Ruth Ozeki.
With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz to climate change to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki—bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane, and heartbreaking.
Fight Night by Miriam Toews
Indie Next Pick
“Nobody writes books like Miriam Toews―you feel her characters down to the bone, and she can straddle the horrific to the humorous across a single sentence. Fight Night is a hymn to women fighting for themselves and their families.”
—New York Public Library, Staff Pick
Swiv’s grandma, Elvira, has been fighting all her life. From her upbringing in a strict religious community, she has fought those who wanted to take away her joy, her independence, and her spirit. She has fought to make peace with her loved ones when they have chosen to leave her. And now, even as her health fails, Grandma is fighting for her family: for her daughter, partnerless and in the third term of a pregnancy, and for her granddaughter Swiv, a spirited nine-year-old who has been suspended from school. Cramped together in their Toronto home, on the precipice of extraordinary change, Grandma and Swiv undertake a vital new project: setting out to explain their lives in letters they will never send.
Alternating between the exuberant, precocious voice of young Swiv and her irrepressible, tenacious grandma, Fight Night is a love letter to mothers and grandmothers, and to all the women who are still fighting―painfully, ferociously―for a way to live on their own terms.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
“[A] radiant adult debut . . . The magic is vivid and yet familiar, and adds to the urgency of the plot . . . [An] inspired and entertaining blend of magical realism and fantasy.”―Publishers Weekly
The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—not for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed into a ceiba tree, leaving them with more questions than answers.
Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a “spellbinding tale, both timeless and fresh, that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”
I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
Best Book of the Year ―NPR and Kirkus
Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2021 by the New York Times, USA Today, and more!
Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert, where she grew up, she meets her ghosts at every turn: the first love whose self-destruction still haunts her; her father, a member of the most famous cult in American history; her mother, whose native spark gutters with every passing year. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right, but what exactly is her way forward? Alone in the wilderness, at last she begins to make herself at home in the world.
My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
“Horror fans [will] be blown away by this audacious extravaganza.” —Publishers
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“This extraordinary novel is an essential purchase.”—Kirkus, starred Review
Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies—especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.
Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges—a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange
New York Times Bestseller
“In Lange’s accomplished debut . . . she keeps all of the Brennans sizzling with humanity while they grapple with familial loyalty. Fans of intense family dramas are in for a treat.”—Publlishers Weekly
When 29-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk-driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all―and her high school sweetheart―five years before with little explanation, and they’ve got questions.
Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the East Coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets―secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes―and ultimately find a way forward—together.
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