After two decades in publishing, gay editor Will Schwalbe has written a bestseller: his memoir about his mother's final illness and the last novels they read together is The End of Your Life Book Club [Kindle].
Later this month, filming finally begins in Manhattan on an adaptation of Mark Helprin's magnificent modern classic Winter's Tale [Kindle only $3.99], about Peter Lake, a thief who lives above the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal and falls in love with a dying heiress named Beverly Penn. Now Helprin returns to a historical New York setting with this sprawling post-war romance, In Sunlight and in Shadow [Kindle].
Prolific and frequently queer-inclusive novelist Louise Erdrich wrote The Round House [Kindle] while battling breast cancer, which may or may not explain the book's special urgency and tenderness. It's told by an older, wiser Joe Coutts looking back to the summer he was thirteen and trying to solve the mystery of who attacked his mother. Eagle-eyed readers will see that the similarities between him and To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout go beyond his surname. I liked it much more than her recent Pulitzer finalist The Plague of Doves but not as much as my favorite, The Master Butchers Singing Club [new paperback $6]. At this point, you can't be a serious reader of American literature and be completely unfamiliar with Erdrich's work.
IMPAC winner Per Petterson, author of the quiet little stunner Out Stealing Horses, has a barely fictional alter ego named Arvid Jansen whom you've met in other novels. It's Fine By Me explores his childhood friendship with a bookish dork named Audin who refuses to remove his sunglasses in their school in Oslo and spends his afternoons talking about Jack London and Hemingway.
Nine-time Eisner winner Chris Ware, whose name you may not know but whose style you instantly recognize from his many New Yorker covers, releases his long-awaited new book, Building Stories, which is no book at all. I don't say that because it's a graphic novel; I say it because it's not a book. It's an enormous box, half-filled with fourteen strips, pamphlets, brouchures, chapbooks, and posters, that retails for $50. I bought it online for $30. I started and stopped. I'll go back. It's about four semi-depressed people living the same building in Chicago. The geeks are having mega orgasms. The Telegraph: "a work of startling genius." St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "a stunning success... awe-inspiring."