What We’re Reading Now….

The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson

The Other Mrs Miller by Allison Dickson

This captivating domestic thriller leaves the reader questioning the motives of every character. Phoebe Miller, the only known heir to her father’s empire, seeks refuge in her mansion after her father’s darkest secrets hit the press. The burden of living with her father’s predatory legacy strains all aspects of her reality as she feels more isolated within the confines of her walls. After a new neighbor moves in and forges a friendship with the hermit Phoebe, things quickly escalate as secrets spiral into dark truths. Beth

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

A tense classic novel about attempted perfect murders. I loved Alfred Hitchcock’s contemporary adaptation of the thriller from 1951, so I was curious to read the source material. There are, of course, some changes in details such as character names and Guy’s profession. In the movie he’s a tennis player, but in the book he’s an architect. In both cases Guy is the upstanding character who is tormented and trapped by Bruno’s plan to swap murders when they meet on a train. Highsmith is excellent at describing the inner workings of her characters’ minds. The book builds and builds throughout with Bruno’s drunken childish manipulations and Guy covering up the crimes, so that you just wait for the consequences to catch up to them. Also the audio book is well made, if you like your books in that format. Byron

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

This is the story of Claude Auzello and his American wife Blanche Ross. They are playing hosts to Nazis that have taken over the Hotel Ritz during the German occupation of Paris in the 1940’s. Both husband and wife are separately and secretly participating in the French Resistance. Claude makes up affairs in order to leave his wife alone nights. Blanche pretends to spend her time drinking with friends. This is the fascinating tale of the little-known story of Blanche & Claude Auzello. Emma

Occult America : the Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped our Nation by Mitch Horowitz

Occult America: The Secret History of How…

In Mitch Horowitz’s Occult America readers are given a wide overview of New Thought and Mysticism in United States history and culture. Horowitz gives an accessible tone to a complicated history and how these different movements and faiths shaped the lives of leading figures. Additionally the author shows how many spiritual movements lead to icons of popular culture, like the Ouij Board. A well researched and well paced book that gathers the many threads of these many overlapping movements. Greg

Witches of America by Alex Mar

Witches of America by Alex Mar

Witches of America is a fascinating and often amusing memoir of Mar’s personal five-year exploration of modern Paganism in America. Her vantage point as a journalist and a self-described skeptic searching for her own faith make for a very approachable entry for readers such as myself, who know little to nothing about Wicca and it’s many subdivisions. Touching on Paganism’s roots in 1950s England, the first Wiccan covens in America, and the many magical societies existing today, Mar provides fascinating histories and context for contemporary readers. She visits Pagan gatherings in hotel convention centers, participates in massive circling rituals with hundreds of witches, and eventually decides to train in a coven herself. Though at times her tone comes off as slightly judgmental to me, overall this is an objective and intelligent look at Pagan religion and occult interests in the United States today. Nicole

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

At the beginning the reader meets Romy Hall, a 28 year old woman in prison facing down two consecutive life sentences. As the book advances we learn about Romy’s youth in San Francisco, her young son, Jackson, and the many difficult and disjointed relationships in her life. This is a hard story about prison life, and an equally unsettling story about Romy’s past. This book takes on hard topics of incarceration, foster care and poverty in urban dwellings. It’s a tough read but also an important read. Mary

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Two cousins take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise that promises to be paradise with entertainment for the grownups and activities and babysitting for the children, until they go ashore on an excursion in Central America and the kids go missing. Tempers and suspicions flair as the couples blame themselves and each other for not keeping the kids safe, but the seemingly helpless children discover strength and courage that no one knew they possessed. Sara

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