Enjoy these four recommendations from our friends at Bookish, Fort Smith, Arkansas’s only independently owned bookstore.
by Louise Kennedy
Cushla is a teacher by day and works at the family’s pub at night. Set in Northern Ireland during the troubles, Cushla is used to the daily reports of violence and often puts herself in harm’s way to protect her students, but she finds herself in love with an older, married man – who also happens to spend his days defending IRA members in court. This is a book of passion, turmoil, place, and how sometimes, where we are from matters more than the things we hold dear.
Don’t Cry for Me
by Daniel Black
The Arkansas Center for the Book made this epistolary novel an Arkansas Gem in 2022. It is the story of Jacob, a father who is dying and writing letters to his only son, Isaac. Through the letters, we discover their Arkansas ancestors that extended into slavery, the relationship with Isaac’s mother, and other tragedies that formed their tumultuous relationship. However, Jacob is finding peace, and Black’s book becomes one of acceptance and healing.
Learning to Talk
by Hilary Mantel
This is a collection of short stories by the late Hilary Mantel that is loosely autobiographical. They are mostly centered on her childhood in England in the 1950s and the young narrators allow Mantel to create a lighter touch while carving out childhood experiences most readers will be able to connect to. Through the tales, Mantel covers heritage, grief, identity, and language. It is warm and hopeful, and each story is a sweet morsel of truth.
We Are the Light
by Matthew Quick
Fiction is putting regular people in impossible situations, and that’s exactly what Quick does in his newest book. While Lucas Goodgame grieves the loss of his wife, he finds a young man – who has been ostracized by the community – camping out in his backyard. Rather than calling the police, the two join forces and embark on a journey that will change lives in their community and heal their own hearts. This is an uplifting read and perfect for the last leg of winter.