Enjoy these recommendations from our friends at Bookish, Fort Smith, Arkansas’ only independently owned bookstore located in The Bakery District.
Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
by Florence Williams
What this personal narrative about a woman going through divorce lacks in professional tone, it gains in variety of sciences. Divorce is different than grieving a loved one or getting over a childhood crush. Williams shares the misery of being rejected by someone to whom you are still deeply attached. Unlike many science-based books, she offers a chronological plot. We grow and heal alongside her. We see her kids learn to drive and we revisit data that was gathered in years one, two, and three. She is a special writer with the uncanny ability to pack a book full of research while making it accessible – even entertaining. Even if you’re not experiencing heartbreak, you’ll find her journey relatable.
The Connellys of County Down
by Tracey Lange
I love a good dysfunctional family story! This one begins as our protagonist is released from prison after serving eighteen months on a drug charge. Tara Connelly now must rebuild her life at thirty years old, and even her release from prison isn’t simple. Upon release, Tara moves in with her siblings, Tara and her older brother Eddie were raised by their older sister Geraldine when their mom died of cancer and their dad abandoned them. It’s the age-old story of families failing to communicate their feelings to the ones they love the most, but Lange puts a spin on it, that the Irish in all of us will appreciate.
by Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett is the darling of the literary world; her essays and novels have spotlighted the nuances in American families and relationships for decades. In her newest novel, and I think one of her very best, Lara Nelson tells the story of the time she was almost famous to her three grown daughters during COVID. While they’re all stuck together on the family farm, Lara and Joe’s present weaves in and out of the past. It’s a beautiful look at family and the choices we make, and it’s set in an idyllic cherry orchard in Tom Lake, Michigan. Fans of Our Town will enjoy the references to the play, and fans of great storytelling will enjoy the rest.
The Museum of Human History
by Rebekah Bergman
In her debut novel, Bergman takes our knowledge of fairy tales and weaves it into a story centered on a young girl in a comatose state. You know how Sleeping Beauty and Snow White slept soundly until a prince arrived? Well, this is like that, except there isn’t really a prince and Bergman’s speculative fiction asks readers to revisit existential questions like memory, time, and aging. As Maeve sleeps, the characters grapple with a mysterious new technology and medical advances that promise to ease anxiety and end pain, but instead cause devastating side effects. Bergman’s novel deals with issues like the opioid epidemic, hazards of biotech, and obsession with self-improvement and staying young.