Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jojo, despite his tender age of 10 and often unstable circumstances, is wise beyond his years. He devotedly cares for his infant sister, Kayla, and aids his ailing grandmother, all while learning to become a man from his tough and stoic grandfather. But this isn't just a coming-of-age tale. It's also a road novel, as Jojo, his young sister and their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, pack the car to pick up his father from prison. Surprisingly, it's a ghost story, too, as both Leonie and Jojo find themselves conversing with (and trying to ignore) visions of the dead. There's a lot going on, but I was immediately invested in the characters and their tormented pasts. - Julia McEwen, fashion & beauty director
Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner) by Jesmyn Ward.
Lincoln in the Bardo
The premise of George Saunders’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel is the true story of Willie, the 11-year-old son of Abraham Lincoln, who dies of typhoid in the White House. The fantastical story of the hundreds of spirits that haunt the Bardo (the Tibetan word for the limbo between life and afterlife), including Willie, is told over the duration of the night the grief-stricken President goes to visit his son’s grave. Through the alternating voices of the dead who reside there, it reads like a play filled with tragic, witty, otherworldly and ultimately very compelling dialogue. – Amanda Etty, features editor
Lincoln in the Bardo (Random House) by George Saunders.
The New Farm
New Farm is a book for anyone who has ever spent a business day watching the clock spin and dreaming of more. Or for anyone who has pulled a chicken finger away from their mouth, raised an eyebrow and wondered what the heck they’re about to eat. It tells the story of Brent Preston and wife Jillian Flies as they trade in the safety of city life and corporate careers to take a crack at building a better, more sustainable life for themselves and the communities around them. Told in his cheeky “just-get-it-done” voice, Brent reminds the us that making good food choices isn’t about taking the path of least resistance, but resisting the easy path traditional farming already has most of us on. - Paul Lillakas, food editor
The New Farm : Our Ten Years on the Front Lines of the Good Food Revolution (Penguin Random House) By Brent Preston