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My favourite books always skew a little weird. I like writing that has an uncanny edge, that flirts with unseen worlds or uses language to upend my expectations of the familiar. These books all do just that in their own ways.
We So Seldom Look on Love, by Barbara Gowdy
Perhaps my favourite short story collection, ever. Gowdy is a master of clean, cutting prose and dark, bizarre characters (think: a two-headed man and a necrophile). This book stays with you long after you finish it. I first read it in 2011 and I still think about it today.
The Scientist and the Psychic, by Christian Smith
The only work of nonfiction of my list. This memoir, written by the son of a famous psychic, is a wonderful exploration of skepticism, belief and family. It changed my understanding of what psychics claim to do and offered a unique perspective on what it means to be raised by a parent who, due to fame, is loved by the masses.
The Memento, by Christy Ann Conlin
Set in a fictional community located not far from where I live, this modern day ghost story has everything I love: a gorgeous, haunted house by the sea, a cast of complex characters, and tense, chilling moments that make your heart skip a beat.
Bunny, by Mona Awad
I love Bunny for many reasons, but the fairy tale logic at its heart was what interested me most as both a reader and a writer. As you read, Awad asks you to accept the impossible, and you do, quickly and happily, because the world she has created is just so much fun. A brilliant exploration of creativity, ambition and unlikely magic.
The Dark and Other Love Stories, by Deborah Willis
Another haunting short story collection. Willis’s writing manages to be both vivid and dream-like. Her characters each face love and danger in their own strange ways and a subtle sense of humour will take you by surprise while you read.
An entrancing novel about a wellness retreat on a remote Greek island hosted by a celebrity guru who is more than meets the eye.
On a flight to New York at the end of her first book tour, up-and-coming writer Agnes Oliver meets Jack Verity, the handsome filmmaker and ex-husband of Geia Stone, a famous actress turned wellness guru, whose popular lifestyle brand Goddess™ promotes controversial therapies and expensive beauty tools in the name of self-care and inner nourishment. Jack invites Agnes to a party in the Hamptons, where she meets Geia and finds herself welcomed into the guru’s inner circle.
That summer, Geia arranges for Agnes to attend the Goddess™ Summit, an exclusive wellness retreat held on a remote Greek island. There, Agnes observes many strange happenings she can’t explain, as one by one the other guests seem to fall under the spell of their enchanting host. When Agnes begins to discover who Geia really is, she realizes it’s up to her to protect the other women at the summit from an unexpected and unwelcome fate.
A propulsive and captivating story about beauty and influence, self-doubt and seduction, Goddess is an electrifying new novel from a talented writer to watch.
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