Featured Books for January 2022
We're excited for our first books of 2022! Our Book Club pick this month is Fredrik Backman's Anxious People (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm). We'll also be watching the pilot episode of the new adaptation (available on Netflix) for a separate IG chat. And for our Buddy Read pick, we'll read Natasha Deen's In the Key of Nira Ghani (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm). (Let us know @unabridgedpod if you'd like to join either chat!)
"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes a charming, poignant novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.
"Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can't fix their own marriage. There's a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can't seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment's only bathroom, and you've got the worst group of hostages in the world.
"Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them--the bank robber included--desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.
"Rich with Fredrik Backman's 'pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature' (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope--the things that save us, even in the most anxious times."
In the Key of Nira Ghani
"A Guyanese girl must find the balance between her parents' 'old world' expectations and traditions while pursuing her dream of being a great trumpeter in this contemporary, coming-of-age story.
"Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira's grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira realizes it's now or never to convince her parents that she deserves a chance to pursue her passion.
"As if fighting with her parents weren't bad enough, Nira finds herself navigating a new friendship dynamic when her crush, Noah, and notorious mean-girl, McKenzie 'Mac,' take a sudden interest in her and Emily, inserting themselves into the fold. So, too, does Nira's much cooler (and very competitive) cousin Farah. Is she trying to wiggle her way into the new group to get closer to Noah? Is McKenzie trying to steal Emily's attention away from her? As Farah and Noah grow closer and Emily begins to pull away, Nira's trusted trumpet 'George' remains her constant, offering her an escape from family and school drama.
"But it isn't until Nira takes a step back that she realizes she's not the only one struggling to find her place in the world. As painful truths about her family are revealed, Nira learns to accept people for who they are and to open herself in ways she never thought possible.
"A relatable and timely contemporary, coming-of age story, In the Key of Nira Ghani explores the social and cultural struggles of a teen in an immigrant household."
In February, our Book Club book is Helen Hoang's The Heart Principle (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm), a book is just perfect for this month. And for our Buddy Read pick, we'll be reading Emiko Jean's Tokyo Ever After (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm). (Stay tuned to @unabridgedpod on IG for details about our chats!)
The Heart Principle
"A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.
"When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
"That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves."
Tokyo Ever After
"Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Ever After is the 'refreshing, spot-on' (Booklist, starred review) story of an ordinary Japanese-American girl who discovers that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan.
"Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in―it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi―or Izzy, because 'It’s easier this way'―and her mom against the world. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity, and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
"In a whirlwind, Izumi travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
"Izumi soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself―back home, she was never 'American' enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s 'Japanese' enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairy tale, happily ever after?"
If you missed our December picks, be sure to check out episode 207 in which we discuss Jean Metlzer's The Matzah Ball (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm). Our Buddy Read pick was Kerstin Gier's A Castle in the Clouds, translated by Romy Fursland (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm), chosen by our Unabridged Ambassadors!
(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)
Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.
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