A few titles on the horizon that caught my eye:
I have been interested in Iris Chang ever since being blown away by The Rape of Nanking. Like everyone else who admired her talent, I thought her death was quite sad and I haven't been able to forget how her subject matter affected her so deeply. Her mother has a new book out on how Iris wrote her book and why she thinks she took her life: The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang before and beyond the Rape of Nanking. I want to understand this life and death better so I'm very much planning to read this one. See the SF Gate review for more on this very worthy read.
I just read an excerpt of The House in France by Gully Wells in VOGUE and thought it sounded charming in that "peculiar British family on vacation in Provence" kind of way and then found the starred review in Booklist. Here's a bit:
Wells had the perfect childhood for her vocation as travel writer and features editor of CondÃ© Nast Traveler and the good sense to enjoy it, even though her mother was as vexing as she was scintillating. Wells is a breathtakingly frank, nimbly hilarious, and sensuously precise memoirist and portraitist, capturing the chimerical energy of her famously sexy and outrageous Canadian American expat mother...Wells remembers intoxicating conversations and outrageous behavior in scenes worthy of Oscar Wilde, featuring the likes of Bertrand Russell, Iris Murdoch, and John and Robert Kennedy. She tells her own fascinating story, too, including her long-ago on-and-off romance with Martin Amis. Desire and ambition, creativity and fame, betrayal and love, all take on new dimensions in Wells' sparkling and spiky look back at protean and brilliant iconoclasts.
The Glass Demon by Helen Grant also received a starred review but is a very different type of book. The 17 year old protagonist Lin has been "dragged to a crumbling castle in the middle of a forest in the rural area of Germany". Her father is a scholar trying to find the secret of long lost stained glass windows and the demon who supposedly haunts them. Corpses start showing up, the family is falling to pieces and Lin is right in the middle of it. From Booklist again:
With its fascinating information on medieval folklore, unique setting, and increasingly claustrophobic sense of terror, this is an exhilarating page-turner that offers a cerebral blend of horror and mystery.
Sounds like a good crossover for teen readers as well. (And a "glass demon" - not a vampire, zombie or werewolf, can you imagine?!)
[That's the British cover for The Glass Demon - I'm liking it a more than the US one.]