The unsung life of a famous painter

Award-winning author Steve Stern has a new novel out called "The Village Idiot." It creatively recounts the life of the renowned early 20th century Russian-French artist Chaim Soutine, whose paintings now reside in art institutions around the world. The story powerfully imagines the inner life of this genius. Here's a review.

Lost man at sea, lost novel recovered

"Gentleman Overboard" by Herbert Clyde Lewis published in 1937 slipped into forgotten books land as so many good books do (and shouldn't) until it was rescued. It's the story of Henry Preston Standish, who finds himself floating in the Pacific Ocean, sure the ship he fell off of will turn around and pick him up. It's ingenious tragicomedy with an objective. You've got to read it.

A psychological page-turner brilliantly crafted

A chance encounter at an airport and a delayed flight together offer the perfect opportunity for a man to tell the story of how he rescued a drowning swimmer and what came after, a story he’s never shared with anyone. Prepare to stay up all night (or to drop everything) to read “Mouth to Mouth,” Antoine Wilson’s newest novel, a story within a story that explores themes of deception and manipulation. Read the review here.

A man walks into a tacky hotel

"Winter in Sokcho" by Elisa Shua Dusapin tells the story of a stranger arriving in an isolated South Korean fishing village. He’s a graphic novelist looking for peace and quiet to complete his final book in a series. The unnamed narrator, who works at the guesthouse where he takes a room, becomes his tour guide, and also his unexpected emotional life reckoning. Her voice is enticing. Read more here about this award-winning novel.

The sad, mad world of housewives in the 1960’s and 70’s

Author Hilma Wolitzer has gained a reputation as one of our best fiction writers who, according to The Washington Post, “raises ordinary people and everyday occurrences to a new height.” Thirteen stories are collected for the first time in her new book since their publication in magazines during the 1960s and '70s. They're funny, heartrending treasures about an unforgettable couple, Paulette and Howard, and others. Read more about them, here.

My reading life: a few good books

Here you'll find three novels that will capture your attention for their complex characters, intriguing settings, and heartrending stories. Also, I’ve included the title of an unusual book from Melbourne, Australia, and a new novel coming out next week that takes place during a bloody week in 1871 Paris.