Skip to main content

Bookreporter.com Bets On...

With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout the year, we will continue this feature that we started in 2009, to spotlight books that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” We will alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Below are all of our selections thus far. For future "Bets On" titles that we will announce shortly after their release dates, please visit this page.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

February 2009

A RELIABLE WIFE opens with Ralph Truitt standing on a train platform on a cold winter morning waiting for a woman who had answered his ad looking for "a reliable wife," "a simple honest woman." But Catherine Land is not the woman who she appears to be, and she, like Ralph, has secrets to hide.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

February 2009

Set in 1962, THE HELP is the story of three women --- two African-American maids in the Deep South and a young white woman who sees a story in the world that they live in. You hear the voices, see the houses and truly feel like a voyeur in their world. I found myself reaching for my advance reading copy of the book between present opening, dinner preparations and other holiday festivities in December. Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter are strong characters, and the stories they tell speak volumes about the time. Stockett closes the book with a piece about her family's maid, which shows why she could write this novel with such insight and honesty. No matter what your political views about our new president, reading THE HELP and seeing the world 46 years ago when the right to vote was something that was fought over, and not taken for granted, is interesting.
 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

January 2009

Henry Lee comes upon the Panama Hotel in Seattle, where the new owner has found a treasure trove of belongings that were left there by Japanese families who were taken to internment camps during World War II. Henry, who is of Chinese heritage, reflects back on a young Japanese woman, Keiko Okabe, with whom he had an innocent but profound love. He searches the hotel looking for anything that may remind him of Keiko's family. His reminiscences as well as his internal conflicts create a beautiful story of hope, forgiveness and the power of love.

 

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

January 2009

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Shelter Me by Juliette Fay

December 2008

After the sudden death of her husband, Janie LaMarche’s life sweeps her up and unwillingly marches her on with a role as a solo parent to her two small children. As she stumbles through each day overwhelmed and dazed in a haze of grief and overwhelming sadness, she finds a cast of unlikely characters who help her unravel her feelings --- and set a new course. These include a contractor who shows up ready to build the porch her husband had commissioned without her knowledge and the parish priest who is unflinchingly nice even when Janie is acerbic and biting, as well as strong-willed Aunt Jude and a cousin named Cormac, who delivers bakery creations from his shop to match every mood. Along with these well-drawn characters, strong emotion and wry humor ensure that SHELTER ME is a story to savor and love.