Book agent Carly Watters recently let She Reads in on her most recent reads and what she’s looking forward to picking up! Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to see more of her favorite literary gems.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
In my opinion Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You was one of the most unforgettable reads of the past five years. Little Fires Everywhere was highly anticipated by everyone and it surpassed all of my expectations. She’s one of the rare writers who can capture the complexities of daily life, and more importantly the complexities of the small decisions we make over the course of our lives and how they unknowingly shape our future. If I was a writer, she is whom I would envy the most! Her books say so much while being perfectly succinct. She’s going to have an extraordinary career.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I was not sure what to make of this book initially. The packaging on the different editions (UK, US, Canada) were all very different and I wasn’t sure how to react to what the designers were trying to say. It was agented by my first mentor Madeline Milburn (who I worked with before she opened her own agency and I moved to PSLA) and I’m a huge fan of her taste and her projects (she also represented The Widow) so I had to get it on my to-read list. It’s so hard to find really unique voices and this book was something so different; the quirky narrator won me over very quickly. It was a delightful read that had a page-turning quality as we slowly learn about Eleanor’s childhood secret. Dark but not heavy, smart but never overwritten, it has a sweetness to it that makes it unforgettable.
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
This short book is a powerhouse. Concise novels are hard to come by these days. It’s a 272-page small hardcover with an electric orange cover that you can’t miss. It got my attention by being shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, but it was the subject matter that I found captivating: a story of infertility that you’ve never read before. I’ve been recommending it to everyone. The cost of family, the burden of family, but the different sides of a family’s story are so compelling to me. This one lived up to all my expectations.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Margaret Atwood does not give blurbs anymore – she’s very clear about that. So when you hear that a book is being hailed as the new Handmaid’s Tale (via Washington Post) and features a blurb from Atwood on the cover you know this is one to buy immediately. The Power won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and it is so unique in its merger of speculative fiction and coming-of-age (which is a weak spot of mine, I love Age of Miracles, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, etc.) that it reminded me of The Fever in all the best ways. This book about the unexplored power of women and the power struggle of women is so timely it has to be on your list.
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang
This story collection is, so far, extraordinary. It’s a Lenny imprint book (Lena Dunham’s Penguin Random House imprint) and speaks to their vision for new and emerging voices, which match Dunham’s wit and style.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This is a #1 NYT bestseller so I have to see what the fuss is about! So far, I’m not sure. I’m listening on audiobook and I’m about three hours in and have yet to find the pace that everyone is speaking so highly of. It could be that this one is better read than listened to.
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
I read about Leila Slimani in The New Yorker earlier this month and immediately pre-ordered this. She’s a highly regarded French writer who piqued my interest after the fascinating and lengthy profile. The book seems very dark and might be hard to read during my maternity leave this month, so I might save it for this summer. However, it features a lot of interesting themes that drive my personal and professional reading interests: complexity of modern families, motherhood, race, domesticity, power and class.