article

This Week's Hot Reads

This week: A writer investigates the science behind her lifelong struggle with insomnia, an unsettling new novel from Japanese author Yoko Ogawa, Carol Higgins Clark delivers another thrilling mystery, two businessman explore and explain the world of high-finance, and another moving novel from Anne Lamott about a troubled teen.

04.16.10 6:54 PM ET

This week: A writer investigates the science behind her lifelong struggle with insomnia, an unsettling new novel from Japanese author Yoko Ogawa, Carol Higgins Clark delivers another thrilling mystery, two businessman explore and explain the world of high finance, and another moving novel from Anne Lamott about a troubled teen.

Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia
by Patricia Morrisroe

A journalist gets the science and facts behind her lifelong insomnia.

Almost everyone has faced insomnia at some point or another, but for Patricia Morrisroe it was a family tradition. Hoping to get to the bottom of her years spent tossing and turning, Morrisroe, a journalist, embarked on three years of research into sleep deprivation and interviews with an impressive range of sources, from sleep doctors to an astronaut. Wide Awake serves both as a memoir and a comprehensive study of the culture surrounding sleep. The editor in chief of Self, Lucy Danziger, said, “You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about the multibillion dollar sleep industry, and in the process, you might even learn to sleep.”

Hotel Iris: A Novel. By Yoko Ogawa. 176 pages. Picador. $14.

Hotel Iris
by Yoko Ogawa

An unsettling love story from the author of The Housekeeper and the Professor.

A keen observer of all sides of human nature, Ogawa continues to turn heads in the literary community for her dark, touching stories described by Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel as “original, elegant, very disturbing.” In Hotel Iris, a 17-year-old girl becomes entangled in a sadistic relationship with a mysterious translator staying in the hotel run by her mother. Ogawa draws the reader in with the eerie realism of their unbalanced relationship. “Using spare strokes and macabre detail, Ogawa creates an intense vision of limited lives and the twisted ingenuity of people trapped within them,” said Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan.

Wrecked: A Regan Reilly Mystery. By Carol Higgins Clark. 272 pages. Scribner. $25.

Wrecked: A Regan Reilly Mystery
by Carol Higgins Clark

An NYC detective vacations in Cape Cod, only to face an even stranger than usual case.

New York City private investigator Regan Reilly is back for the 13th time in Carol Higgins Clark’s latest mystery, this time uprooted from her usual comfort zone in Manhattan. Reilly and her husband head out of town to Cape Cod to celebrate their first anniversary, but crime manages to find her almost as soon as they arrive. The couple gets into town just in time for a major storm, and not long after their elderly neighbor is discovered in a heap near her home, only to disappear before she can be helped. As they try to discover more about their neighbor’s past and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance the story continues to get stranger, as do the characters in the small beachfront town. Unexpected plot twists and Clark’s trademark humor make Wrecked a perfect weekend read.

Money Makers: Inside the New World of Finance and Business. By David Snider and Dr. Chris Howard. 256 pages. Palgrave Macmillan. $28.

Money Makers
by David Snider and Chris Howard

A behind-the-scenes look at American finance.

With the U.S. economy still reeling from its near-collapse in 2008-2009, more Americans than ever are seeking to better understand our complicated financial system. With Money Makers, David Snider and Chris Howard have put together the ultimate insider’s look at the often inscrutable world of finance, including investment banking, venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, management consulting, and Fortune 500 companies. To best explain how these various businesses work—and how things went so wrong—Snider and Howard went straight to the source, interviewing power players including Jamie Dimon, David Rubinstein, and others. Suzy Welch writes, “This is the book for a savvy layperson interested in exploring business today.”

Imperfect Birds. By Anne Lamott. 288 pages. Riverhead. $25.95.

Imperfect Birds
by Anne Lamott

A heart-rending novel from Lamott tells the complex story of a troubled teen.

Imperfect Birds should be on Miley Cyrus’ reading list. (It’s probably too late for Lindsay Lohan.) The novel is Anne Lamott’s third following the characters Elizabeth—an alcoholic mom—and Rosie, her daughter, now a teen in trouble. Rosie, 17, scorns her mother because of her addiction, yet blithely dabbles in booze, drugs, and sex. Her blended family is not without its flaws as Rosie plays her stepfather off her mother and her mother undermines her husband and misses the signs marking her daughter’s descent. “Like Lamott's nonfiction, the book is liberally infused with her thoughts on God and faith, and her deep affection for the ‘imperfect birds’ in humanity's nest,” the Dallas Morning News says. “Lamott's fiction also deserves keeper status among any astute reader's collection.”

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.