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Best Books of May: Literature & Fiction

Sport-of-KingsHere are a few of our favorite novels this month. See more of the Best Books of May.

The Sport of Kings is American and epic, a novel of lineage and legacy, race horses and racism, power and poverty. It's graceful, provocative and at the right stretches, heart-pounding. Weaving together different centuries and narratives, C.E. Morgan exposes the soft and hardened edges of humanity with crushing clarity. The Forge family is Kentucky royalty: their land and wealth has been handed down for generations and Henrietta, the daughter of Henry Forge, stands to inherit it all. With his daughter by his side, Henry sets out to breed and race the fastest horse in history. In a neighboring town, Allmon Shaughnessy, an African American boy, comes of age in a world seeped in discrimination and violence. Years later, Allmon arrives at the Forge farm determined to remake his own story. It's there that his fate will become forever entwined with the Forge's, as Henry, Henrietta and Allmon, each stake their future in Hellsmouth, a filly bred from champions that could win it all. Fueled by beauty and rage, lust and violence, The Sport of Kings concludes with an ending that is as adrenaline fueled as Hellsmouth's last turn at the Kentucky Derby. C.E. Morgan's novel is a magnificent achievement, one that grapples with the weight of the past and the near universal desire to make your own destiny. --Al Woodworth


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Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh
When an author can tell a beautiful and compelling story about fracking, well, you know you are in the presence of something special. Set in the decaying Pennsylvania town of Appalachia, situated over a natural gas deposit, Haigh brings together a host of endearing characters to tell a surprisingly poignant story about passion, the world today, and so many of the details in between. This is one of those books that catches you off guard with a powerful message--not overpowering or in your face, just perfectly… there. --Penny Mann

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Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Sure, it's got all of the ingredients—heroes and heroines who are flawed yet admirable. Check! A love story that manages to be poignant without being precious. Check! The non-love story aspects of this novel are just as compelling, and add a layer of gravitas to a story that could easily slip into "sudsy" territory.... This timeless message is another key ingredient in what is sure to be another beloved (WWII) novel. --Erin Kodicek

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The Fireman by Joe Hill
I admit, when I hit a saggy part in a story, I do skip ahead to see if the plot will pick up again. At no point in Joe Hill's doorstop-weight novel did I have that urge, for each and every page had me entranced.... Hill weaves questions about the power of leadership, group-think, love, catastrophe, and family into the plot. His smartest move is to give no clear-cut answers to these questions, making The Fireman more substantial and real than a typical apocalyptic thriller. And his humdinger of an ending provides just the right closure. --Adrian Liang

See the more Best Books of the Month in Literature & Fiction.


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