Remainder, Tom McCarthy’s first published novel, arrived in 2005 as the ideal kind of literary fiction, showing us a new reality and refusing to give up its secrets all at once.

It’s a work of a certain uncompromising inscrutability, and like all works of art that don’t exist to strike the eye, ear or mind with an instant and gratifying rush of artifice and pleasure, it pulls us back to it time and again to check what we’d missed seeing in its mirrored surface when we first opened it. British publishers would have preferred it to be otherwise, since they all passed on it, leaving it up to a small press in Paris to release it in a limited edition, before it was brought out in the US by Random House to laudatory reviews by such writers as Joyce Carol Oates and Zadie Smith.

A closer look at what you should be reading

When the fabulous Gina Frangello approached me to write a monthly column about books that cross my desk, my first thought was, “There are so many books, how will I decide what gets mentioned?”What I’ve realized is I have no formula for that except to say, if it’s unique in style or voice, I keep reading. Cover art is often alluring when I decide to pick up a book but ultimately, what matters most are the words on the page, how they fit together. Do they tell me a story or evoke emotion? If the answer is yes, I turn the pages. I think of writer in the same way I do an architect.A writer is in charge of building something beautiful and making it their own with style and imagination. Whether they place the words on the pageso they sound and feel good to say out loud or create a text that’s visually interesting to read or develop multi-faceted characters that feel as if they could be you or someone you know—all of these things make writing fascinating and help to build amazing stories. It’s what really happens between the pen and paper, or rather the fingers and the keyboard that count. What I do know is there are far more books than there are hours in the day for me to read every single one that’s sent to me; however I’ll try to keep you abreast of the best in my TBR pile. So, here’s some of what I’ve recently read. I hope that it resonates with you, dear reader, in some way.