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Paperback Power Trio

When you hear the phrase “power trio,” you probably think of obscure hard rock bands from the 1980s. Or maybe that’s just me. Not to worry—no one’s going to make your ears bleed with any high-pitched screaming today. I’m simply appropriating the phrase to refer to a few of my favorite recent works of fiction. These titles didn’t quite make our collectively produced Island Books Best of the Year list, but if I were a solo artist, they probably would have. So while you’re considering our official Top Ten (which you absolutely should) don’t forget about these other great books waiting in the wings. And if you’re a holiday shopper whose budget allows for stocking stuffers rather than big-ticket items under the tree, you’ll be extra-appreciative that this 2017 power trio is available right now in paperback.

The first book on the set list is In the Distance by Hernan Diaz, a revisionist take on that hoariest of genres, the Western ...

The next number is Queen of Spades by Michael Shou-Yung Shum, a book that’s easy to enjoy but devilishly hard to describe ...

Our encore comes from Carmen Maria Machado via her debut story collection Her Body and Other Parties. The book earned her a spot on the National Book Award shortlist and also the honor of being the number one Indie Next pick for October, which is even higher praise in my mind ... continued