The best sorts of books are the ones that leave you feeling a bit breathless as you turn the last page. The ones you stay up with past bedtime, not quite ready to turn off the light yet. The ones you can’t wait to figure out the ending to but also don’t want to end.
They inspire you. They excite you. They teach you something new.
New Hampshire authors certainly know how to deliver on those fronts. Here are some 2021 books you might enjoy published by Granite State writers.
By Sarah Pearson
Twenty-Five to Life
By R. W. W. Greene
Julie Riley is two years too young to get out from under her mother’s thumb, and what does it matter? She’s over-educated, under-employed, and kept mostly numb by her pharma implant. Her best friend, who she’s mostly been interacting with via virtual reality for the past decade, is part of the colony mission to Proxima Centauri.
Plus, the world is coming to an end. So, there’s that.
When Julie’s mother decides it’s time to let go of the family home in a failing suburb and move to the city to be closer to work and her new beau, Julie decides to take matters into her own hands. She runs, illegally, hoping to find and hide with the Volksgeist, a loose-knit culture of tramps, hoboes, senior citizens, artists, and never-do-wells who have elected to ride out the end of the world in their campers and converted vans, constantly on the move over the back roads of America.
Greene is a New Hampshire writer, which he exorcises in dive bars and coffee shops. He is a frequent panelist at the Boskone Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Boston, and his work has been in Stupefying Stories, Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, and Jersey Devil Press, among others.
The Hiding Place
By Paula Munier
Bestselling author Paula Munier continues her Mercy Carr series with a third installment that drags the past back to the present.
When her late grandfather’s deputy calls Mercy to his deathbed, she and canine sidekick Elvis agree to take on the cold case that haunted him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause – it’s a danger to Mercy, Elvis and all they hold dear.
Meanwhile, Mercy’s grandmother goes missing and a man shows up claiming Elvis as his own.
She needs reinforcements, which means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner and enlisting his help. With Troy and search and rescue dog Susie Bear on their side, they unravel the secrets of the past.
Munier was inspired to write the first Mercy Carr book, “A Borrowing of Bones,” by the hero working dogs she met through MissionK9Rescue, her own Newfoundland retriever mix rescue Bear, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.
Limits of Limelight
By Margaret Porter
Pretty Oklahoma teenager Helen Nichols accepts an invitation from her cousin, rising movie actress Ginger Rogers, and her Aunt Lela, to try her luck in motion pictures. Her relatives, convinced that her looks and personality will ensure success, provide her with a new name and help her land a contract with RKO. As Phyllis Fraser, she swiftly discovers that Depression-era Hollywood’s surface glamour and glitter obscure the ceaseless struggle of the hopeful starlet.
Lela Rogers, intensely devoted to her daughter and her niece, outwardly accepting of her stage mother label, is nonetheless determined to establish her reputation as screenwriter, stage director, and studio talent scout. For Phyllis, she’s an inspiring model of grit and persistence in an industry run by men.
While Ginger soars to the heights of stardom in musicals with Fred Astaire, Phyllis is tempted by a career more fulfilling than the one she was thrust into. Should she continue working in films, or devote herself to the profession she’s dreamed about since childhood? Which choice might lead her to the lasting love that seems so elusive?
By Alice Fogel
The former New Hampshire poet laureate has released a collection that reveals the disruptions – welcome or unsettling – to our stream of consciousness that occur when we encounter the unexplainable. In these poems, such suspensions of linear thought become a beckoning toward transcendence, an opening both deeper into, and out beyond, our perceptions in an otherwise prescribed world.
Fogel was poet laureate of New Hampshire from 2014-19. In addition to a half dozen collections of poetry, she is the author of “Strange Terrain,” a handbook to appreciating poetry even for those who don’t “get” it.
Fogel’s honors include nine Pushcart Prize nominations, Best of the Web, and a 1997 literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England Poetry Club’s Daniel Varoujan Award, among others.
Indebted to Wind
By L. R. Berger
The poems have a flow and energy through them as they course through Berger’s collection, not unlike that of the Contoocook River near her Hopkinton home.
“The wind in these eloquent, elegant, tensile poems is present as spirit, of course; as spirit it can manifest as the longing or fate of the body (it expires), as intellectual momentum (it inspires), as power for social justice (it aspires),” writes poetry professor Stephen Tapscott.
Berger’s collection of poems, “The Unexpected Aviary” (Deerbrook Editions, 2003), received the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry.
No. 3: Nicholas Herriman and the New Heroes League
By Ken Sheldon
New Hampshire author and humorist Ken Sheldon released the final book in a middle-grade superhero trilogy, “Nicholas Herriman and the New Heroes League.”
Nick Herriman was the most average kid to ever live in Peabody, New Hampshire, until he stumbled on a trunk full of clothes that gave him superpowers. Unfortunately, the clothes came with no instructions, and some were defective. The Losers League series follows Nick’s adventures as he figures out how to use his new powers without killing himself, battles monsters and supervillains, and learns lessons about life, love and friendship.
“I wrote this series for kids who are as obsessed with superheroes as I was,” said Sheldon, who grew up on a diet of Superman, Batman, Spider Man and Captain America comics. He especially hopes the book will appeal to reluctant boy readers, who may be able to identify with an ordinary guy like Nick. “In the third book of the series, Nick learns that being a leader isn’t always easy, even with superpowers,” he says.
Ten Thousand Tries
By Amy Makechnie
Twelve-year-old Golden Maroni is determined to channel his hero, soccer superstar Lionel Messi, and become captain of his soccer team and master of his eighth-grade universe … especially since his home universe is spiraling out of orbit. Off the field, Golden’s dad, once a pro soccer player himself, is now battling ALS, leaving him less and less physically able to control his body every day. And while Mom says there’s no cure, Golden is convinced that his dad can beat this, just like any opponent – they just have to try.
Golden knows that if you want to perfect a skill you have to put ten thousand tries in, so he’s convinced if he can put that much effort in, on and off the field, he can stop everything from changing. But when his dad continues to decline and his constant pushing starts to alienate his friends and team, Golden is forced to confront the idea that being master of your universe might not mean being in control of everything.