Ask a bookseller: Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C.

'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles
'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Samantha Flynn of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C.

Samantha Flynn already has her pick for who should win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction: Amor Towles for "A Gentleman in Moscow."

Towles' novel follows Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest for life in an elegant hotel near the Kremlin. His crime? Writing a poem that was deemed to promote revolt.

"What ensues is a narrative of how the Count adapts to this life sentence, as well as a piercing satire of the revolution and its aftermath," Flynn said. "I think this a gem, a literary jewel, and I want everyone to read it."

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Flynn puts Towles in the same league as Tolstoy, Dickens, Woolf and Wharton for his way with language.

But of course, as a bookseller, Flynn couldn't recommend just one book. She's also enamored with "The Book That Matters Most" by Ann Hood. Hood's novel follows a woman named Ava, who is reeling from a failed marriage and other family issues. But instead of withdrawing into herself, she joins a book club.

The book club's theme for the year is "the book that matters most," and every month a member chooses a book that is central to her life.

Hood begins each section with a quote from one of those books, and she ties it into the overall plot of Ava and her family trials.

"It's really quote a brilliant plot, and one of the most involved and creative I've seen in a long time," Flynn said.