There are still a few weeks of summer left and we wanted to share some our suggestions for good reads you might want to take in before returning to school . . .
Last month my book club read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It’s a really good book to read at the beach as it is 560 pages and keeps your attention. Rarely, is there a book that I would like to read again to pick up on the pieces I missed the first time through, but this is one.
In an interview, Kate Atkinson talked about wanting to write about the London Blitz but also wanting to experiment with a character who constantly dies and is reborn. That character, Ursula lives a a different path each time she dies and is born again. The historical fiction account of World War II in combination with an interesting structure makes this a good read.
~ Betty Thomas ~
I recently read and loved The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
~ Jamie Sunnycalb ~
Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads. In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventures —told in his unique voice that combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. (Amazon)
~ Julie Morris ~
The Time Travelers’ Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Don’t let yourself be swayed by the soft focus movie trailer and think this is some sappy chick flick novel – this story, in book form, is literally one of the edgiest and rawest love stories I’ve ever picked up, featuring a punk rocker time traveling librarian. It ended up on my lap as a screenplay many years ago when it was first being shopped around and I was so touched by the screenplay I immediately went on a hunt for the book, starved for more words, for the original story. And the book itself was such a magnificent, moving piece that after I finished, I put it down and said something I’ve never said before ‘I can’t even read it again. It’s too good.’ And it was a year before I cracked and opened the cover again. I still haven’t gone back for my third helping…
~ Ashley Moye ~
The Paris Wife by Paula McClain
The Paris Wife is a fictionalized, but well-researched account of Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson, told from Richardson’s perspective. It captures the warmth between the two individuals and provides a peek into the artsy, ex-patriot society which included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. I had seen this book in various book stores over the last two years, but had always walked right by it. I’d never been a fan of Ernest Hemingway. I just didn’t “get” him. The only works of his I had read were some of the short “Nick Adams” stories and his memoir, A Moveable Feast. I enjoyed the latter.
I had learned that a newly restored A Moveable Feast had been published and so, along with this title, I picked up The Paris Wife. The novel permitted me to see Hemingway in a new and more vulnerable way and has the potential of motivating me to read The Sun Also Rises.
~ Susan Catterall ~
And if none of these suit your fancy, check out these recommended reading lists: