Happy final days of summer everyone. Sadly, we have only about five of them left, but luckily we have three literary gems to suggest that will help distract you – and keep you mentally warmed – as we transition to the chillier days of autumn.
It was hard to winnow our summer reading down to just a few picks as many excellent titles passed through our hands over the past few months. But never fear, we will find ways to tell you about all of the special stories we encountered as many of the ones we truly loved will find their way into future posts.
So for now, three of our favorite picks from our summer reading; stay tuned for more later in the fall. In the meantime, grab a comfortable chair, a cozy blanket, a steaming cup of tea, and start reading. And, Happy Rosh Hashanah; the plot of Beautiful Ruins will definitely fit into any thoughts of atonement and new beginnings.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters (June 2012) – My favorite page-turner from this summer. Just when I thought I had anticipated all the possibilities of this book, the author slipped in a surprise. Please read and enjoy this well-written tale. It has intelligence, romance, gorgeous scenery, coming of age themes, and dealing with death themes all interwoven in a tale of the lives, loves, choices, and losses of a cast of characters as unique as any you will ever encounter. This tale includes an Italian hotel owner living in a town on the Italian coast so small Cinque Terra doesn’t claim it, a lovely American actress, Richard Burton and Liz Taylor and their filming of Cleopatra, and aging movie mogul, a few young men overcoming addictions, a modern-day woman trying to figure out when her life will begin and so many more (you will not be bored and somewhere in there you will relate to someone). The story jumps from 1962 to today and back again and back again, each time unveiling another layer of connections and dreams. What results? A tale that ultimately illustrates how your life emerges from your choices. The characters and scenery will remain long after that last page ends. ~ Lisa Christie
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (2012). This is simply a lovely book. With poignancy and beautiful prose, Brunt tells the coming of age story of fourteen year-old June who’s grieving the loss of her beloved uncle Finn – a famous painter who’s recently died from a mysterious illness – who was the only one who ever really understood her. Set in the late 1980′s and full of cultural references to that era, June tries to continue on with a “teenagerly” (we may have coined a new word here) existence in Westchester Country – studying, fighting with her sister, going to the occasional party, listening to the “wolves” howling in the woods - but it is only through a most unlikely friendship in New York City, with a friend of her uncle’s, a young man named Toby, that she finds solace. This is a book about love, loss, acceptance, sisters, family, art, and what is means to truly care for someone. ~ Lisa Cadow
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012). Just when you think you know what’s going on in this thriller, think again. “Gone Girl” will keep you on your toes – and out of commission since you won’t be able to put it down! – until you turn the very last page. Meet Amy and Nick, a seemingly golden couple (Amy with her Harvard degree and Nick with his good looks and writer’s talent who met and courted in Manhattan), trapped in a marriage that’s gone terribly wrong. The story starts out with Amy’s sudden disappearance from the house they’re renting in a Missouri developement. All eyes turned to Nick as the clues start pointing in his direction. The story is told from Amy and Nick’s alternating points of view so the reader learns about their relationship from its romantic beginning to its present difficult place. If you’re a fan of Tana French, you’ll appreciate Flynn’s story telling style and mastery of the psychological thriller genre. ~ Lisa Cadow, with Lisa Christie seconding this review