The summer has passed so quickly by and now, the long list of “beach” books
on reading lists seem like a moot point. I have read only two books completely,
With the upcoming August 9th Book Lovers Day looming shortly ahead, I
thought I would give you a short but varied list of books you may already
have on your pile.
~ MEMOIRS ~
“The Light of the World,”
^^ Written by Elizabeth Alexander.
Ms. Alexander is a poet and Yale professor so this book is filled with lyrical
images which tell her personal story of loss. Her husband, an artist, died
suddenly at age 50 which impacted her and her two sons lives. This was an
interesting and beautiful way of telling this. I liked a reviewer’s use of the
word, “reverberations” in how the loss affected them.
“The Theft of Memory”
(Losing My Father, One Day at a Time)
^^ Written by Jonathan Kozol
This renown and award winning author about children in inner city takes on a
heart felt journey with his father who has Alzheimer’s disease. Another true life
story with his father, neurologist and psychiatrist, narrating how his mind is
slipping away. This is poignant and timely, as “Still Alice was both popular in
book and movie form. (2014 Best Actress winner, Julianne Moore portrayed
her character excellently.
“The Rose Hotel”
(A Memoir of Secrets, Loss and Love from Iran to America)
^^ Written by Rahimeh Andalibian
Ms. Andalibian was born into a world of money and privelege. The way her life
began was as a daughter of a hotel owner, her father. She was raised into the
Muslim culture and when events in 1979 of Islamic Revolution occurred, bringing
problems into their serene (and secure) lives. This change in their lives created
traumatic results and this is part of the reason she wrote this memoir. To be able
to overcome her past; move forward here in the United States as a clinical
~** THE LIGHTER SIDE **~
^^ Written by Patricia Park
Since many of us dearly enjoyed “Jane Eyre” the retelling of the story using
another culture fascinated me. A young Korean American woman’s hired to be
a nanny for a cool, modern Brooklyn family. I also thought of my summer, a few
years back, of enjoying the ‘addictive as candy’ book, “The Princess Diaries.”
“China Rich Girlfriend”
^^ Written by Kevin Kwan
If you already read the book, “Crazy Rich Asians,” you will be ahead of the game
with this sequel. It is considered a “frothy”and funny book. I liked that it included
some romance, society features and even a scandal. This is one which is easy
to read and hard to put down!
*** Serious, but QUIRKY Subject Matters ***
“The Star Side of Bird Hill”
^^ Written by Naomi Jackson
This books takes you from Brooklyn, New York to Barbados. There is a moment
when you have to suspend your own system of beliefs, but this is all due to the
mysterious and spiritual world of folk magic (voodoo or “obeah”). The two main
characters are a 16 year old, Dionne, and a 10 year old, Phaedra. Their being
“kicked out” or “exiled” makes them reluctant to absorb and embrace the culture
of their Grandmother, who is both a midwife and a practitioner of the Spirit World.
^^ Written by Aziz Ansari
The author is best known for his stand-up comedy acts than anything else. It
helps that he is attractive and played on one of the lesser known but beloved
television sit-coms known as “Parks and Recreation.” Amy Poehler was in this
one along with others you would recognize like Chris Pratt. A great comedic
team which I believe it is over and cancelled now. This book is about a serious
scientific look at the world of love and romance, using advantages of technology.
His joint effort with Eric Klinenenberg, who is a sociologist is also funny to read.
Amusing to me, who has based the beginning of this blog on my experiences
with online dating.
^Written by Jami Attenberg
I enjoy historical fiction where you feel like you have been transported back into
unique settings and meet interesting characters. This book will make you feel you
need to do more with your life. The story is about a character, “Mazie Phillips”
based on a real person named, Mazie Gordon. Her title,”Queen of the Bovary,”
was due to her selling tickets to the Venice Theater during the days and then
how she helped numerous homeless people at night. These persons were
desperately impoverished and hungry, due to the Great Depression in the
United States,1940’s New York specifically.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Up until this point in my post I have featured books I either skimmed or read
from cover to cover. I felt they all deserved my full attention. With my long, hot
hours at the warehouse, unfortunately I am not always “fully engaged” in my
reading. I am sporadic, at best, while posting and reading other blogs. I am
going to remind you of the books which are going to leave you spell bound
and speechless. You already know about them, they are on your personal
pile of books or at least, on your “radar.”
Everyone is talking about these:
~~~ MUST READ BOOKS ~~~
#1. “Go Set a Watchman,” by the award winning author, Harper Lee.
If you have read or skimmed this book, please let us know about some
of the places which bothered you, (or didn’t) about our beloved Atticus
and how he is not the man we knew from, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I was
shocked about his being part of a semi- Ku Klux Klan organization. We
now call it, “White Supremacist” groups. I was pleased at Scout’s maturity
and her growth. I felt that the scenery had changed and shifted, there was
a touch of melancholy in my feelings while reading this fine 1960 book.
#2. “Charlie Martz and Other Stories,” so many of Elmore Leonard books
have been made into movies, you will need to check out 11 of Elmore L’s
never before published short stories. If you have never seen or read, “Get
Shorty” or other books by Elmore Leonard, you may wish to ‘dabble’ into
this cesspool of the underbelly of society and a rahter unusual detective.
Elmore Leonard died in 2013 and wrote from the 1950’s era on. There are
four more “early published works” that have not been out in book form for
some time. Check this one out. Please!
#3. Three of my women’s magazines suggested to add “Circling the Sun”
to your reading group, your personal reading or taking it on vacation. I
have also seen it on the “Library Staff Suggests” shelves at the Delaware
County District Library. The book written by Paula McLain, who grew up
and lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is her second historical fiction. Her
first one is about Ernest Hemingway’s wife, and called, “The Paris Wife.”
The woman who was Ernest’s wife in the 1920’s, was named Hadley
“Circling the Sun” is about a fictional female aviator who lives in the time
period and actually meets the characters from, “Out of Africa.” This book,
if you have never read nor seen the movie is on my Top 10 of my Life.
My Mom was always impressed with Isak Dinesen. A woman who like Harper
Lee wrote during a period that some people preferred male authors,
using a male name for her “nom de plume.” Picture Kenya, Africa in the
1920’s with rigid restraints for women securely in place, rare to meet an
outspoken woman and equally rare to run into a woman navigator of the
world. She is a female horse trainer who catches the eyes of Denys Finch
Hatten. This is the male leading role in the movie played by Robert Redford.
Karen Blixen is female leading role played by Meryl Streep. Having mentioned
my Mom and I have to watch this every year, during the summer. This is one
worth seeing again just to see how fine actors the two leads were, back in
their younger days. Beryl Markham is the horse trainer and aviator who gets
involved in a love triangle with the people from Isak Dinesen’s book.
I feel the need to send you off with two Summer quotes which were ‘cute.’
~ One ~
“The faster a cricket chirps, the warmer the temperature.”
(Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2015)
~ Two ~
“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should.
For their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
(Ray Bradbury quotation)
We are coming into the “Home Stretch” of Summer here in Ohio. Have you
made it through all the books you were intending to read?
Have you one or more that you wish to recommend?
How about are there any you would like to dissuade us from bothering to
read? (“Circling the Sun” was not given a favorable review by Alexander
Fuller in the New York Times Book Review magazine.