Summer Fun – A Selection of Good, Interesting, Relaxing Reading

As the weather warms up (hopefully, in our area), a good book and a glass of lemonade (or your choice) can be an excellent way to while away your time and relax.
Here are a few you might find interesting. They’ve been gleaned from a few different sources and hopefully one or two will entice you.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanOcean at the end of the Lane

When otherworldly beings are set loose on the world, they threaten the life of a little boy. But the extraordinary Hempstock women — Lettie, her mother and her grandmother — summon all of their courage and cleverness to keep him alive. Soon they discover that his survival comes with a high and deadly price.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Good Lord BirdFleeing her violent master at the side of legendary abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-19th-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. By the best-selling author of The Color of Water.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieAmericanah

Separated by respective ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America and explores new concepts of race, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London. When the pair is reunited in their homeland 15 years later, they face the toughest decisions of their lives

How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

Structured like a business self-help book, this novel tells the story of a boy born into poverty who attains dazzling wealth.

NW by Zadie SmithNW

Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals—Leah, Natalie, Fox, and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone—familiar to city-dwellers everywhere—NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And the mountains echoedBoth uplifting and heartbreaking, the third novel from the author of The Kite Runner begins with a folk tale and then traverses continents and eras, examining war, separation, birth, death, deceit, and love—ending on a message of hope. Another masterful work.

The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie LovettBookman's Tale

Beginning in 1995 in an antiquarian bookshop in Wales, this delightful tale of love and bibliophilia goes back and forth in time—mostly back—to Victorian and Shakespearean England. Its major discovery: Love and literature know neither generation nor era.

Death of a One-Sided Man by Lawrence M. Friedman

Death of a one-sided manThere’s more than one unsavory side to the family Mobius. Attorney Frank May has front row seats to the quirks of the Mobius dead and would-be heirs. One, at least, was murdered in his squalid San Francisco home, sitting on a fortune that appears to be left to a cult. To untangle the estate, reluctant sleuth Frank will have to solve the murder mystery.

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate ChristensenBlue Plate Special

The PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author of The Great Man builds on her popular food-centric blog to recount her unconventional upbringing and her unusually happy and occasionally sorrowful life of literary and culinary sensuality.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paternini

Telling RoomThe author of the best-selling Driving Mr. Albert recounts his visit to the medieval Castilian village of Guzman as part of a decade-long effort to taste the world’s finest cheese, an encounter that involved him in long-held regional secrets and the story of a heartbroken genius cheesemaker.

Daily Rituals

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

From Beethoven to Woody Allen, from Leo Tolstoy to Charles Dickens and John Updike, here are artists on how they create (and avoid creating) their works. Writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, philosophers, caricaturists, comedians, poets, sculptors and scientists consider how they work in letters, diaries and interviews compiled and edited by Mason Currey.

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made the Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

The story of the making of The Mary Tyler Moore Show offers insight into how the show reflected changing American perspectives and was the first situation comedy to employ numerous women as writers and producers

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun

A Give Me everything you havetrue story of obsessive love turning to obsessive hate, Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author’s harrowing ordeal at the hands of an obsessed former student whose campaign of hate mail, violently anti-Semitic online postings, and false public accusations were orchestrated to destroy his professional and personal life.

The Book of My Lives by Aleksandar HemonThe-Book-of-My-Lives

After leaving Sarajevo on an art fellowship to the United States, Aleksandar Hemon found himself blocked from his homeland by the Bosnian War. He’s written about his journey from Sarajevo to Chicago in fiction, but this time he’s collected personal essays that cover everything from neighborhood gangs to avant-garde literary presses to chess and soccer. I love the way a series of seemingly unconnected pieces — why he loves Chicago, the story of his sick child — can come together to form a memoir. In the end, its message is that no matter how badly one’s life falls apart, we as a species are generally made of sturdy enough stuff and keep going with the right attitude. Oh, and the writing is just beautiful; did I mention that?

Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard (Globe Pequot/Lyons )Gaining Ground

A new face in the growing sustainable agriculture movement, Pritchard took over the family farm after finishing college, but as an English major, he had to learn his adopted trade the hard way. With a gift for storytelling, he’ll have you thinking twice about your relationship with food.


Mickey and WillieMickey And Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball’s Golden Age by Allen Barra

Berra has written the lives of sports legends (Paul “Bear” Bryant, Yogi Berra) and reminisced about some of America’s most famous ballparks (Ridgewood Field, Cooperstown). In this book he combines the biographies of two baseball greats, inspired by his own notions of what defines a hero, and offers a touching fan’s notes of Mays and Mantle.

Run, Brother, Run by David Bergrun brother run

One brother was on his way to becoming a famous lawyer; the other was a petty criminal murdered by hit man Charles Harrelson (Woody’s father). How did that happen? After years of silence, the author sets out to discover his younger brother’s fate that Texas night in 1968. The details he pieces together are eye-opening for him—and for us.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James BrownBoys in the Boat

This riveting tale of beating the odds (and the Germans) at the 1936 Olympics is a rousing story of American can-do-ism. It’s also a portrait of the nine boys who first rowed together for the University of Washington, and of the one in particular who made the sport his family and his home.

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