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Friday, June 29, 2012
Top 20 Beach Reads!
I am not endorsing any of the books below, but according to sources these are the top 20 beach reads this summer - what do you think?? Post a comment below. . .
Jennifer Weiner's selections:
'Silver Sparrow' By Tayari Jones (Algonquin) Dishy, twisty, secrets about two daughters: one from her father’s public family, the other from the family on the side.
'Faith' By Jennifer Haigh (Harper) Combines the best descriptive writing of literary fiction with the plot twists of a thriller. A priest in Boston is accused of molesting a young boy. The truth –as revealed by his sister, his brother, his accuser and the father’s own father – is a lot more complicated than that.
'The Magician King' By Lev Grossman (Viking) Lev Grossman’s "The Magicians" was billed as Harry Potter for grown-ups – call it ‘Dirty Harry,’ or Hogwarts with hook-ups. In the sequel, published in August, teenage magician Quentin Coldwater – now a king in the Narnia-esque land of Fillory – goes on a hero’s quest, with wondrous, and tragic, results.
'The Story of Beautiful Girl' By Rachel Simon (Grand Central) On the proverbial dark and rainy night in 1968, two strangers show up at a widow’s doorstep. They’ve got a secret – they’ve escaped from an institution for the incurable and “feeble-minded” – and a baby. Their story, by the author of "Riding The Bus With My Sister," is a compelling and heartbreaking read, in part because this country’s treatment of the disabled and the different, not so very long ago, was so tragic.
And six more…
'Best Kept Secret' By Amy Hatvany (Washington Square Press) Moms who drink are usually a punch line. This novel tells a much more serious story about what happens to a single mom when her take-the-edge-off glass of wine at the end of the night turns into addiction.
'Maine' By J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf) Three generations of an Irish Catholic family reunite, as they do each summer, in the family’s cottage in Maine, in Sullivan’s second novel, which has a compelling title and a godawful cover. Secrets are kept (will Maggie tell her slacker Brooklyn boyfriend about her pregnancy?), booze is consumed (will eldest daughter Kathleen fall off the wagon?), and judgments are rendered (a mother comments acidly to her daughter that “it looks like you’ve lost a few). In a book crammed with memorable women, it’s Alice, the family’s prickly, proud, haunted matriarch, who will stay with you the longest.
'The Red Thread' By Ann Hood (W.W. Norton & Company) In Rhode Island, infertile couples start down the path that will lead them toward the babies that were meant to be theirs. First-world stories of infidelity and unhappiness can’t compete with the heartbreaking tales of how the girls who will come to America came to be orphaned in the first place.
'Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self' By Danielle Evans (Riverhead) Short stories can be the perfect choice for summer – each tale the perfect length for an afternoon at the beach. Evans’ stories deal with the Questions of Race, parsed by characters who are smart, sarcastic, occasionally bitter and always funny.
'Exposure' By Therese Fowler (Ballantine Books) Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Boy, at girl’s urging, texts nude pictures of himself to her phone. Girl’s father finds phone…and all hell breaks lose, with the arrest of both parties as just the first in a series of things that go wrong and get worse. Compulsively readable and a timely, cautionary tale in our age of TMI.
'The Nobodies Album' By Carolyn Parkhurst (Anchor) Is it a murder-mystery? Is it the tale of a woman learning – reluctantly and belatedly – to be a mother? Or a character study of how novelists manipulate truth to suit their purposes? Parkhurst’s third novel is all of the above…and it’s accompanied by a sly, tongue-in-cheek promotional effort (seriously. Look her up on YouTube).
'A Faithful Place' By Tana French (Penguin) French is my favorite discovery over the past year. Beautifully written and to use movie-speak, it's "Angela's Ashes" meets a haunting thriller. Lyrical and moving.
'Adrenaline' By Jeff Abbott (Grand Central) Are you looking for the heir apparent to Jason Bourne? Jeff Abbott's aptly titled book is the most gripping spy story I've read in years.
'Swim Back to Me' By Ann Packer (Knopf) It starts with coming of age novella, then there are some poignant short stories — and finally we have another novella with the same character three decades later. Wise and heartbreaking and beautifully written.
'Misery Bay' By Steve Hamilton (Minotaur Books) I'm often asked to recommend a detective series readers might have missed. This is it. Hamilton has been flying under the radar with his Alex McKnight series for too long. "Misery Bay" will change that, I hope.
'Maine' By J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf) A poignant, heartbreaking story about three generations of women and the beachfront Maine home, won in a barroom bet, that unites them all. "Maine" is that summer novel you’ll want to share with a friend – and, like summer itself, you’ll wish it would never end.
'Long Gone' By Alafair Burke (Harper) One day, Alice Humphrey goes to her job to find the gallery is gone, stripped bare… and oh there’s a dead body on the floor. A page turner from a major talent.
'Save Me' By Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press) A great thriller and a wonderful rumination on motherhood, bullying and the decisions we make. Scottoline has never been better – and that’s saying something.
'Sixkill' By Robert B. Parker (Putnam Adult) Parker died last year. This is the last Spenser mystery – the greatest detective series of all time — written by the master himself. If you haven’t discovered Spencer or Parker, here is your chance. RIP, Bob.
'In The Garden of Beasts' By Erik Larson (Crown) I don’t read much nonfiction, but Larson’s portrait of Berlin during the early years of Hitler’s reign, told from the viewpoint of the US Ambassador and his impetuous daughter, is both gripping and educational.
'Between Shades of Gray' By Ruta Sepetys (Philomel) Sepetys has penned a harrowing and heartbreaking novel about Lina, a 16 year old Lithuanian girl, who is sent to a forced-labor camp during the Russian invasion of 1939. Beautifully written and important, this Young Adult novel is for Grades 7 to 12.