Time for some summer reading recommendations!
Summer is traditionally a time for light beach reads–romances, mysteries, and such. But when I was teaching, summer break was when I’d have time to finally tackle the longer, more heavy duty tomes. If that’s your habit as well, you might want to curl up in an air-conditioned room with
Demon Copperhead—Barbara Kingsolver’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Inspired by Dickens’ David Copperfield, Kingsolver follows a boy who has to grow up fast in the Appalachian foster system. It’s beautifully written, detailed, and frankly an upsetting story. It’s hard to read in parts, but please push through—it’s worth the journey with a hopeful ending.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid—I love this book, the story of a young couple, newly in love, living in a war zone. They hear rumors of a surprising means of escape: mysterious portals that lead directly to a safer place, perhaps continents away. Through bribery and barter, they learn the location of such a portal, and so their adventure begins.
True to its magical realism roots, this surreal doorway does not lead our protagonists to a fantasy land or eden, but rather to a real place with issues of its own. Refugees now, they move from place to place, from portal to portal, encountering situations both fascinating and harrowing.
I was drawn in by the beautiful rendering of Hamid’s long, leisurely sentences. This is one of those books you want to read slowly, often taking a few minutes to read your favorite paragraphs over and over again.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus—this quick-paced book is the story of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant scientist, who has been denied the chance to fulfill her potential by the blatant misogyny of mid-20th century America. When she is dismissed from a research position that she is more than qualified for, she takes a job hosting a TV cooking show. Her male bosses think she is teaching American housewives a more effective, tasty, and nutritious way to cook meals. She’s also teaching chemistry, and—surprise, gentlemen—she’s teaching her female audience self esteem and confidence, an unintentionally subversive agenda!
This book has its light moments, and be assured that everyone who deserves a comeuppance does get it, but the premise of the story is very serious.
I would also invite you to read my own books and flash fiction stories. Here’s a link to my novels—Yellow-Billed Magpie, Red-Tailed Hawk, andGhost Owl—which are all available on Amazon. I invite you to scroll back through my blog to read (or re-read) my #FlashFictionFriday offerings. I want to note that these stories—for me—celebrate the joy my writing brings to me. Many of them I write while with my fellow writers, and the creation is fast and fun. I don’t expect to win awards with these stories, but I hope you will discern the spirit emanating from the rhythm of the words. I hope my words touch your heart.
If you’ve enjoyed my writing, please share it with others and please drop me a line.
I’m going to take a break from my blog during the month of August. Hope you all have a fun, safe, refreshing summer, whatever you do, wherever you go. See you after Labor Day!!