Spring appears to have finally decided to stick around in most parts of the country, and even in places where the winter weather is sticking around, there are signs that it’s on the way. We have the beginnings of tulips in our garden, and our bird feeder is hopping with activity. It’s the perfect time of year to get started on some new reading material to have an awakening of our own: one of imagination and adventure. This month Sandy brings us a selection of spring reading materials, including historical fiction, mystery, and even a memoir. So find a sunny spot to settle in and break out a new book (or two).
Dust Child by Nguyen Phan Que Mai | Historical Fiction
Dust Child is a family saga about secrets, hidden trauma, and the overriding power of forgiveness. Told in the voices of two Vietnamese sisters, an American veteran, as well as the child of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman, is the story of how those who inherited tragedy can redefine their destinies.
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson | Fiction
Pineapple Street is a story of the lives of three young women navigating the complexities of life in the outrageous world of generational wealth and privilege. The book puts together the understanding of the beauty and difficulty of belonging, how our desires can clash with our inherited narrative, and what happens to the people we love when we need to rewrite the story.
The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner | Fiction
In The London Seance Society, a grieving young woman takes an apprenticeship with a world-famous medium to investigate her sister’s murder. She finds herself communing with ghosts, spirits, and demons, both living and dead… and discovers secrets too sinister and supernatural powers too deep to imagine.
Old Babes in the Woods by Margaret Atwood | Fiction
Old Babes in the Woods is a collection of short stories written by Margaret Atwood, and it’s a good variety of stories that show off her range as a writer. There are fifteen stories in all, with seven of them featuring a married couple, Tig and Nell. While each can be read as a standalone, you are best served reading the stories in order.
The Golden Spoon by Jesse Maxwell | Mystery
The Golden Spoon is the baking contest that will kick off the 10th anniversary season of the hit show BAKEWEEK. Six contestants work to prove their culinary talents over five days, preparing different types of baked goods, including bread, pies, and then cake. This is a deliciously suspenseful thriller for murder mystery buffs and avid bakers alike.
Stash by Laura Cathcart Robbins | Memoir
Stash is about Laura, and it’s the story of a beautiful, Black, wealthy woman’s journey to sobriety amidst addiction to Ambien, privilege, and self-sabotage. With courage and candid openness, Laura reveals how she managed to begin the long journey toward sobriety and what it means to be Black in a white world.
Two Wars and a Wedding by Lauren Willig | Historical Fiction
The Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and the Spanish-American War of 1898 are the wars in Two Wars and a Wedding, the story of an aspiring archaeologist and Smith College graduate, Betsy Hayes, striving to make her place in a man’s world. This is an unforgettable saga of friendship, love, and fighting for what is right.
In Case You Missed It: Here are Sandy’s Selections from April 2018!
The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus | Sci-Fi/Fantasy
The Best Picture Academy Award winner of 2017 was released in book version two days after the awards ceremony.
The Shape of Water is a romantic drama filled with fantasy elements. It’s a story of a Sea God (modeled after the “Creature from the Black Lagoon”) who is captured in the Amazon River and studied to discover its secret powers. Whether or not one has already seen the movie, it is a lovely surprise and a fast read.
The Leader’s Bookshelf by James Stavridis and R. Manning Ancell | Nonfiction
The “top fifty” books recommended in The Leader’s Bookshelf were chosen by 200 Four-Star military leaders. They are the titles that strongly influenced their leadership skills and provided special insights. The 50-chapter summaries help the reader determine which books are personally the most relevant and/or appealing. It is a tremendous resource for any leader, whether in family life, organizations, or professionally.
Artemis by Andy Weir | Science Fiction
Artemis is an exciting action-adventure sci-fi story set on a lunar colony several decades in the future. The heroine is a 26-year-old desperate to become rich, so she gets involved in a complicated heist. This fast-moving, fun book will give you a look at the economy and sociology of a functional moon colony might be like, including how to cope with crime, new currency, and the colony’s politics. Very imaginable!
Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer | Fiction
The Female Persuasion is a timely novel about feminism, female power, and mentorship. Much has changed in the feminist movement for all women. The book observes (and comments on) these changes. The author has an effortless, engrossing style and pays attention to details that seamlessly connect all the dots in the book’s four major storylines. This is an excellent story of a female mentor’s influence on a mentee.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen | Psychological Thriller
The Wife Between Us is about the truth in marriage. There is the husband’s truth, the wife’s truth, and also the real truth. What we think we see and what is happening can be very different. This is a fiendishly clever romantic thriller that keeps the reader guessing. Unforgettable twists lead to shocking revelations throughout, including the epilogue. Best of all, Steven Spielberg has optioned the book, so we can look forward to the movie!
Paris By the Book by Liam Callanan | Mystery
In Paris by the Book, a mother from Wisconsin travels to Paris with her two daughters in search of her eccentric husband, a novelist. He has vanished but leaves enough clues to suggest he is in Paris. Is he hiding from his family or searching for them? Is he alive in Paris? Did he die in a tragic boating accident? The mystery about the husband’s fate makes this a page-turner, but the real story lies in the mother’s rediscovery of herself.
I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell | Memoir
In I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, British author Maggie O’Farrell weaves a stunning collection of stories about her near-death experiences. There are 17 encounters at different ages and different locations: a near-drowning, close calls during surgeries, confronting a murderer on a deserted hiking trail, dysentery, meningitis, and a plummeting plane. We meet O’Farrell as a daughter, a student, an office worker, a wife, and a traveler. The snapshots reveal a thoughtful, determined woman who remains resilient despite frequent traumas. It is not a conventional memoir, but it is one the reader won’t soon forget.