My Favorite Summer Reads 2011

Here are some of my favorites this summer, some could be considered ‘beach reads’ aka ‘light-ish’, but I don’t read ‘fluff’-so these are all really good reads:

“Maine” by J. Courtney Sullivan: Author of another fabulous novel “Commencement”, this is a novel of an inter-generational family who take turns staying at the family summer home of the coast of Maine, touches on family dynamics and how they change when the matriarch of the family becomes elderly, very well written.

“Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles:

Fabulous first novel, this author is very talented. Manhattan in the 1930’s, society on the brink of downfall….In 1966 Katey attends an art opening with her husband, of Walker Evans’
photographs of people on the subway circa 1930’s-in two of the photographs she
recognizes someone from her past. She is thrown back to her memories of her life
as a young secretary in Manhattan in 1938. Encounters with eccentric Greenwich
Village artists and writers, and one special man.

“Faith” by Jennifer Haigh (a terrific author), Boston area families and the fallout from the priest abuse scandals, again very well written and realistic portrayal of family interactions.

“Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks: historical fiction regarding the real life first Wampanoag native American to graduate from Harvard (born on Martha’s Vineyard, 1700’s), the next Wampanoag to graduate from Harvard graduated this spring!

“Among the Wonderful” by Stacy Carlson, see my review of this wonderful book, coming early August-I really loved this one (Barnum’s NYC dime museum in the 1800’s, it’s resident’s lives)

“French Lessons” by Ellen Sussman, a fun but well-written book shose chapters each feature a different American coming to Paris and partnering with a different French tutor, the tutor’s lives and the lives of the Americans, romance, melancholy of living in an alien, though captivating culture, and fabulous Paris of course…

“Miss Timmin’s School for Girls” by Nayana Currimbhoy: This is one of my favorites, a boarding school in the mountains of India, circa late ’60’s, a murder or suicide plays a big role in the book, but mostly a wonderfully written novel with great, memorable characters.

“The Soldier’s Wife” by Margaret Leroy: Takes place during WWII on the Guernsey Islands (off England), this setting has been used before but this novel is really captivating, the soldier and his wife do not have a true passionate relationship, she is left behind on the island with her small children, Nazi’s invade & take over the village, and she learns what love truly is, and the cost of standing up for human values for once in your life, really good.

“The Man in the Rockefeller Suit” by Mark Seal, non-fiction, this is a fascinating account of ‘Clark Rockefeller’, the man who kidnapped his beloved daughter ‘Snooks’, and turned out to be a serial impostor-a truly gripping and bizarre read. Author is a terrific journalist who’s often featured in Vanity Fair magazine.

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