Start the year right by reading good books
Still considering a New Year’s resolution? How about supporting your local library? Remember, you can place a hold online and you will get an email when your book is available. So easy!
This month’s list is wide ranging. Hope you try a few of them.
For nonfiction, we begin with “First: Sandra Day O’Connor” by Evan Thomas. I heard the author speak at The Charleston Library Society. This is an excellent profile of our first female Supreme Court justice, but additionally an eye-opening, back of the house tour of the Supreme Court.
“Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares” by Aarti Shahani is an account of the legal and personal battles of the author’s immigrant family. Even hard work and diligence can be thwarted by our legal system. But she persisted.
Don’t dismiss this next book, “The Season: A Social History of the Debutante” by Kristen Richardson. It is a socio-economic history lesson through the cultural lens of not just debutantes but the “sale” of young women by their fathers beginning in the 1500’s by way of the dowry.
The last nonfiction entry is “Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years” by Julie Andrews with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Suffice it to say that Ms. Andrews never led the life of Mary Poppins. An enlightening read.
The fiction list runs the gamut from dark to thrilling. Set in Malaysia, “We, the Survivors” by Tash Aw is a tale of one man’s struggle to endure the rapid social changes of this century while maintaining his hold on a simple working life.
A giant geographical switch brings us to Maine and further stories of Olive Kitteridge in “Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout. You do not need to have read the first book named after the title character, though you may have seen the HBO series with Frances McDormand. Olive is forthrightly honest and surprisingly empathetic in this short story collection.
The 2019 National Book Award winner was “Trust Exercise” by Susan Choi. Superb characterizations and blistering story of how memories differ.
Kevin Wilson pens a fantastical story with serious themes of parental love, true friendship and loyalty in “Nothing to See Here.”
In a completely different setting, government upheaval in Tehran in the 1950’s upends the life and love of two young people. Only later will they discover the interventions of adults in their destiny in “The Stationery Store” by Marjan Kamali.
For a lighter read, try “The Last Houseguest” by Megan Miranda about deceit and class warfare on a summer island.
“Evvie Drake Starts Over” by Linda Holmes is a sweet story of Evvie and her stuttering attempts to right her life with a satisfying, but not too pat, ending.
For a spy thriller with an African American woman in the lead role, “American Spy” from Lauren Wilkinson is a gripping read and based on true events in Burkina Faso.
A blazing fast read is “City of Windows” by Robert Pobi. Here Pobi introduces a new character, Lucas Page, and I can’t wait for his next adventure.
Cheers to books!
You can reach Becky Bechhold at firstname.lastname@example.org.