What to read in September!
My lead book today is an absolute must read. I feel confident that everyone will love this book. “Ask Again, Yes” by Mary Beth Keane is a true gem. Great story, beautiful writing and I just heard it has been optioned for a series (move over “Big Little Lies”!). By turns tragic, redemptive, heartbreaking and dazzling, this story of two families over the course of decades is profoundly moving and uplifting.
“The Lager Queen of Minnesota” by J. Ryan Stradal is another contemporary family saga but more of a warm, wry and wholly honest depiction of the task oriented, determined mid-Western work ethic utilizing the craft beer industry as the setting.
For crime fans, I have two offerings. “Conviction” by Denise Mina has a jilted housewife hunting the truth to a murder she learns of via podcast. She knows the victim and has her own past secrets in this fast paced, complex thriller that reads at high speed. Do not underestimate a woman scorned. “The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone” by Australian writer Felicity McClean is more of a simmering, darkly comic, mystery/coming of age story. Tikka, the lead character is obsessed with the “dingo ate my baby” story of her childhood and it clearly had an effect on her childhood psyche.
In “The Gone Dead” by Chanelle Benz, the narrator, Billie returns to the Mississippi Delta to claim her rundown shack of an inheritance and to seek the truth regarding her Father’s death. Benz is an excellent writer of dialogue and place. You will feel the mosquitoes buzzing around your sweat-covered neck as you read.
“Patsy” by Nicole Dennis-Benn follows Patsy and her daughter, Tru. While Patsy leaves her child in Jamaica to pursue her dream in New York City, Tru is left behind to piece together a life with no mother to anchor and guide her. Patsy’s story illustrates the immigrant experience - a gritty but enlightening story.
If you truly want to challenge yourself, try “Mostly Dead Things” by Kristen Arnett. Jessa-Lynn takes over her father’s taxidermy business after he commits suicide. This book is dark, eccentric and at times macabre, but don’t shy away. Remember what we said last month about getting outside the box?
I was a huge fan of Bill Cunningham’s New York Times column “On the Street.” He had the most unerring eye for style and he seemed to be exceedingly humble and unpretentious, living in the cramped apartments above Carnegie Hall with other artistes. “Fashion Climbing” was published posthumously. Unedited but altogether charming and revealing of his madcap life before he became the celebrated photographer. A breezy but not unsubstantial read.
Can’t wait to write next month’s column! Happy reading.
Becky is a voracious reader who loves to help others find their next great read. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, or to request to be added to an automatic email of this column.