What are you going to read this summer? Summertime always brings lists of books recommended for bringing along on vacation or to the beach. I’ve been looking through the lists that are out so far, looking for the ones the book reviewers agree on. Following are several of the books we have at the Litchfield Library that are getting a lot of press.
Annie Proulx has a new novel out titled Barkskins. Proulx is famous for writing The Shipping News, which won both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award, and Brokeback Mountain. Barkskins is an epic story of a family working in the lumber business. It begins in the 1600s with a Frenchman enduring great hardship as he takes down trees in the vast North American forests. The story continues through the generations and across continents through more than 300 years of history as humanity levels forest after forest. A wide range of reviewers are praising the fascinating characters and the beautiful and compelling writing in this one.
Emma Straub’s The Vacationers was one of the beach reads of 2014. This year her novel Modern Lovers is getting a lot of attention. It asks: what happens when you age out of being cool? A group of college friends who used to have a band have hung onto being hip, but now their children are going off to college themselves. Living now as neighbors, with the trappings of adulthood, these friends grapple with what being an adult truly means. Despite the depth, this book is described by many reviewers as entertaining.
I was at a meeting of librarians recently and the book I heard about over lunch was The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. It’s been showing up on many published summer book lists, too. This novel is about four adult siblings who are waiting for their inheritance to be distributed once the youngest turns forty. They have all made life decisions in anticipation of this windfall, but one brother causes an accident and ends up endangering that money for all of them. The writing is described as warm and funny even though the family is highly dysfunctional.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice, the classic by Jane Austen. Liz is a magazine writer and Jane is a yoga instructor, both living in New York City. They return to their parents’ home when their father has a health scare, and they rejoin life with their directionless younger sisters and their mother who wants them all to get married before they get too old. Of course, Dr. Bingley and his friend Dr. Darcy are new in town. Reviewers say it’s clever and charming.
And finally, Stephen King has come out with the final book in his Bill Hodges trilogy, End of Watch. The first two books are Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers. Library Journal says that one would expect the prolific King to run out of ideas by now, but this is one of the most original crime thrillers to come out in years. If you like Stephen King, you won’t be able to put this one down.
Whether you’d like to read some fluffy romance or some dense historical nonfiction this summer, we can set you up with what you need. If you want the most popular book in our library system right now, A Man Called Ove, you may have a bit of a wait. Leave it to a Swedish book about a curmudgeon and his neighbors to appeal to Minnesotans. Take a look at our shelf of new books to pick up some of the newest fiction and nonfiction that’s available right now, or place an order for something popular or obscure. Enjoy the summer days as you relax with a good book!