We’ve had a wonderful summer with lots of travel, friends, new jewels, and books! For those of you with young ones going back to school (or if you’re going back to school yourself), enjoy these back-to-school reads. For the rest of us, here’s what I recommend squeezing in during the last glorious days of summer. Some of these I recently read and loved, and one is in my to-read stack. Read it with me and tell me what you think :)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
This is a delightful historical novel of Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. It starts out slowly with a lot of rambling anecdotes. But hang in there, because the seemingly disparate plot points come together. Not a beach read — best read by the fire (or better yet, the outdoor fire pit) with a vintage Cabernet. Check out the Audible version; the reader has a fantastic voice.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
This was a quick and enjoyable read that gave me new insight into the history of pu’er tea and China’s Yunnan province. It was a glimpse into the protagonist’s minority tribe and its customs. Some very interesting, and some rather troubling traditions as shown through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl who comes of age within them.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
This one was on my to-read list, and my book club blessedly assigned it! Read it with me by mid-September, and let me know what you think. Our book club is run by a former English professor, and I’m interested to hear his take and yours! Some serious readers I admire have told me it’s among the best books they’ve ever read. Written in poetic verse, it’s about Abraham Lincoln in the state of existence between death and rebirth of traditional Tibetan Buddhism.
Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes
We have no picture of this one, because it was a road trip audio book. This book is pure trash, but in the best kind of way! It’s a murder mystery that hooks you from the beginning, and is a real page-turner. Great for a beach read or - as my youngest daughter and I did - a road trip listen.
Middlemarch by George Elliot
I recommended this one to my book club, because I knew I’d need to be assigned it as homework. As a result, I finally read one of my bucketlist books! It’s a very lengthy novel set in the 1870s. A masterpiece in depicting country life with all its foibles, Elliot follows three couples whose marriages are at different levels of happiness. Ironically, her rendition of peoples’ character is still relevant today. She doesn’t sugarcoat it — unusual for a 19th c. woman author (though she did write under a pen name). She describes life as it was and marriage as it often still is.
And one more for good measure:
One solid piece of non-fiction to round out the summer. It’s a moving story that helped me better understand the fabric of our nation.