Confession: I’ve been a lazy writer so far this summer. In addition to some traveling, I’ve de -stressed with my doggos and I’ve devoured several audiobooks. Hence, it’s time for a summer themed book post! If you’ve been looking for the perfect read, I’ve got you. I have read some truly engrossing titles and I’m here with the low down on the best pool/beach reads to grab or download for your summer reading pleasure!!
Liane Moriarty is my new favorite author, and this is the book that hooked me. The movie version is in development, starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Moriarty begins this story with a barbecue and deftly employs foreshadowing throughout the novel. Something goes badly wrong for Sam and his wife, cellist Clementine, at Tiffany and Vid’s barbecue. Adding to that, there is the non traditional childhood friendship between Clementine and Erica. Erica’s Mom is a hoarder; Clementine’s family took Erica under their wing and many residual issues remain. I highly recommend the audiobook; Narrator Caroline Lee and her lilting Aussie accent are the icing on the cake of this 4 star novel.
I have long enjoyed the literary readability of Jodi Picoult’s novels. This is her best book to date and it’s being adapted into a major film starring Julia Roberts and Viola Davis. With deft skill, she uses third person omniscient point of view to give readers the inside track on the main character, Ruth, and her white supremacist antagonist, Turk. A series of unfortunate events land Ruth smack in the middle of a courtroom trial where her entire future hinges on lawyer Kennedy’s ability to exonerate her. Picoult explores the issue of racism in a deep and meaningful way in this 5 star read.
I’m late to the game on this one, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing. My affinity for YA literature requires me to recognize Neil Gaiman’s first adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Written from the POV of the young narrator, Gaiman unfolds a tale that is both quiet and terrifying. The action happens almost entirely in flashback, but that does not detract from the literary genius; the narrator, Lettie Hempstock, and Ursula Moncton are dynamic and memorable. Gaiman successfully brings elements of fantasy and childhood horror to this 5 star adult debut.
From time to time, I like a gritty novel, especially if it’s a prison drama. Rachel Kushner does not disappoint with The Mars Room. From the streets of San Francisco and the Tenderloin, to the Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, we enter the world of Romy Hall. Hall’s story unfolds throughout the novel, as we become party to the unfortunate event that landed her in jail. Kushner sheds light on how misogynistic tendencies lead to violence. This is my only 3 star novel on the list; I would have given it 4, but there is a slow part toward the end.
Liane Moriarty wrote the great Australian novel in Big Little Lies. Already an HBO series with multiple seasons, run, do not walk, to grab this book. This is the kind of read that can make non readers engage in a novel. I know I’m late to the game here, also (published in 2014), but I’m including BLL for folks like me who simply didn’t know what they were missing. The novel centers on three women – Jane, Madeline, and Celeste and the friendship that ensues when their children start Kindergarten. The plot techniques of hook and flashback are deftly employed to keep readers engrossed – we know something goes badly wrong at a trivia night, but we have no idea what occurs. I could not stop listening to Caroline Lee’s narration; I was completely engrossed in the plot and characters. More importantly, Moriarty deeply explores the issue of domestic violence in this exceptionally well written 5 star novel.