Time for the second quarter post about books.
I never read as much in the second quarter because I’m addicted to the NHL Playoffs and there’s not much time for reading when I’m watching hockey 9 hours a day for two months.
So, here we go, the best books I’ve read since we talked about books last:
DEMON COPPERHEAD by Barbara Kingsolver. It just won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Inspired by Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield,’ it’s a story that will touch your heart through a voice so true it’s hard to believe it comes out of that pen. I was introduced to the author through The Poisonwood Bible, which I also loved, but this is the best book I’ve read this year.
THE END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN by Francis Fukuyama. This non-fiction book was written in 1992 but it feels more relevant today given what’s happening in Ukraine, Russia, China and the Middle Eastern theocracies. At once terrifying and hopeful, if you like history and/or philosophy, you’ll like this book.
THE FOUR WINDS: A NOVEL by Kristin Hannah. She just tells great stories and this is one of her best. She’ll break your heart at times because you feel the truth of the families you’ll meet, especially when you realize your own heritage is linked to these events.
THIS TENDER LAND: A NOVEL by William Kent Krueger. Like The Four Winds, Krueger sets his story during America’s Great Depression. It’s the story of 4 orphans and their struggle to survive their amazing odyssey. It’s an easy read but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also a wonderful, full-hearted book.
TRANSCRIPTION: A NOVEL by Kate Atkinson. If you liked Life After Life by Atkinson, you’ll love this one. She has such a biting wit and while the story of a young English girl making her way after the death of her mother, just as World War 2 is breaking out, is deadly serious, you will laugh out loud at times. Life After Life may have been more inventive, but this is the better story.
LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY: A NOVEL by Bonnie Garmus. What an enjoyable read! It’s hilarious at times, but also touching, and the heroine is unlike anyone I’ve read about before. She’s totally unique. I think you’ll LOVE this book and the cast of characters you meet while reading it!
THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS: A NOVEL by Jennifer Rosner. “Rosner’s exquisite, heart-rending debut novel is proof that there’s always going to be room for another story about World War II….This is an absolutely beautiful and necessary novel, full of heartbreak but also hope, about the bond between mother and daughter, and the sacrifices made for love.“ (The NY Times review) This book reads like non-fiction. It’s difficult, deeply emotional, and I’m so glad I read it, especially after just watching A Small Light, about Miep Gies trying to save Otto Frank and his family.
THE WAGER: A TALE OF SHIPWRECK, MUTINY AND MURDER by David Grann. I had already read his books, Killers of the Flower Moon (a Martin Scorcese film based on the story coming this Fall, starring De Niro and DiCaprio) and The Lost City of Z, and enjoyed both, but it was his interview on PBS’ Fresh Air that enticed me to read his latest. It’s an almost unbelievable story of deprivation and perseverance, all the more incredible because – as with Gann’s other books – it is true! These people in the 18th and 19th centuries were just tougher than we are.
Ok, those are the highlights. Now give me one book you’ve read that I must read before summer is over.