April 2022 Book Marks
My own daughter, Cathryn, was the inspiration for this post. I’ve watched the tremendous effort and personal sacrifice it has taken for her to launch the product “PLUS,” zero waste body wash sheets that are 100% dissolvable including the packaging.
And as someone who remembers the very first Earth Day in 1970, it’s been nice to see that all my years of recycling, composting and washing out zip lock bags made some kind of an impact on my kids. It gives me tremendous hope to know that Cathryn and the rest of these truly game-changing women are working to create a more responsible planet.
Reminder… nothing feels better than recycling a good book to a friend! So without further fanfare… here’s April’s crop of good reads.
The Good Left Undone by Adriani Trigiani
With yet another hit on her hands, Trigiani brings her engaging storytelling talents to the sweeping tale of an Italian family that begins with an elephant in an Indian ruby mine. The family of jewelers in present day Italy has grown and expanded as their matriarch, Matelda, lives out the last of her days. Before she dies, Matelda is determined to give her jewelry away to the relatives she thinks would love and appreciate them. As she does, she hopes to tell the story of each piece as it relates to her life, so that her children will know her. One big family secret, however, must be told, so that each of her children can truly know themselves. The book toggles back and forth in time from present day to Scotland and Italy back to WW2, with the expulsion of the “Britalians,” sent back to Italy from the U.K. as potential enemy sympathizers.
Sister Stardust by Jane Green
Tabitha Getty is a famous socialite and actress living in Marrakesh with her oil heir husband, Paul Getty. She’s at the top of the social scene during the transformative 60’s, with a bird’s eye view as the counterculture takes root in popular culture, art and music. When ingenue Claire arrives in London from a small town, she is instantly taken with Tabitha and her lifestyle and they become fast friends. But fortune and fame have a dark side, and beneath the surface, Tabitha’s precarious hold on everything in her life will suck Claire into a vortex that will forever change her life. This tale, from a gifted writer, is also about one of the most fascinating and dynamic moments in the 20th century.
Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott
One dark morning, Philpott wakes to an unusual sound and finds her son on the floor with his first epileptic seizure. Told in a series of sequential essays, the author tackles universal parental worries over how we keep everyone safe, worrying about the other shoe dropping and the ways in which optimism can co-exist with our fear of the unknown. Each essay highlights a small beautiful thing, from a neighborhood turtle who knocks at their door to a boyfriend sweater, while plumbing the depths of our limitations and possibilities. Philpott writing beautifully exposes intricate human emotions that are often hard to articulate.
The Wise Women by Gina Sorell
There are three women in the Wise family and each of them have made a little mess of their lives. Wendy Wise, mother to Clementine and Barb, has had a career as an advice columnist. But when it comes to love and relationships with her own daughters, they haven’t always felt that she’s been there for them. When Wendy travels to New York to pay them a surprise visit, both girls are at turning points in their lives. Clementine’s husband has done something unforgiveable and she’s facing the prospect of being a single mother with their son Ethan. Barb’s stressful job and relationship with personal trainer Jill is going nowhere. Between Wendy’s efforts to “fix” things, an Instagram influencer and numerous other colorful characters, this story reminds us that while mothers and daughters can annoy the heck out of one another, those bonds are for life.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Imagine if there were a secret place where you could purchase untraceable potions and poisons to exact revenge. In 18th century London, Nella is the mysterious owner of such a place, and her vast knowledge of herbs and tinctures is available only to women who seek justifiable relief or revenge on the oppressive men in their lives. Two hundred years later, after discovering that her husband has been unfaithful, Caroline Parcewell arrives alone in London for what was supposed to be her 10th anniversary trip. When she discovers an antique vial from the old shop, she begins a hunt to discover the truth about the unsolved apothecary murderer centuries earlier. When Caroline’s husband arrives in London to woo her back, she must determine what she truly wants and find the power to chart her own future.
Last Call at the Hotel Imperial – Reporters Who Took on a World War by Deborah Cohen
People reminisce about the golden age of journalism in the early days of the 20th century, and the present war in Ukraine reminds us of the risk journalists take to get the story. This incredibly well-researched book covers an iconic group of cup reporters who roamed a war ravaged world in the 1920’s while empires collapsed and democracies faltered. Gunther, Knickerbocker, Sheehan and Thompson (the only woman) became a close-knit American band who rewrote the rules of modern journalism, riding atop mules or first-class sleeper cars, chasing empresses and Balkan gun-runners, while charging toward the story. The result is a vivid work of narrative history, uniting public and private affairs, that illuminates what it was like to live through the upheaval of the world between wars.
Inspired – Understanding Creativity, A Journey Through Art, Science, and the Soul by Matt Richtel
What is creativity and how does it work? What secrets can some of our most innovative creators teach us and how do we tap into our own potential? This Pulitzer prize-winning science reporter uses compelling storytelling examples and global research to break down the mystery of creative inspiration. Through interviews with creative people from the worlds of art, science, sports, technology and music, we begin to understand both the power that lives within each of us and how that can be tapped to positively impact the lives of so many others.
*These are books I genuinely love and am thrilled to recommend to my friends. These are Bookshop.org affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Alternately, if you prefer to rent books at your local library or buy from your local bookstore, I very much support that!