June 2021 Book Marks
I just arrived at my favorite place in the world, the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. I’m ready to kick back, work remotely and relax amidst the familiarity and comfort of a lakeside summer.
But right now, we are covered in poop. Yes, I said poop. There is currently a total invasion of gypsy moth caterpillars, the likes of which I have never seen. They are literally munching the leaves down to nubs and dropping their sand-grain leaf poop everywhere! I planted kale and lettuce and came back five days later and accused my sister of cutting it with scissors. Turns out it was the caterpillars. Ahhh, just when we believe with all our man-made hubris that we can tame mother nature, she shows us another trick.
But I’m not about to let the critters dampen this summer, not after the year we’ve all just come through. I’m ready to hug old friends, lie in the sun and fill my spare moments with a good read.
Whether you’re headed to the mountains, shore, lake, desert or an island… don’t forget to bring a book!
Ruby Falls by Deborah Goodrich Royce
Royce made her mark as a noir writer with her first thriller “Finding Mrs. Ford,” and she cements her talents with this tale about Ruby, a young girl abandoned by her father in a Tennessee cave. Eager to escape her past, she changes her name to Eleanor, becomes a soap opera star twenty years later (like the author!) but then is summarily fired under a set of weird circumstances. She meets and marries aristocratic stranger Orlando and they build a new life in the Hollywood Hills, where she continues to hide her past. As she immerses herself in the lead role in Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca,” her past begins to bubble up and it becomes obvious that her husband may be hiding his own deadly secret.
Haven Point by Virginia Hume
Set in Haven Point, a small community on Maine’s rocky coast, this sweeping saga begins with a WW2 love story between a nurse and Dr. Oliver Demarest, a handsome Boston Brahmin and summer resident of Haven Point. Moving through three generations of strong women, the story enters the Vietnam era, where a tragedy creates a secret that will haunt the family into the future. Despite the births and deaths, betrayals and reconciliations, and the secrets and truths, Haven Point is the one constant that binds them together as a family.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
A 17 year-old girl named Lenni meets an 83 year-old, live-out-loud, purple pajama-wearing rebel named Margot in a Glasgow terminal cancer ward. Margot is determined to help Lenni learn how to live, even though she’s been told she is dying. With the help of a palliative care nurse and the hospital chaplain, they create 100 paintings representing the collective number of years they have lived to showcase the stories of love, courage, loss and joy.
The Mediterranean Wall by Louis-Philippe Dalembert
This award-winning Haitian author based his novel on the true story of a tortuous crossing and rescue from Libya to Italy. With three female protagonists, each representing a facet of the refugee experience, the author’s story illustrates the courage it takes to set-out for the unknown because it’s your best chance at survival. While each of the women have different class distinctions, acts of kindness will bring them together. The book puts a face on the issue of immigration and reminds us that behind the news headlines are human beings with hopes and dreams who aspire to something better.
From The Ashes by Jesse Thistle
In his best-selling Canadian book, Thistle creates a heart-wrenching tale of growing up as a young man of mixed indigenous heritage in Saskatchewan. Born into generational prejudice and trauma, with a drug-addicted father and a mother who fled domestic violence, Jesse is abandoned by both parents. Toggling through the foster care system and sometimes living with his tough-love grandparents, he spent more than a decade on the streets. Fighting his own addiction and being incarcerated should have been the end of his story, but the powers of education, love and the human spirit gave him the strength to turn his life around.
The Miracle Collectors – Uncovering Stories of Wonder, Joy and Mystery by Joan Luise Hill and Katie Mahon
As a follow-up to their first book, the authors bring us a new spate of stories about small and large miracles that exist all around. These tales of forgiveness, courage, faith, hope and gratitude remind us that when we are fully present, we can feel their presence. Some of the stories defy explanation and others invite us to take a closer look and appreciate the things we can’t necessarily see.
Tiger in the Sea by Eric Lindner
In 1962, more than 50 years before Sully heroically landed his plane on the Hudson, Pilot John Murray faced a similar dilemma. At the height of the Cold War, Flying Tiger 923 captured the world’s attention as Murray flew his burning commercial airliner through gale force winds and landed in the middle of the Atlantic on a rough sea without breaking apart. Four flight attendants and 68 passengers, including elementary school children from Hawaii, were all aboard. This well-researched story draws a detailed portrait of the passengers and reads like a novel as the world races to save the survivors before they drown or die from hypothermia.
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
From the best-selling author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” comes a book of essays that examine the contradictions of humanity in the context of a five-star rating. The term Anthropocene refers to the current geological age where we humans have reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. This collection of ways in which we fall in love with the world and forge our own paths grew out of Green’s popular podcast.
*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!