June 2022 Book Marks
Summer is coming…it’s here in many parts of the country. And that means books for the beach, mountains, train, car, plane, woods, subway, chaise lounge. Basically, we need books for every occasion. So let’s get right down to these great summer reads. I’m already creating my summer pile, but here are some suggestions to get you started!
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Nora’s couch-potato husband has left her and their two children, while continuing to spend her hard-earned money with their credit card. Her love life is a mess and here’s the irony — she earns her living writing TV romance scripts. When a screenplay based on her own story is chosen for the big screen, Nora’s 100-year-old home becomes the movie location, complete with heart-throb actor Leo Vance in the “husband” role. After they wrap, Leo asks Nora if he can pay rent to stay for a week, as he has a few personal things to sort out and likes the slower pace in her town. Seven days is all he asks, but in that time, Leo becomes part of their daily life and worms his way into the kid’s hearts. Life imitates art as Nora and Leo fall in love, but then comes the twist. This tale will suck you in and make you laugh, rooting for the characters as you curse the disappearing pages of this engrossing read.
The Foundling by Ann Leary
Based on a true story from Leary’s own family, this wonderfully researched and written novel (NYT review calls her a “virtuoso”) takes us back to a time when women who “misbehaved” or spoke their own mind could be committed to an asylum by their husbands or family members. Young Mary Engle takes a job as a secretary to Dr. Agnes Vogel, a renowned psychiatrist and the superintendent of The Nettleton State Village for Feebleminded Women of Childbearing Age in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Mary, who spent time in an orphanage, is initially impressed with Dr. Vogel’s dedication to the hundreds of women in her care. But as she begins to understand more about what’s happening at the institution, she becomes aware there is a darker side of the women who was part of the early 20th century eugenics movement. When she recognizes a vibrant woman she knew from her orphanage home, the story takes an interesting turn. Don’t miss this one.
The Measure by Nikki Erlick
Throughout the world, every adult wakes up to find they’ve received a small wooden box inscribed with these words, “The measure of your life lies within.” Each box contains a string of varying length and after the initial frenzy subsides, the world understands that the string represents the exact number of years you have left to live. As the varied cast of characters responds to this information, they experience love, loss, deceit, prejudice in a multitude of actions and interactions that make up the human condition. The Chinese government wants to confiscate their citizen’s boxes, while around the world, some will choose to open their boxes and others not to know. Slowly, the world devolves into “short-stringers” and “long stringers.” At its heart, this engaging novel asks, what would you do if you knew exactly when you were going to die?
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
Lore Rivera, a married mother of two, was leading a secret double life, married to both Andres in Mexico City and Fabian in Laredo, Texas. As an international banker, she kept the two halves of her life separate until it all came crashing down when one husband killed the other. Three decades later, Cassie Bowman, a struggling true crime writer, discovers the story and becomes fixated on getting the interview. Why would a mother risk everything for a secret double marriage? As she spends time with Lore, she begins to question the facts around the murder itself, a truth that could derail both women’s lives. Told through alternating timelines, the book explores some big themes about marriage, motherhood and whether or not we can ever really know someone.
Tell Us No Secrets by Siena Sterling
Set in a girl’s boarding school in the Berkshires, the tumultuous 1960’s era has just come to a close, changing the rules for women. Four girls, with different attributes and qualities, should be looking forward to graduating for their senior year in the restrictive environment of the campus. But jealousies begin to simmer, and when trouble-making Zoey decides to create a game based on losing your virginity, a string of events are set in motion that lead to murder. Can the remaining girls keep the secret for the rest of their lives, or will something come unwound?
The Secret Life of Secrets – How Our Inner Worlds Shape Well-Being, Relationships, and Who We Are by Michael Slepian
Have you ever thought about the power of secrets for both good and bad, or the different kinds of secrets we keep and why? For example, a secret about infidelity is a different variety than a secret about an impending engagement that you want to be a surprise. Stepian is a “secret expert”, having spent the last decade studying the psychology of secrets, from what motivates us to spill them to what makes a “good secret.” As an adult, he discovered that his father was not his biological parent, plunging him into this area of study. Using more than 50,000 study participants world-wide, he breaks down the kinds of lies we tell from financial to addiction, mental health struggles and hidden relationships. Using examples like Tony Soprano, Edward Snowden of Wiki-leak fame and even Dustin Hoffman’s character in the famed “Mrs. Robinson,” you are bound to learn something about yourself!
The Bike Cop in Shadows of Dog Island Light by James Bruner
The third in the Bike Cop series set in a Maine seaside down, Digger, a rising college senior, is back to patrol the town on bike as a summer “cop.” Someone on the island is plotting revenge against a prominent family who summers there and it’s up to him to solve this before times runs out. A fun beach read in a series with a little love, a dash of family secrets and of course, mystery solved!
The Great Book of King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table by John Matthews
I was obsessed with this story as a kid, reading “The Once and Future King,” over and over. Now, one of the world’s leading Arthurian experts has re-imagined the many stories of King Arthur and his knights for a new generation of readers. A gorgeous book with illustrations and a nod back to the beautiful tradition of stories that go down through the ages….
*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!