My BookLoving friends, we have a month until Labor Day, and that means it’s time for all the beach reading your beach bags can hold.
It’s time for our next episode of #FiveBooksForYourBeachBag. Load them up, pack sunscreen and snacks – you’ve got plenty of reading to do.
Also — alert! sirens! – it’s more than halfway through 2022, and you should keep your Century Club rosters! For those who don’t know, every year I challenge my column readers to hit 100 books. Reading 25-49 gets you into the Quarter Century Club; 50-99 in the Half Century and 100+ in the Century Club. Take stock of your list and see how much you need to earn in the last half of the year.
And now, here are 5 new things to add to your cart (and your wishlist.)
1. “Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional”, by Isaac Fitzgerald
An instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller, I was initially drawn to the title. After reading it, I can see why this one has been so successful – A TIME Best Book of the Summer, a Rolling Stone Top Culture Pick, and a 2022 New England Book Award finalist, among others. Many Massachusetts readers, especially guys, can resent this one. If you liked “The Tender Bar”, by JR Moehringer, try this. From the publisher’s synopsis:
Isaac Fitzgerald was an altar boy, bartender, smuggler and biker. But before all that, he was a bombshell that blew up his parents’ lives, or so he was told.
Her essay memoirs begin with a childhood moving at breakneck speed from safety to violence, a pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to being a bartender in San Francisco, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story and embrace the idea that you can be generous to yourself by being generous to others.
2. “The Last White Man”, by Mohsin Hamid.
Attention, SouthCoast Book clubs: it’s your choice of the month of August. There’s so much to unpack here. The New York Times bestselling author “Exit West” is back with a timely novel that reads like a “Black Mirror” episode with teeth. From the publisher’s synopsis:
One morning, Anders wakes up to find himself transformed. Overnight, her skin turned black. His reflection, a stranger. Soon, reports of similar events begin to surface. Across the country, people are waking up in new incarnations, unsure of how their neighbors, friends and family will welcome them. Some see in the transformations the dreaded overthrow of the established order which must be resisted to the end. For some, a sense of deep loss and unease goes hand in hand with deep love. For Anders and his lover Oona, change is a chance for a kind of rebirth.
Ripe for book club discussions.
3. “Amazing: American Women and the Struggle for Equality: 1920-2020”, by Elisabeth Griffith
Essential reading. For high schoolers, college students, book clubs – for living humans.
Griffith earned his Ph.D. from American University and an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College, she has “spent her career working for women’s rights as an activist and scholar, teaching women’s history at the high school and college levels.” , according to the publisher. The author of “In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton,” the inspiration for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, Griffith delivers a comprehensive overview and insight into a century of struggle here.
4. “Aurora”, by David Koepp
Soon to be a Netflix movie from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, “Aurora” is a must-watch thriller. Again, like an episode of “Black Mirror”. From the publisher’s synopsis:
In Aurora, Illinois, Aubrey Wheeler is just trying to get by after splitting up from her semi-criminal ex-husband, leaving her unruly teenage son behind. Then the lights go out, all over the world. A solar storm knocked out electricity almost everywhere. Suddenly, Aubrey must assume the role of fierce protector of his suburban neighborhood. Meanwhile, his estranged brother, Thom, is a wealthy, over-prepared Silicon Valley CEO who plans to ride out the crisis in a gilded bunker. But the convoluted story between the siblings is far from over, and what looks like the end of the world is just the beginning of several long-running accounts…
5. “The Lost Kings”, by Tyrell Johnson
As you now know, BookLovers, I’m a thriller/mystery lover, and this was another page-turner. From the publisher’s synopsis:
Stuck in a cabin in the Washington countryside with their alcoholic father, twins Jeanie and Jamie King are inseparable. Until the evening when their father comes home covered in blood. The next day he left… and so did Jamie. Jeanie is torn from everything she knows, including Maddox, the boy she might learn to love.
Twenty years later, Jeanie is in England, drinking too much and sleeping with a married man, when Maddox reappears, claiming to have found her father. Stunned, Jeanie must decide whether to continue running from her past or confront her father and finally find out what really happened that night, where her brother is and why she was the one left behind… #ReadInOneDay
Lauren Daley is a freelance writer. She tweets @laurendaley1. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/daley.writer.