Summer is officially here and I am so ready to hit the sunny beaches! I put together this great list of reads to pack in your beach bag for while you’re soaking up the sun.
The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor – One summer day on the beach in Florida, two extraordinary things happen to Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is bitten by a blacktip shark. Set against the intoxicating backdrop of palm trees, calypso bands, and perfect ocean views, The Shark Club is a story of the mysterious passions of one woman’s life: her first love and new love; the sea and sharks that inhabit it.
The Storied City: The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save Its Past by Charlie English – “Timbuktu is a real place, and Charlie English will fuel your wanderlust with true descriptions of the fabled city’s past, present, and future.” –Fodor’s
Two tales of a city: The historical race to “discover” one of the world’s most mythologized places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend.
And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz – Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who’s always nurtured Nora’s talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history’s most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It’s a no-brainer: Nora is in!
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy – The tale begins with Anjum who used to be Aftab unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi. As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents what a novel can do and can be. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.
What We Lose – A Novel by Zinzi Clemmons – In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.
Infinite Summer by Edoardo Nesi – Infinite Summer brings the reader back to Italy in the 1970s, a time when growth and full employment propelled smart and industrious young men to create companies devoted to design, architecture, automobiles, and more. Three men share a dream of building a textile factory from scratch. Ivo Barrocciai, the enthusiastic son of a textile artisan, embarks on an elaborate project: to build a luxurious factory that will be “the envy of the Milanese.” He recruits Cesare Vezzosi, a small building contractor, and Pasquale Citarella, a hardworking foreman from the south. Their relationships with each other and with their wives, their secret passions, their ambitions, and the compromises they have to make create a comical, moving fresco. It is at once a family saga and a love story—not only about people, but also about a reborn, ambitious, and courageous nation that revolutionized taste and fashion, a nation proud and thrilled with its new place in the world. Nesi shows us Italy at its best: the Italy with which we fell in love.
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy – When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The adults are lulled by the ship’s comfort and ease. The four children—ages six to eleven—love the nonstop buffet and their newfound independence. But when they all go ashore for an adventure in Central America, a series of minor misfortunes and miscalculations leads the families farther from the safety of the ship. One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone. The disintegration of the world the families knew—told from the perspectives of both the adults and the children—is both riveting and revealing. The parents, accustomed to security and control, turn on each other and blame themselves, while the seemingly helpless children discover resources they never knew they possessed.
A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids by Margot Datz – In A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids, artist Margot Datz sees the she-nymph within, struggling to emerge, and in a swirl of whimsical and witty wisdom, lovingly offers tips for today’s world of dating, mating, and beyond. Margot’s beautifully painted, contemporary mermaids are caught in the nets of their own comical dilemmas, circling the heart’s fishbowl of romantic longings and in the murky depths of deep emotion. Whether it’s the value of cultivating an inner water garden or coping with crow’s feet and fish tails, Margot offers advice and an enchanting way of hydrating your weary mermaid soul.