Now that summer is clearly upon us and the weather is warming up, it is once again time to make reading an outside activity. In my opinion, there isn't anything more relaxing...assuming the mosquitos are in check! Luckily, there are all kinds of great new and forthcoming releases to choose from. Here are five books that are on my radar for summer reading.
I’ve just started A Pure Heart by Rajia Hassib, which is about two sisters from Egypt who take very different paths in life. It begins with Rose, an Egyptologist who married an American journalist and immigrated to New York City, as she sorts through the belongings of Gameela, her sister who remained in Cairo. During the aftermath of Egypt's revolution, Gameela was killed in a suicide bombing and now Rose is struggling to put together the mystery behind her sister’s final year. Complicated familial and marital relationships, social customs, religion and class differences are all covered off by this elegantly written novel. I’m definitely enjoying it so far! Please note that it will not be released until August, but you can place a hold in our catalogue here.
If you like reading about dysfunctional families (think The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeny or Commonwealth by Ann Patchett), you may be interested in picking up The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin. Moving back and forth through time, it recounts the complex but loving relationships of four siblings whose lives are irrevocably changed after their father dies unexpectedly when they're children. Their mother sinks into depression and the kids -- ranging in age from four to 11 -- must fend for themselves for three years. This one is on my radar because the audiobook (available through the library’s Hoopla Digital) is narrated by Cassandra Campbell, one of the most prolific and awarded narrators out there. The story will be in good hands.
In A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum (pictured), three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn by individual desire, educational ambitions, and devastating tragedy. The mores of traditional Arab culture are also examined in this novel, described by Kirkus Reviews as “a richly detailed and emotionally charged debut.” It has been on so many “best of/most anticipated” lists in 2019 that I’ve lost track.
As far as more traditional “beach reads” go, I’m looking forward to checking out The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley. In a plot that seems extremely reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers, this novel follows an assortment of flawed characters as they vacation at a beach resort in Mexico designed to whip their marriages into shape. The part that has me intrigued is that all of these bizarre character dynamics are set against the backdrop of a deadly hurricane looming off the coast of their vacation paradise. Look for this novel when it is released in June.
British writer Clare Mackintosh has quickly become known for her twisty, compelling novels of psychological suspense. However, her latest book titled After the End, which is due out next month, seems less like a thriller and more like a novel of domestic fiction. It follows a devoted couple who disagree on how to proceed when their son falls critically ill and they receive conflicting doctor recommendations. I’m interested to find out how Mackintosh fares as she ventures into new genre territory.
These books can be reserved by visiting your branch of the County of Lennox & Addington Libraries or by clicking one of the titles above and placing a hold online.
This article was originally published in The Napanee Beaver.