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In my part of the world, summer means a time for a bit of lazy reading by the pool or in a hammock, under a tree, on a raft or under a beach umbrella. In hotter places, it may mean in an air conditioned library or special garden with palm trees rattling their leaves.
For some readers, summer is a time for lighter books and for some people it is the time when they are relaxed enough to pay attention to a long, deeply layered novel.
Books I have already read and enjoyed and recommend for the beach
1. A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd. Mnemosyne mentioned that the author had a new mystery series set in WW I with a heroine name Bess Crawford. Like Maisie Dodd, she is a nurse. I couldn’t lay the book down. I have ordered the second book, An Impartial Witness.
2. Regarding Ducks and Universes by Neve Maslakovic. Limelite discussed this on May 26th and will also use it for another diary discussion on June 9th. It is a story about parallel universes as well as being a mystery. It is a quick read and fun, too.
3. The Haunting Emma series by Lee Nichols is a young adult series with ghosts and it is both fun and chilling. I am not usually one to read these kind of stories, but I have very much enjoyed these. The first book is Deception and you want to have Betrayer handy. The third one, Surrender, is coming out in early December.
4. MT Spaces convinced me to try a children’s story Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson. It was lots of fun and perfect for summer. The quirky family is going to live at a lighthouse with all that means. Will they change the lighthouse or will the island life change them or both?
5. Set in India, Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a wonderful story of two young women who have been raised together and who love each other as sisters.
6. The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin is poignant and heart-warming. It is about love and a lake and fishing and dying where you most want to die.
7. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is the sequel to The Name of the Wind. These fantasies are wonderful and new. What would you do if you could call the wind? What would you do if you came upon a beautiful faery? Why is the innlord waiting to die?
8. The City and the City by China Mieville, a fantasy mystery, takes careful reading to get all the implications of the two cities living side by side. The reader has to pay attention. Hints and clues are handed out while you are still puzzling out how the whole thing works and why a breach (small b) is such a problem and will be punished and who the Breach (capital B) are who handle problems.
Pg. 37 The chief investigator of the murder thinks of a breach:
My informant should not have seen the posters. They were not in his country. He should never have told me. He made me accessory. The information was an allergen in Beszel-the mere fact of it in my head was a kind of trauma. I was complicit. It was done. (Perhaps because I was drunk it did not occur to me then that it had not been necessary for him to tell me how he had come by the information, and the he had to have had reasons for doing so.)
Pg. 66 He remembers the Breach:
In seconds, the Breach came. Shapes, figures, some of whom perhaps had been there but who nonetheless seemed to coalesce from spaces between smoke from the accident, moving too fast it seemed to be clearly seen, moving with authority and power so absolute that within seconds they had controlled, contained, the area of the intrusion. The powers were almost impossible, seemed almost impossible, to make out….Breach, organizing, cauterizing, restoring.
These kind of rare situations were when one might glimpse Breach, performing what they did.
Books that I will read this summer
1. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough
The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.
After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. As David McCullough writes, “Not all pioneers went west.” Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne because of a burning desire to know more about everything. There he saw black students with the same ambition he had, and when he returned home, he would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate, almost at the cost of his life.
Two staunch friends, James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse, worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Cooper writing and Morse painting what would be his masterpiece. From something he saw in France, Morse would also bring home his momentous idea for the telegraph.
Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk from New Orleans launched his spectacular career performing in Paris at age 15. George P. A. Healy, who had almost no money and little education, took the gamble of a lifetime and with no prospects whatsoever in Paris became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the day. His subjects included Abraham Lincoln.
Medical student Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote home of his toil and the exhilaration in “being at the center of things” in what was then the medical capital of the world. From all they learned in Paris, Holmes and his fellow “medicals” were to exert lasting influence on the profession of medicine in the United States.
Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all “discovering” Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city’s boulevards and gardens. “At last I have come into a dreamland,” wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom’s Cabin had brought her. Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris and even more atrocious nightmare of the Commune. His vivid account in his diary of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris (drawn on here for the first time) is one readers will never forget. The genius of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the son of an immigrant shoemaker, and of painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, three of the greatest American artists ever, would flourish in Paris, inspired by the examples of brilliant French masters, and by Paris itself.
2. 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart
As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of our defining national drama, 1861 presents a gripping and original account of how the Civil War began.
1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents’ faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal. It set Abraham Lincoln on the path to greatness and millions of slaves on the road to freedom.
The book introduces us to a heretofore little-known cast of Civil War heroes—among them an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer’s wife, an idealistic band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, a community of Virginia slaves, and a young college professor who would one day become president. Adam Goodheart takes us from the corridors of the White House to the slums of Manhattan, from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the deserts of Nevada, from Boston Common to Alcatraz Island, vividly evoking the Union at this moment of ultimate crisis and decision.
Books that sound good
1. For Spenser fans…sigh:
Sixkill (Spenser Series #39) by Robert B. Parker
On location in Boston, bad-boy actor Jumbo Nelson is accused of the rape and murder of a young woman. From the start the case seems fishy, so the Boston PD calls on Spenser to investigate. The situation doesn't look good for Jumbo, whose appetites for food, booze, and sex are as outsized as his name. He was the studio's biggest star, but he's become their biggest liability.
In the course of the investigation, Spenser encounters Jumbo's bodyguard: a young, former football-playing Native American named Zebulon Sixkill. Sixkill acts tough, but Spenser sees something more within the young man. Despite the odd circumstances, the two forge an unlikely alliance, with Spenser serving as mentor for Sixkill. As the case grows darker and secrets about both Jumbo and the dead girl come to light, it's Spenser-with Sixkill at his side-who must put things right.
2. The Fifth Witness (Mickey Haller Series #4 ) by Michael Connelly
Coming in time for summer:
Misery Bay (Alex McKnight Series #8) by Steve Hamilton
Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum Series #17) by Janet Evanovich
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R. R. Martin
Portrait of a Spy (Gabriel Allon Novel #11) by Daniel Silva
The Reversal (Harry Bosch Series #16 & Mickey Haller Series #3) by Michael Connelly
Coming Sept. 6th…the very end of summer…
Pirate King: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King
Coming Sept. 20 is the next book in a fantasy series that I really like. My friend rosamundi reminded me. Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara
Previous books in the series:
Chronicles of Elantra series
Cast in Shadow
Cast in Courtlight
Cast in Secret
Cast in Fury
Cast in Silence
Cast in Chaos
Coming Oct. 18th so not in time for summer, but…
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race by Jon Stewart
Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science and culture -- all in a tome of approximately 256 pages with lots of color photos, graphs and charts.
After two weeks of hard work, they had their book. EARTH (The Book) is the definitive guide to our species. With their trademark wit, irreverence, and intelligence, Stewart and his team will posthumously answer all of life's most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity, or even accuracy.
Old favorites that are perfect for the summer…if you missed them
1. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
3. Mama Day by Gloria Naylor (GussieFN got me to read it)
4. Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
5. Dragondoom by Dennis L. McKiernan
What books do you recommend for summer fun?
Diaries of the Week
Write On! When reasonable characters agree
Thursday Classical Music OPUS 40: Tchaikovsky Symphony #4
Red At Night (Random Musings on a 45th Birthday)
Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:47 AM EDT
"A Fight Against Overwhelming Odds From Which Survival Could Not Be Expected"
plf515 has a book talk on Wednesday mornings early.
sarahnity’s list of DKos authors