June 20, 2013
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Books to Savor This Summer

A lazy, hazy summer afternoon is the perfect time to get lost in the pages of a great book.  Whether you find yourself on a beach, by the pool, in the shade of a favorite tree, or simply in your air-conditioned living room, these recommended reads are sure to keep you company and will pair nicely with an ice-cold glass of lemonade.

Thank you to Pam Stolpman of Trilogy at Monarch Dunes (author of “The Reading Corner” series in Trilogy Life Magazine), for suggesting this summer reading list to her fellow Trilogy members.

The Aviator’s Wife
By Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin’s captivating novel follows the “dizzying highs and devastating lows” of the marriage of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  In the years that follow her headline-making wedding to the celebrated Colonel Charles Lindbergh, Anne feels as though she is living in her husband’s shadow.  Despite her own major accomplishments – becoming the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States, for example – she continues to be viewed as “the aviator’s wife.”  The heartbreak that accompanies her fairy-tale marriage to Charles pushes Anne to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence.  The Aviator’s Wife offers a compelling portrayal of what made the extraordinary relationship of Charles and Anne endure.

The Art Forger
By B.A. Shapiro

B.A. Shapiro’s thrilling debut novel is set almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is still the largest unsolved art theft in history.  When one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of young artist Claire Roth, she agrees to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in a renowned art gallery.  After working closely with the painting, she begins to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece, which had been hanging at the Gardner Museum for one hundred years, may itself be a forgery.

Quiet
By Susan Cain

Approximately one in three people in this world are introverts.  They favor listening to speaking; they have innovative ideas but dislike self-promotion; they prefer working independently to team collaboration.  Supported by in-depth research and fascinating true stories of introverts, author Susan Cain argues that introverted people – with their willingness to listen, thoughtfulness, and persistence – are dramatically undervalued in a culture that tends to celebrate those who honk their own horns and make themselves heard.  Cain helps extroverts to better understand their introverted peers; offers valuable advice to parents and teachers of introverts; and encourages her fellow introverts to stretch themselves on occasion to come out of their shells and make their quietly powerful ideas known.

Rules of Civility
By Amar Towles

Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility follows a year in the life of twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent as she embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool to the highest social circles of New York society.  We first meet Katey on New Year’s Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where she happens to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome and intriguing banker.  This chance encounter sets in motion a series of events that will forever change the direction of Katey’s life as she uses her wit and charm to navigate New York’s social strata.  With its dazzling, black-and-white cinematic depiction of Manhattan in the 30’s, and immensely appealing characters, Towles’ first novel is a sophisticated and engaging summer read.

The Orchardist
By Amanda Coplin
In her stunning debut novel, Amanda Coplin shares the story of orchardist William Talmadge, a reclusive man who enjoys the solace and simplicity of cultivating fruit.  When he chooses to provide shelter, protection, and compassion to two runaway, teenage, pregnant girls who appear on his homestead, the quiet harmony of his ordered life is forever disrupted.  At once intimate and epic, heartwarming and haunting, The Orchardist paints a vivid picture of the untamed American West at the turn of the twentieth century.

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
By Max Hastings

Military historian Max Hastings has created a monumental work that illustrates the global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences.  This single-volume history does an amazing job of capturing the entire conflict through strikingly detailed stories of everyday people, from soldiers to housewives, from SS killers to the citizens of Leningrad.  Inferno offers its readers an essential understanding and surprisingly intimate portrait of the world at war.

I Remember Nothing
By Nora Ephron

Those who enjoyed I Feel Bad About My Neck (2006) will appreciate this collection of witty essays by the late humorist, novelist, and screenwriter-director Nora Ephron (1941-2012).  Taking a good look at the past (all that she hadn’t yet forgotten), the present (stating that the “Senior Moment” has become the “Google Moment”), and the future (acknowledging that if her days are numbered, she wants to enjoy as many perfect days as possible – with a frozen custard at a Shake Shack, followed by a Lactaid and a nice walk), Ephron never fails to tell it like it is.  She touches upon the occasional taboo topic with warmth and even a bit of whimsy, helping us all to find humor in the vagaries of aging.

The Inverted Forest
By John Dalton

In the summer of 1996, a small group of inexperienced camp counselors arrive at Kindermann Forest Summer Camp.   Among the counselors is gentle and diligent Wyatt Huddy, a genetically disfigured young man who has been misjudged throughout his life because of his physical appearance. Wyatt arrives at the camp expecting to care for children, so when he learns that he and his fellow counselors will be responsible for 104 severely developmentally disabled adults, his world is turned inside out. Physically, he is indistinguishable from the campers he cares for, though mentally he his sharp and capable.  Soon, Wyatt is called upon to prevent a tragedy – and in doing so he commits an act that will forever alter his life and the lives of several of his fellow staff members.

Have you read a beach-worthy book yet this summer?   Feel free to share your recommendation by adding a comment below.