Tuesday, July 4, 2017
*My Name is Lucy Burton by Pulitzer Prize winner, Elizabeth Strout, captures the insecurities of having escaped extreme poverty but not some of the hidden scars associated with being different. A simple hospital visit becomes serious and opens a portal to an unexpectedly tender relationship between an estranged mother and daughter. “Potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ache of loneliness we all feel sometimes.”(Time)
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch is a dystopian futuristic novel set in a world that has almost been destroyed by constant wars. Survivors flee to CIEL, a space station where they mutate and become galvanized by a charismatic child-warrior named Joan who possesses mysterious powers and tries to turn CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. The NYT called it “brilliant and incendiary”. For me, it was too incendiary, depressing and violent. Okay, call me a Philistine.
*Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World by William H. McRaven expands on his 2014 University of Texas commencement address that went viral with over 10 million views to 144 pages. Admiral McRavel develops ten principles from his training as a Navy Seal and from from people he encountered during his military service who confronted hardship with determination, compassion, honor, and courage.
**Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is a debut novel inspired by the true story of New York socialite, Caroline Ferriday. The lives of three women intertwine through WWII and converge at the Ravensbruck concentration camp as Caroline becomes increasing involved from her post at the French consulate. Kasia Kuzmerick becomes a courier in the Polish resistance and a subject for medical experiments, while Dr. Herta Oberheuser learns surgery at Ravensbruck. “Smart, thoughtful and just an old-fashioned good read.”
The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell has “Equal parts mystery, romance, and family saga, with a dash of dark comedy.” Unemployment at the end of World War II leads two sisters to launch a makeup business similar to Mary Kay. The smart sister uses life lessons she has learned from romance fiction that enable her to cope when the glamorous sister disappears.