Summer Reading List 2016

victorian vacay

No books, but I bet they are out of camera view. These chicks look like readers don’t they?

Hi friends! Are you ready to take that beach trip/plane ride/long drive? I know you want to be ready with a book … or five. It’s about that time of year when I try to provide some reading suggestions for you.

My definition of a great vacation read is a book I can fall into. Sitting at the pool or on the beach, the sun on my toes and wind blowing my hair but in my mind’s eye I’m standing on a London street, or in the kitchen of a New York restaurant. A book I can absorb and be absorbed into for a day or two, lingering my thoughts around its characters for a few hours each night, pondering their actions, motivations, why he or she said that.


sweetbitterSweetBitter 
by Stephanie Danler fits the bill. This book is all buzzy and for good reason. Ms. Danler writes with authority the tale of Tess’ first year in New York City, finding work in the “best restaurant” in Manhattan, finding love and lust with the hottest guy, doing the worst kinds of things to her body. I fell into the story hungrily, wanting the life, the tastes, the experiences, the knowledge, the flavors, even the bitter, Tess had.

modern loversModern Lovers by Emma Straub. The adults in Modern Lovers used to be cool –  real cool –  rock band cool. But now that they are approaching 50, and their children are dating, or hooking up, or are just hanging out together having sex in public places, the adults find they aren’t quite so cool anymore. Most of all, not in the eyes of their kids. Read my full review here: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/modern-lovers-emma-straub/

These next two books center around a grand old house and the secrets it holds. Both travel between two times period and in each, a modern mystery is resolved by an examination of the past. I was quite absorbed by each.

lake house bookJune The Lake House by Kate Morton. A British estate, a missing child, WWI and a modern detective suspended by the force for caring too much about her work. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/family-secrets-the-lake-house-by-kate-morton/ 

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. An Ohio mansion, a mysterious child, movie stars and a modern photographer in hiding from the world and grieving for her grandmother.

the nestThe Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. The Plumb siblings, (Leo, Jack, Bea and Melody) have been waiting. Waiting for years. Counting their egg well before it hatched on Melody’s fortieth birthday. Ignoring the concerns, counseling, and skepticism of friends, family, and lovers in a mutual, bull-headed reliance on the largesse that is to come. Frankly, none of them deserve their father’s well-planned beneficence. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/the-nest-by-cynthia-daprix-sweeney/

And I haven’t read these yet, but they are going on my vacation with me:

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. “On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.” from Amazon

Night Garden by Carrie Mullins. “Alienated from her affluent parents in a small Kentucky college town, Marie is drawn into an exotic, ultimately life-threatening world. The dramatic story unfolds in a sequence of vivid scenes, each of which is its own immediate story, carried by the author’s taut, measured prose. When tragedy strikes her family, Marie runs away and settles in with a wild, entrepreneurial and criminal family in a neighboring county, a world away from her safe and privileged upbringing. She substitutes the Owens family for her own, until their criminal ventures threaten her own life.” From Amazon

Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan. “Hellsmouth, an indomitable Thoroughbred with the blood of Triple Crown winners in her veins, runs for the glory of the Forge family, one of Kentucky’s oldest and most powerful dynasties. Henry Forge has partnered with his daughter, Henrietta, in an endeavor of raw obsession: to breed the next superhorse, the next Secretariat. But when Allmon Shaughnessy, an ambitious young black man, comes to work on their farm, the violence of the Forges’ history and the exigencies of appetite are brought starkly into view. Entangled in fear, prejudice, and lust, the three tether their personal dreams of glory to the speed and grace of Hellsmouth.” from Amazon

sport of kings            night garden  before the fall

I’d love to hear what you are reading! Sent me a note, a review, a recipe that you’d like to share. And Happy Reading!

vacay read

Advertisements

Mother’s Day Books

mothers dayHappy Mother’s Day! It’s a bit late, but you’ve been out with your mom or your children all day anyway, right? But if you’re still feeling the glow of a wonderful day, and want to extend it by reading a novel or two about mothers, I’ve got your list.

Room by Emma Donoghue. 2015 Oscar winning mother. An intimate, thrilling, painfully true book about the bond between a mother and child. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/room-reality-v-fiction/

Consequences by Penelope Lively. Booker Prize-winning novelist Lively gives the reader a historical tour de force of mothers and daughters and the consequences of their relationships. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/mothers-and-daughters-three-generations-of-consequences/

funny_retro_mothers_day_card_postcard-p239122295226815681z8iat_400-1.jpg

 

 

 

The Lake House by Kate Morton. What happens to a mother and a marriage when a child goes missing? A wonderful, atmospheric, historical novel. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/family-secrets-the-lake-house-by-kate-morton/

Reunion by Hannah Pittard. Family fallout after the death of their father. Kentucky author Hannah Pittard’s widely-acclaimed novel. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/we-are-family-reunion-by-hannah-pittard/

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Complex, interesting characters, an intricate plot told in reverse, a racially mixed marriage. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/we-are-family-reunion-by-hannah-pittard/

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Stunning, futuristic (I hope), misanthropic, and heart-breaking. Read it just the same.

Books sort of about mothers/more about family: retro_mothers_day_greeting_card-rdfc07e9db80c422098a3b6b38c07e695_xvuat_8byvr_324

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. What would P&P be without Mrs. Bennett? https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/thankful-for-pride-prejudice-by-jane-austen/

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Another mother-of-the year candidate who inspires her children to untold heights of sibling rivalry. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/the-nest-by-cynthia-daprix-sweeney/

Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff. The seldom-seen hand of the mother who rocks the hip, swinging, NYC apartment from seclusion in Florida. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/fates-furies-by-lauren-groff-2/

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. Mirror Mirror on the Wall. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/mirror-mirror-boy-snow-bird-by-helen-oyeyemi/

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. A Kennedyesque family with a secret, or two. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/kennedyesque-we-were-liars-by-e-lockhart/

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. A truly unique mothering experience. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/monkeying-around-we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves-by-karen-joy-fowler/ 

Happy Mother’s Day & Happy Reading!

 

 

Family Secrets: The Lake House by Kate Morton

lake house

Lake house in Albany, NY from Albany archives

Sadie Sparrow, forced into vacation from her post as detective with the London Metropolitan police department for her work on a missing mother case, retreats to Cornwall circa 2003 to visit her grandfather Bertie. While there, she finds an abandoned lake house — Loeanneth — the ancestral home of the deShiel family where a notorious crime occurred in 1933: the youngest child of Lord Anthony Edevane and his wife Eleanor deShiel Evevane  went missing.

So begins Kate Morton’s historical fiction, whodunit, Gothic romance, police procedural The Lake House. It has everything! A meet cute! An affair! A revenge plot! Tunnels! Fired servants! Charming grandpa! Pig-headed detectives! A crime novelist! And lots (and lots and lots and lots) of scenic detail. Grasses waving, winds whispering, brooks babbling, minds wandering, backstories telling, etc . . .

Midsummer-Ball_LgIt all began in 1933 at the Edevane’s Midsummer Party. Which actually was the deShielx tradition continued by Lord Anthony Edevane and Eleanor after Anthony rescued Loeanneth as a post-wedding, posf-suprise lordship gift for his wife.

So it all began in 1914ish when Anthony and Eleanor mlipton teaet cute: Anthony saved Eleanor from being run down on the streets of London by a bus bearing a Lipton tea ad on her way to see some tigers.

Actually, it all began in 2003 when Sadie Sparrow, incensed by the pigheaded of her superiors to consider her theory that a child’s mother has been murdered rather than run away, goes to the media and plants her theory in contravention of her orders. She is then placed on involuntary administrative leave by her partner where she discovers — Loeanneth. And a mystery she can sink her teeth into: the disappearance of 9 month old baby Theo.

Or perhaps it began when Eleanor was a child and her father’s best friend, Mr. Llewellyn, wrote a book for her that became a childhood classic.

Throughout The Lake House, each thought becomes a complex reference to the past and that reference is connected to another memory which strings along to the present or future.

The best view of the lake was from the Mulberry Room but Alice decided to mae do with the bathroom window. Mr. Llewellyn was still down by the stream with his easel, but he always retired early for a rest and she didn’t want to risk an encounter. The old man was harmless enough, but he was eccentric and needy, especially of late, and she feared her unexpected presence his room would send the wrong sort of signal. She’d been enormously fond of him once, when she was younger, and he of her. Odd to think of it now, at sixteen, the stories he’d told, the little sketches he’d drawn that she’d treasured, the air of wonder he’d trailed behind him like a song. At any rate, the bathroom was closer than the Mulberry Room, and with only a matter of minutes before Mother realised the first-floor rooms lacked flowers, Alice had no time to waste in climbing stairs.
The Lake House has interesting characters, a multi-dimensional plot, several elements of mystery and yet, at least in the audio version, it was at times a behemoth read (21 hours and 24 minutes!). The printed version is 512 pages long. If you love English-ness in your fiction, you will appreciate The Lake House. It seems a bit long for my book club, but there may be some that would lustily attack the pages, the details and the mysteries. There is certainly an abundance of food.
vintage_fun_family_picnic_under_a_shade_tree_postcard-ra8ff505f073d4a78aa2c5dff9c20ccc2_vgbaq_8byvr_324
MENU
TEA. Dearie me, if you played a drinking game every time tea is mentioned in this book you would be drunk by page 5.
During one particularly significant picnic, Eleanor provides
Ham Sandwiches
Cox’s Orange Pippins (an apple!)
Cake
There is also mention of “bully beef” (Corned beef) and tinned milk.
And Pear Cake.
From Chocolate and Zucchini, a lovely food blog, here’s a recipe for Pear Cake. It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try. http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/cakes-tarts/my-grandmothers-pear-cake-recipe/
MUSIC
Music wasn’t incredibly important to the plot of The Lake House but some of the names of the characters were incredibly musical. I think I will make a play list based on character’s names.
Alice — Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown
Deborah — Deborah by The Crickets
Clementine — Darling Clementine, folk song
Eleanor — Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
Ben — Ben by Michael Jackson
Bertie — Bertie by Kate Bush
Anthony — Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) by Billy Joel
Sadie — Sadie by James Taylor
Isn’t that fun?!?!
Casting lake house book
Young Alice — Saoirse Ronin
Sadie — Kelly Reilly (love her in season two of True Detective)
Anthony — Jude Law
Eleanor — Sienna Miller
Ben — Jamie Dornan
Old Alice — Judi Dench
Bertie — Michael Gambon
HAPPY READING!
If you enjoyed this post, please follow daeandwrite.
All posts will be delivered directly to your email and you’ll never miss one!