The long weekend has passed. Summertime is supposed to be right around the corner. But after cutting the grass and weeding the perennials, there is still time for the ritual of reading. Park the lawn-chair in the shade. Pour a cold drink. And open the covers of a good book.
WOMAN NUMBER 17 is a book by Edan Lepucki. This author is a keen observer of our modern world. And she has drawn on her considerable talent to create a darkly tense and twisted novel. Hollywood Hills is the setting. But like the dust and smog that hover close by, the forces that take the gloss from a privileged life draw nearer every day. The reader may find that the secrets in this book uncover profound questions about the ethics of life and of identity. Through every turn in the plot, one can see that a dangerous game is being played.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE by Elizabeth Strout is a work of fiction whose characters will live in the reader’s heart even after the last page is read. Small-town characters find voice in their own stories of hope and loss. Emotional isolation, solace in the company of the lonely, struggles with feelings of abandonment are all part of the human condition. Perhaps somewhere amidst the threads of consciousness, stronger bonds of peace and obligation will be forged.
ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE is a novel by Gail Honeyman. This is a debut and an original literary creation. The main character, Eleanor, struggles with social skills. She says exactly what she thinks. And tends to live voluntarily in isolation, with frozen pizzas and a little vodka. But her cantankerous charm gets next to the reader. This anti-social, anti-heroine may experience something in her life that will take her on a journey out of the dark shadows. But whether part of the dark shadows or not, Eleanor will walk straight off the page and into the heart.
THE SPIDER AND THE FLY is a non-fiction book about a reporter, a serial killer, and the meaning of murder. The author is Claudia Rowe, who is a journalist now at the Seattle Times. She has covered social issues, race and violence. This book catalogues her own obsession with a serial killer. What she creates is a psychological thriller that is a self-revealing memoir, and a mirror into the potential evil that can turn the human being into a brutish fiend. Is this an odyssey of dangerous adventure? Foolish preoccupation? Or radical discovery?
Take time for the ritual of reading. Choose a book that calls into question your perception of normal. Take a chance. Read to connect and to encounter. Walk to the library. Open the door to so much more.