Summer Reading 2023!

If you like your novels to evoke a place–so you can feel like you’re there–this will do it. But not just any place at any time. This is Hong Kong in the midst of change and turmoil. England is out, China is in control Will democracy survive? And what does this mean for expat Adrian Gyle or powerful local Jimmy Tang? Or for student protestor Rebecca? Mystery, intrigue, and atmosphere make a page-turning drama that has current day relevance!

Journalist Jonathan Freedland tells the jaw-dropping story of Rudolf Vrba, one of the only people to escape from Auschwitz concentration camp. On the run from the camp in 1944, Vrba’s sole motivation is to warn the few Jews still free–as well as the rest of the world–what is truly going on in the camps. So, why won’t they listen? Riveting!

The once thriving steel industry is now dying in this Pennsylvania town, taking a toll on all its inhabitants. Boyhood friends Isaac and Billy are torn between their desires to flee a sinking ship and their loyalties to all whom they would leave behind. However, when a certain event occurs that has lasting repercussions, decisions on whether to stay or go may just be out of their hands.

Taking a long plane or train ride this summer? Bring this along to make the hours fly by! A couple whose marriage is rocky escapes to a countryside retreat for a week. There they will answer one question each day–seven questions over seven days–to see if their relationship can survive. A dysfunctional marriage, a mystery, a thriller with plot twists and literary symbolism–what more can a reader ask for? Propulsive page-turner!

This extremely moving memoir has won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The relationship between Hua and his close friend Ken, who is killed in a carjacking, allows the exploration of grief, loss, meaning, art, friendship, and more.

This winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is an updated and reimagined David Copperfield relocated to southern Appalachia. Demon, the main character, will burrow into your heart as he struggles to survive despite the obstacles of poverty, addiction, and the invisibility of being underprivileged in America.

Written prior to Russia’s invasion last year, this darkly funny novel about a somewhat aimless young American who finds new purpose after moving to Ukraine to train operators at a customer service call center gives readers an insightful look into the people whose country has held off the attack of a world super power for the last fifteen months.

This new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries focuses on a guerilla gardening collective operating, possibly criminally, on New Zealand’s South Island, as it bumps up against an eccentric American billionaire on a mission. You won’t be quite sure who to root for in this suspenseful thriller.

This history of northern California’s largest utility Pacific Gas and Electric is illuminating, gripping, and infuriating. Blunt runs readers through the surprisingly fascinating history of power in the state and examines the current realities of climate change, power outages, wildfires, and bankruptcies.

Oprah’s favorite is a moving and beautifully written family saga from the author of Dear Edward. A loose re-rendering of Little Women, the novel allows the reader to consider how our background impacts who we love, how we love and whether love can heal a truly damaged soul through the boisterous family at the center of the story.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Harding uses the real-life history of Malaga Island, Maine as the jumping off point for this historical novel about survival. On a sea swept rock of an island inhabited by the descendants of immigrants and the formerly enslaved, the grinding rhythms of daily life are threatened by the prejudice and intolerance of mainland neighbors, forcing the island’s inhabitants to make difficult choices.  

This New York Times Best Book of the Year in 2022 is the gripping, expansive story of a relationship, forged in childhood and spanning decades, as it examines the nature of love, friendship, identity and belonging. Sam and Sadie create a company centered on video game design that brings them wild success…and more. Gamers and non-gamers alike will love it!

Forget the Murdoch family.  New York Times reporters tell the true story of the Redstones, Viacom, and the fight to control CBS that will make you wonder who the television series “Succession” was really inspired by given all the familial in-fighting, high stakes litigation, #MeToo accusations, and board room drama!

This moving story illuminates the harsh realities of life in the slave quarters of the pre-Civil War south while celebrating the power of the loving relationships among the enslaved. It is beautifully written– heartbreaking and life affirming at the same time.

This is the timely story of a 9-year-old El Salvadoran boy’s months-long quest to reach the United States in the company of strangers without any other family members. Zamora, who grows up to be an immigration activist and celebrated poet, gives the border crossing tale a fresh spin by telling it from the perspective of a young child expecting a short adventure trip to finally be with his parents.

We were all riveted by author David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon a few seasons ago. Now buckle your seat belts (put on your wet suits?) for Grann’s newest nonfiction tale of shipwreck, murder, lies, betrayal, power-grabbing, and more! What is the truth…and who survives to tell it?