End of Summer Reads

It’s getting close to the end of the summer – catch up on some great reads now that the kids have gone back to school!  We have a few fiction titles coming in over the next two week by best-selling authors: Danielle Steel (Dark Side), Nora Roberts (The Pagan Stone), Janet Dailey (Texas Forever), Fern Michaels (Cut and Run), Louise Penney (Better Man), and Sarah Jio (All the Flowers in Paris).

Two more fiction books worth noting are The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri and The Ventriloquists by E. R. Ramzipoor.   Each of the stories takes place during different war periods, Beekeeper during the current fighting in Syria and The Ventriloquists during World War II.  Both are stories of triumph over extreme adversity.  Based on a true event, The Ventriloquists has great characters, Belgian resistance fighters and journalists who outwit the Nazis with fake news.  What’s really fascinating is how the author came across the story: while researching for her thesis on underground political literature, she discovered a single document written by the Office of War referencing the fake edition of the Brussels newspaper Le Soir.  She followed that research trail and then wrote the novel at the suggestion of her thesis advisor.

We have some exciting nonfiction coming on order.  Karen Abbott is back with The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America. This book follows much the same theme as her previous ones – major events in America, researched and told from a woman’s point of view.  This is the story of the excesses of the Jazz Age, murder, and corrupt government officials. I have an early copy of The Ghosts of Eden Park for the first person who emails me that they’d like to read it (sperry@uptexas.org). Haben: The Deafblind Women Who Conquered Harvard Law is Haben Girma’s memoir of her family’s refugee experiences after leaving Eritrea and moving all over the world before coming to the United States, looking for a connection to a community.  Haben embarks on adventures that most people who can see and hear never even attempt, and developed a text-to-braille communication system.  It’s an amazing story.

At the suggestion by one of our residents who is an avid reader, I’m reading Whisper Network by Chandler Baker.  This is Baker’s first adult novel, and a Reese’s Book Club pick.  I wish I liked it better.  The author is a corporate attorney who worked in Dallas, and she draws on that experience to craft a timely, ripped-from-the-headlines story with elements of the #MeToo movement.  The story is a murder mystery surrounding the death of a high-powered corporate attorney who is not known for treating women well.  The real story is about the main female characters who are also corporate attorneys who shop at Neiman’s, struggle with work-life-family balance, and have secrets to keep.  The author spends too much page space describing the “Dallas lifestyle,” and the dialog seems contrived.  The best part of the book are the deposition transcripts at the beginning most chapters.  I’d be interested to hear what some of you think of the book.  We have it in print and ebook.

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