Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beach Reads

Last weekend was my long awaited getaway to the sunny land of Florida. Living in New England, I always try to save up for at least a few days in the sun during the winter months. While I looked forward to hours baking in the sun, I also eagerly awaited the chance to read all day long. With much deliberation, poking through the piles of books I have waiting to be read, I selected four.

und by Hilary Jordan. This book was selected for our First Edition Club in hardcover and just recently came out in paperback. We are having Jordan back to the store in April for a reading and to celebrate the paperback release. My coworkers kept raving about it, so I picked up our last first edition copy and started reading on my plane ride down. The book takes place on a rural farm in 1940s Mississippi. Various members of two families, one white, one black narrate the story of their struggle to deal with life after WWII and the tenuous race relations of the south.

Bee by Chris Cleave. There was a lot of buzz about this book before it came out and it has been on the indie bestseller list since it's release in February. This was another novel that I simply could not put down. The two main characters are Little Bee, a sixteen-year-old illegal refugee from Nigeria, and Sarah a successful magazine editor living with her husband and young son in the suburbs of London. When the book begins, the two characters are reunited in London years after a scarring encounter on a Nigerian beach. However, the reader is not entirely sure what occurred. Their friendship quickly becomes a crucial element in deciding their future.

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Wizenberg writes the food blog Orangette, which I had not heard of until her book, but A Homemade Life is a really wonderful read, filled with recipes and tales of her life, family, and food. Understated and charming, this was the perfect read for a relaxing afternoon. It was just released in hardcover and is a great memoir and cookbook all in one.

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje. My mother recommended this book to me after reading it for her book group. I started reading it while waiting in the airport for my flight home. It was a good thing I had a lot of time on my hands because this is a book you want to take your time with. It starts out on a farm in Northern California, where two young girls live with their father and their farm hand Coop. Ondaatje then weaves in and out of their lives as they grow into adults and move from place to place. It is a beautiful book, no wonder it is a best-seller.

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