My birthday comes at the best time of the year – the end of May when the rosewood tree in my backyard is in perfect bloom and the big books of summer are hitting the shelves.
Even though I work in the library there is nothing I like to own more than my books. I have a tiny library in my house with shelves double-stacked with books I’ve read and more books that I’ve yet to get to. I’ll get to them and as I walk past my shelves – at home and at work – I touch the spines of the ones I’ve loved and say hello to the others I can’t wait to read.
So what am I excited about? I want to share with you my birthday book haul which has turned out to be the perfect list for summer and are all available at WPL.
Chemistry by Weike Wang – This is the book I grabbed first and devoured. It’s a tiny book, not- even 200 pages and it’s a perfect balance of happy and sad. The main character is at a crossroads, she doesn’t want to finish her PhD despite the possibility of losing her parents if she doesn’t and she isn’t as ready for marriage as her overly perfect fiance. This book could read as a quirky description of a young woman finding herself but it’s so much more. The story gets deeper and deeper as you read it, and it’s smart and very funny. It’s realistic and easy to carry around.
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy – I have loved Maile (pronounced Miley) every since I read her Apothecary Trilogy years ago – a series about fantastic children with magical powers during the cold-war, written for middle grade readers. She writes amazing short stories and her newest novel is supposedly being hailed the book of the summer. It is about a family holiday gone terribly wrong, a thriller so smart that despite the title, I’ve heard you will definitely need to become alarmed. I can’t wait to read it!
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – I’m reading this one now and it’s wonderful! I still give Towles first novel, “Rules for Civility” out at the library whenever someone asks me for the best thing to read. It will forever grace my top ten reading list. This newest novel is the story of a man in the 1920s who is exiled from all of Russia except one grand hotel where he must live out his life, and he is only in his thirties when it begins. It is a story of friendships and the daily surprises that we tend to take for granted. My favourite description so far is of how he loves and notices the change of seasons without ever stepping outside: “..the temperature had climbed four and a half degrees which culminates in hints of mint in cucumber soups, lavender blouses at elevator doors and midday deliveries of tiger lilies two feet tall.”
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan – A new author for me and I’ll admit I don’t know much about this book except that it is about sisters, one who is a nun, secrets and love. The cover is gorgeous and when I devour it, Sullivan has two other novels that are also supposedly just as wonderful.
The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron – This book is perhaps the most intriguing of them all. After her runaway success, “The Bear”, Canada’s Cameron has written has written a novel that shares the points of view of two protagonists – a modern day archaeologist and the last ever neanderthal, a teenage girl. If that’s not enough to get you reading along with me, I don’t know what else I have to do!
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha – There are two of these gems and I have now been given both from my nine year old son. We love to cuddle together and read the tidbits of goodness this book has to offer. How great is the feeling of discovering there is one Smartie left in the box after all, or how perfect is it to go to bed with clean sheets. Like the Gentleman in Moscow, who doesn’t need to sit and appreciate the little and best things in our days? My other son gave me a mug that says “Reading is Sexy” and I don’t doubt this for a moment.