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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...
With his last book (the wonderful Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic) Jason Turbow made me a fan of the Oakland A's, a team for which I had no opinion whatsoever. Now with They Bled Blue, the author has made me appreciate the history of a team I actively dislike, maybe even hate. The Dodgers of the late 70's and early 80's were an interesting bunch and Turbow's new book is expertly told and really gives you an entire picture of LA in 1981: the drugs, the celebrities, Fernandomania, the MLB strike of 1981 and the hugely impactful MLBPA victory, the contracts and the inner workings and of course the baseball. Jason Turbow once again strikes gold--or perhaps Dodger blue--with the must-read sports book of the summer.
They Bled Blue by Jason Turbow ($26.00*, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that those of us who love books, are especially enamored with books ABOUT books and this novel is a very special one of those. Action-packed and romantic, Sorcery of Thorns is a tale of ink-tears, girls with swords, boys summoning storms and volume upon volume of living leather bound books, some of whom behave rather badly. It’s a book about majestic, revered libraries equipped with their own small armies of librarians and sword-wielding wardens. It’s a book about demonic energy and sorcery. It’s a book about brave people with vastly varied strengths and skills, all worthy in their own right, fighting the good fight. Darker, larger in scope but just as brilliantly crafted as her first novel, Margaret Rogerson has captured me once again. I love this book!
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson ($17.99*, Margaret K. McElderry Books), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.
The international search for a sister gone missing is the basis of Searching for Sylvie Lee, a mysterious drama by Jean Kwok. When Amy finds out her sister never returned home from a trip to visit a dying family member in the Netherlands, it sets off a chain of events that uncovers long lost secrets about her family, her parents’ immigration, and secret relationships. Amy’s quest to find Sylvie takes her across the ocean, where she meets an entire family she’s never know who played a fundamental part in her family’s life. Dark, complicated, and engrossing, this literary thriller will capture your emotions and keep you turning pages long after dark.
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.
Tan France's autobiographical memoir outlines his life growing up, coming out, fashion, and of course, getting cast in Queer Eye. Anyone who has watched this show needs to read this right now, and even if you haven't, you should still pick it up. It is a very thoughtful memoir that is honest about race, perception, bullying, love, marriage, and fashion. He is very-real, very-direct addressing of these topics to be eye-opening while also showing a vulnerable side of him that we don't often experience on the show.
Even some of the remarks that he makes quickly in the book and doesn't elaborate on in great detail (i.e. "brown people cannot run through an airport even if we are late for a flight") will leave an imprint on you. It is personal, real, and even those who tend to shy away from this genre, will find themselves interested in the conversational and captivating story of Tan France.
Naturally Tan by Tan France ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.
Knot is a strong and independent woman in a rural town in North Carolina. She likes her liquor and she will always speak her mind and regrets none of it. She is one of many members of the community of West Mills that we get to know over the course of 40 years in De'Shawn Charles Winslow's beautiful and feisty book about the love of family, friends and neighbors. Though not always perfect and with a fair share of secrets, they always try to do what they believe is best for the ones they love.
In West Mills by De'Shawn Charles Winslow ($26.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.
16-year-old Grace has just had a baby. After going through the pregnancy and choosing adoptive parents for her daughter, she now feels unmoored from her life before and wants to find her own biological family. That's how her biological siblings, Maya and Joaquin, come into the picture. Maya, set apart from her adoptive family in looks and temperament, struggles with the fallout of her adoptive mom's secrets coming to light. And Joaquin, in foster care his whole life, struggles with the idea of being worthy of someone's love. All of them grapple with their sense of belonging, but now that they have each other, maybe that will be easier. Benway has written a touching, sometimes humorous, compulsively readable book that will resonate with anyone searching for their place in the world, showing that sometimes where you are is exactly where you belong.
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway ($9.99*, HarperTeen), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.
I remained unsure where Elizabeth Gilbert was taking me throughout the nearly 500 pages of City of Girls, but now that I've finished the final chapter, I'm glad I trusted her expert hand. I adored seeing the world through Vivian's eyes; her coming-of-age is, perhaps more than anything else, a love story, a tribute to the theatre and to New York City. Every one of Gilbert's characters is flawed and complicated (sometimes even downright awful), but somehow she's made every one of them likable and determined to grow, making for a compelling story I couldn't put down.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert ($28.00*, Riverhead Books), recommended by The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA.