I hardly cracked a book in May; the shop kept us super busy with Mother’s Day, weddings, corporate events and proms so it was a month of mostly work and not much play. I’m itching to dive into some good reads in June — recommendations always appreciated! — but until then, here are a few books I enjoyed in days of yore. ;)
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
“White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.”(Barnes & Noble) This is one of my favorite books of all time; it’s haunting, dark and beautifully written. It’s one I go back to and re-read every few years.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
“Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.” (Goodreads)
Sometimes you find family in the most unexpected places. There isn’t much I can say that the Goodreads description didn’t cover, except that I loved this story and couldn’t put it down.
How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson
“To Carley Wells, words are the enemy. Her tutor’s innumerable SAT flashcards. Her personal trainer’s “fifty-seven pounds overweight” assessment. And the endless reading assignments from her English teacher, Mr. Nagel. When Nagel reports to her parents that she has answered “What is your favorite book” with “Never met one I liked,” they decide to fix what he calls her “intellectual impoverishment.” They will commission a book to be written just for her-one she’ll have to love-that will impress her teacher and the whole town of Fox Glen with their family’s devotion to the arts. They will be patrons- the Medicis of Long Island. They will buy their daughter The Love Of Reading.” (Goodreads)
I bought this at a used bookstore because I liked the title and cover. I finished the first chapter and expected the rest to be a hilarious satire about the nouveau riche, but Gibson covers a myriad of emotional issues in this coming-of-age novel: loneliness, familial strain, unlikely friendships, social pressure, and personal growth. I laughed; I cried; I finished it in a [beach] weekend.