Wellesley Books: Recommended Summer Reading
With summer approaching, it is the perfect time to select some books to read on the beach or on the porch with a tall glass of lemonade. With the volume of homework you manage all year it can be hard to find time to read for pleasure. Remember the joy you get from reading a riveting story and not wanting to put it down? Our friends at Wellesley Books offer recommendations in a range of genres:
AND AFTER MANY DAYS is a beautifully crafted story about the mysterious disappearance of a 17-year-old boy in Nigeria during the oil boom of the 1990s. Ile masterfully and ever so subtly interweaves the ordinary everyday lives of a middle class family against the back drop of big oil company corruption, police brutality and general anarchy. The dramatic contrast between city life and village dwelling as well as the devastating emotional toll on the family are seamlessly rendered and deeply moving.
When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi is a stunningly beautiful memoir from an accomplished intellectual neurosurgeon who faces terminal cancer with extreme grace. Kalanithi’s entire adult life is spent in the pursuit of excellence but also in constantly striving to understand the confluence of science and emotion in defining the true meaning of life. This philosophical and thought provoking story will resonate with each reader in profoundly unique and personal ways. A remarkable legacy!
The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood. This tender and charming novel is delightful in its surprises and exploration of intergenerational relationships. Outwardly, we learn about a quirky boy whose dream is to set a Guinness World Record and his friendship with an 104-year-old woman. As Wood takes us deeper into the story, we gain valuable insights into parental love, deep friendships and the myriad forms of grief. Most of all, we are inspired by the human spirit and the goodness one young boy begins by being himself and his father takes on in his honor. Wonderfully powerful and uplifting, The One in a Million Boy will leave you revitalized and ready to pay it forward and maybe even set a record or two!
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa. WOW! Yapa takes us into the streets and inner workings of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle from a myriad of fascinating perspectives including policeman, protestors and even a delegate from Sri Lanka. Vivid prose and character development fully capture your attention, but the lasting effects of this engagement on the psyche of those involved are even more compelling. A wonderful book to challenge your own thinking regarding civil disobedience and a terrific gateway to wider discussion of important issues.
The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson. Did Anton Chekhov write a novel that has yet to be discovered? Anderson writes a vividly imaginative story based on the actual friendship of Chekhov and Zinaida Lintvaryova, whose family rented a guest house to the Chekhov family during the summer of 1888. While this premise is intriguing, the story encompasses so much more! Life on a Ukrainian estate with a group of highly artistic Chekhovs and equally accomplished young women on the Lintvaryov side makes for a fascinating subject on its own. Add a modern twist in 2014 with a struggling British publishing house, a down-on-her-luck translator and the beginnings of the current Ukrainian struggles with Russia and you have a fabulous story on many levels that is difficult to put down!
Britt-Marie was Here by Fredrik Backman. If you like laugh-out-loud-funny with a feel-good vibe, you will not be disappointed with Britt-Marie! Imagine a slightly north of middle-aged woman on her own for the first time in her life. She must negotiate employment, housing and a new social life while maintaining her very high standards of cleanliness and deportment in a small town whose inhabitants clearly do not share her same principles. The resulting clash is priceless and the ensuing understanding on both sides is incredibly charming. As Britt-Marie makes herself indispensable to her new community, she must make some difficult decisions about her past and her future. Great humor and strong emotion combine to wonderful effect in this fun and passionate novel!
The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. This heart wrenching tale is about Lynnie, a developmentally challenged young woman and Homan, a deaf illiterate man who manage to escape from The School for the Incurable and Feebleminded to meet Martha, a retired teacher who helps them. The story spans from the 1960s to present day and is told from all three perspectives. Not only will you be caught up with the personal stories of struggle and survival of each character, but also the change in social awareness and policy regarding individuals with differences. A well told and powerful story in which Simon’s in depth research and strong emotional attachment to her characters are evident in every word.
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