Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meg's Picks: June 2015, part 1

Remember that Summer Preview I gave you a few weeks ago? I have to tell you that it wasn't even a drop in the bucket. And that is great news, because this summer, the library is your proverbial oyster. So here are some of the titles I'm particularly looking forward to next month.

Love May Fail, by Matthew Quick. Quick wrote one of my favorite books of 2014, The Good Luck of Right Now, and you can read my review over here. So naturally I'm intrigued by his latest offering, in which an aspiring feminist and underappreciated housewife, Portia, has a meltdown and sheds her husband and their life in Florida and returns to her childhood home in South Jersey, where she embarks on a journey to save herself by saving someone else, namely a beloved high school teacher who has retired after a terrible accident. Quick excels when it comes to relatable, quirky characters. I'd recommend this to fans of his previous work, as well as to readers who enjoyed off-beat protagonists like Don Tillman in Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project.

Saint Mazie, by Jami Attenberg. Author of the New York Times best-selling The Middlesteins, Attenberg returns with a new work unexpectedly set during Prohibition and inspired by a real-life figure in Joseph Mitchell's indelible Up in the Old Hotel. Grand, bigmouthed, bighearted Mazie Phillips spends her days as proprietress of the Venice, an old-line New York City movie theater, and her nights on the town. Then the Depression hits, and she opens the Venice to anyone in need. I'm recommending this to readers who like historical novels with a correspondence or diary entry format, like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  

Second Life, by S.J. Watson. I mentioned this in my Summer Preview post, but there is a lot of excitement about this among library staff, so I'm mentioning it again. Thriller readers, if you missed Watson's first book, Before I Go To Sleep, do yourself a favor and go read it now. The two titles are not connected, so you don't technically have to, but it was a staff favorite a couple of years ago, and should whet your appetite for this newest offering. 

The Unfortunates, by Sophie MacManus. George Somner, a poor little rich boy who has never amounted to anything, is nearing middle age. His mother, the elegant heiress Cecilia ("CeCe") is a fixture in East Coast society who has bailed George out of trouble all his life. Now CeCe has reached her late seventies and is panic-stricken when facing a debilitating disease. She enrolls in a clinical trial for an experimental drug that seems to give her a new lease on life. George has found a wife, Iris, who though lower-middle-class doesn't appear to be a gold digger; she's genuinely fond of her husband. Then George's behavior becomes more erratic. He writes a libretto for an opera, which critics soon savage as a politically incorrect vanity project. Things go rapidly downhill, with subplots involving big pharma, insider trading, and shady real estate deals. For fans of authors like Adriana Trigiani and Penny Vincenzi.
Language Arts, by Stephanie Kallos. Charles Marlow teaches his high school English students that language will expand their worlds. But linguistic precision cannot help him connect with his autistic son, or with his ex-wife, who abandoned their shared life years before, or even with his college-bound daughter who has just flown the nest. He’s at the end of a road he’s traveled on autopilot for years when a series of events forces him to think back on the lifetime of decisions and indecisions that have brought him to this point. With the help of an ambitious art student, an Italian-speaking nun, and the memory of a boy in a white suit who inscribed his childhood with both solace and sorrow, Charles may finally be able to rewrite the script of his life. I'm recommending this in particular to fans of David Nicholls's Us.

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