Books to Read in Summer ‘17
“Made for Love” – by Alissa Nutting
This book and a bottle of sunscreen are the only things you are required to bring to the beach this summer. Nearly impossible to summarize, “Made for Love,” Alissa Nutting’s second novel, is all over the place in the best possible way.
We open on Hazel, a woman on the run who has recently moved in with her father and Diane, his freakishly lifelike sex doll. Hazel seeks refuge in this trailer park for senior citizens because her ex-husband, Byron Gogol is hunting her down in a misguided attempt to bring her home. Gogol, CEO of monolithic tech corporation, Gogol Industries, has kept Hazel essentially prisoner on their family compound for the last decade.
Things went from bad to worse when he tried to connect them via implanted brain chips, attempting to perform the first-ever “mind-meld.” Well that was the last straw for Ms. Hazel. She ran out on her marriage and began her search for a new life. Unfortunately, Gogol is quickly devolving into a disney villain and won’t let her get away that easily.
Absurd, hilarious, raunchy, and an honest analysis of monogamy, love and family, “Made for Love” is a lighthearted romp sure to satisfy.
“Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” – Al Franken
I bet you didn’t think modern day politics could be funny. Well Al Franken is here to once again defy your expectations. This book is an honest, at times hilarious, retrospective on the events of the past year: the chaos of the most recent presidential election, the even greater chaos that ensued after the election, and our deepening polarization as a country.
This is a political biography, written by a Senator who studies the people around him with the acuity of a comedian. From satirist to Senator, Al Franken has a keen eye and an important perspective on our current state of affairs.
“Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” is an educational, optimistic, and refreshing read. It is just the thing to lift your heavy, political heart this summer.
“The Marsh King’s Daughter” – Karen Dionne
Fans of “The Girl on the Train” and “Room” will surely be enthralled by Karen Dionne’s newest, dark mystery, “The Marsh King’s Daughter.”
Helena Pelletier had finally achieved her ideal life: a doting husband, two daughters, and a business that filled her days nicely. Everything was going to plan, until an emergency news announcement brought back her deepest secret: she is the product of an abduction.
Helena’s father abducted her mother and held her in captivity in a hidden cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena was born into this captivity and raised to know no different. As a child, she loved her life and enjoyed fishing, hunting and tracking in the marshlands. Despite some obvious, temperamental flaws, Helena also loved her father; that was, of course, until she learned the truth.
Two decades later and Helena was sure she had buried her past. But now her father has broken out of prison, killing two guards in the process, and fled into the marshlands. The police are on a manhunt for the man they call the Marsh King, but Helena knows she is the only person who can track her father down.
This novel is utterly thrilling, with a complex, father-daughter relationship that will stay with you long after you’re done reading. If you’re looking for chills this summer, look no further than “The Marsh King’s Daughter.”
“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Look, we all love Neil deGrasse Tyson. At this point, he’s a national treasure. The revered astrophysicist and best-selling author is here to offer us some totally digestible knowledge this summer, and it’s only right that we accept. With his latest book, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” Tyson brings mind-expanding, scientific concepts to such a succinct level, that even those of us with jobs, children and lives can spare enough time to examine the cosmos.
Ever contemplate the nature of space and time?
Ever think about the expanse of the universe until your head hurts?
Well then this book will blow your mind in literally no time.
“The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying” – Nina Riggs
At the age of 38, Nina Riggs was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. In her stunning memoir, she describes what it is like to live every day despite the presence of “death in the room.”
Riggs highlights the importance of love, despite the impermanence of life, and the power of a finely tuned sense of humor to get you through the toughest of times. “The Bright Hour” is about learning to love each day as it comes, and is a meditation on what makes life meaningful. This book is written by a woman struggling to come to terms with her own reality. It is an introspective told in gorgeous prose.
Riggs succumbed to her cancer in February, leaving behind a husband and two young sons. She was a poet and a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Her book is truly stunning. For those who wish to the continue the conversation started by “When Breath Becomes Air,” “The Bright Hour” is your book.
“Exit West” – Mohsin Hamid
A mystical, love story set against the backdrop of the current Middle Eastern migrant crisis. In an unnamed city about to be destroyed by war, two students, Nadia and Saeed meet for the first time. Nadia is fierce and full of life, Saeed is reserved and gentle. The two embark upon a love affair just as their city falls into complete chaos.
As their love blooms and the city collapses, Nadia and Saeed begin to consider leaving their homes, in search of peace elsewhere in the world. Stories are being told about magical doors that can transport you out of the city, to safe havens in Europe and America. Nadia and Saeed decide to enter these doors and become refugees together in Greece, London, and America.
This book is timely, to say the very least. Stories of the immigration experience, even works of fiction, are crucially important in today’s world. “Exit West” is a reminder of why so many people have been displaced from their homes and the challenges they face once they become refugees.