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Well-Read: 5 Books for Your Fall Reading List

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

 

Summer reading is now behind us as thoughts turn to the exciting fall book releases. I managed to get most of my summer books read... how’d you do with your list? The advance reader copies for these books arrived months ago but I rarely get to them until they make their way to the stores. Let's talk about the most anticipated releases for the new reading season.

 

The Leftovers   Tom Perrotta

Tom’s most recent novel, The Abstinence Teacher, was released several years ago so I’ve been more than ready for a new Perrotta read. I did get to read The Leftovers in its advanced copy format and loved it! I caught up with Tom while on tour for his latest and asked what he thinks about book tours. “I’m tired of airports," he said. "I’m telling you this from the Terminal in Cedar Rapids.” His original idea was to write a comic novel about the

apocalypse, as he didn’t think anyone had ever done that before. "The mechanism I chose (the Rapture-like event) turned out not to be funny.” But there is much that is funny in his newest work that centers around one of Tom's signature suburban families, The Garveys. The family is particulary torn apart when Kevin Garvey's wife leaves him to join the Guilty Remnant, a home grown cult, and Garvey's son, Tom, leaves for college and a whole lot of trouble. The only one to remain with Garvey is his teenaged daughter, Jill, who is no longer the sweet and good student she used to be... . Perrotta says that it turned out to be “a pretty difficult book to write.  Maybe it would have been easier if I’d taken up smoking.” Here Tom is referring to a cult in the book and smoking cigarettes is required of all its "members". Hey, it’s his world! Don't miss this one.

 

The Night Strangers   Chris Bohjalian

Also on tour is beloved author, Chris Bohjalian with his “Let’s Keep it Dark” book tour. When Chris was last in Rhode Island for an author event at the Kingston Free Library I asked if this tour included t-shirts. It does and I’m hoping to snag one the next time I see him. Bohjalian’s last novel, Secrets of Eden, was a favorite of mine and I’m really looking forward to reading what some are calling a genre-defying novel, both a compelling story of a family in trauma and a psychological thriller that is truly frightening. Sounds like the perfect read as the crisp weather settles in. The Night Strangers begins in the dusty corner of a basement in a “rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with thirty-nine 6-inch-long carriage bolts.” Enter the home's new owners, Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. As in all of his novels, Bohjalian has done his research and brings us characters that we come to care and worry about. While here for his Rhode Island visit, Chris read a bit from this new book, whetting our reading appetites for more.  I recall the chills I felt as he read just enough to have the audience gasp!

Learning to Breathe – My Year Long Quest to Bring Calm to My Life     Priscilla Warner

Originally from Rhode Island, Priscilla Warner will be here at the beginning of November to share her new book with us! I first met Priscilla when she was in town to promote a book she co-authored called The Faith Club which is about three women of different religious backgrounds who get together to learn from each other and share what they’ve learned. Warner, a Lincoln School alum and former classmate of Meredith Vieira, got quite

a plug from Vieira in a recent Good Housekeeping article. “When I finished Priscilla’s book, a smile washed over my face and I let out a sigh.  I promise you will do the same.” Warner has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks so severe that they leave her unable to breathe.  After many years of trying every method of alleviating these attacks, Warner’s mantra becomes “Neurotic Heal Thyself.” Always in possession of her humor, Warner takes us on her journey as she inspires her readers with possibilities that our energy can be redirected and that peace is possible.

 

The Dovekeepers   Alice Hoffman

Alice is the author of so many of my favorite novels. From Turtle Moon to The River King and Here on Earth to Blue Diary, she always gives me a page-turner.  I am so excited about Hoffman’s latest, The Dovekeepers, which she says is the “story I was meant to tell.” On her new Web site Alice shares the story of how she came to write this book after a visit to Israel with her family. She calls this “an all-encompassing project, so I haven’t read much of late” when asked about her most recent favorite read. Hoffman did read a book this summer that she thought was charming for children, but great for adults called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children based on flea market photos, something she collects as well and has often used for her own books. The Dovekeepers tells the story about nine hundred Jews who held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert, in 70 CE.  Only two women and five children survived. Hoffman’s story surrounds four extraordinary and bold women, each of whom comes to Masada by a different path. I am told it’s a story that won’t soon be forgotten. 


Second Nature – A Love Story  Jackie Mitchard

Next up on my reading list, as Jackie will be my guest on Saturday’s radio show, will be Second Nature. Best known for The Deep End of The Ocean (Oprah’s first pick), Mitchard can count me as a fan for a long time. Still Summer and No Time To Wave Goodbye are some of my favorites.  A friend of Alice Hoffman, I wonder about the title of this book, which is also one of Hoffman’s titles. On her Web site, Jackie talks about the freshman elective she took in Creative Writing and the fact that she was always a big reader but that she wasn’t “born to the page.” Mitchard’s writing would indicate otherwise which is just one more reason that she’s just so good! Second Nature pulls the reader right in with a horrific fire at the start of the novel (I have gotten this far in my reading) where Sicily Coyne’s face is disfigured and she loses her firefighter father. The story picks up twelve years later after Sicily has undergone a full-face transplant and she lives her life fully embracing all she has gone through and the challenges she will undoubtedly meet.

Reading enthusiast and all around "book-pusher" Robin Kall can be heard live Saturday mornings from 7-8am on Reading With Robin WHJJ 920AM. Also streaming live at www.920whjj.com. Follow on Twitter @robinkall, and Facebook - Reading With Robin.

 

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