A few weeks ago we put out a call for readers to let us know what books are on their summer reading lists. From the responses we've received, it's clear that our community's reading preferences are as diverse as our authors' offerings.
Carol Waters of Seaford wrote that she just finished reading "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini (Dutton Adult, 2013). "If anyone enjoys stories of the Civil War era this book will be enjoyable. The relationship between Mrs. Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley is both unusual and fascinating. Although listed as 'fiction,' it is based upon well-known facts. It's a glimpse into the loneliness and grief of Mary Todd Lincoln and the difficulties of being a black woman in this time period." Chiaverini, who resides in Wisconsin, is the New York Times best-selling author of the Elm Creek Quilts novels. "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" is available in print, digital and audio from about $25 to $13 at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and independent book-sellers. For more information, go to elmcreek.net.
Reader Marilyn Zauner recommended the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series by best-selling author Julia Spencer-Fleming. "Set in a small town in the Adirondacks, the books combine mystery and romance and should be read in order of publication to follow the interaction between a married police officer and a feisty priest as they wrestle with temptation and intrigue. Start with 'In the Bleak Midwinter' (Minotaur Books, 2003) in which a baby is abandoned at the church and a mother murdered, to get a feel for the attraction that develops between the characters as they work to solve the case and you will be hooked. I am looking forward to number eight in the series, 'Through the Evil Days,' which will be published this fall." The books are available in various formats at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble in prices ranging from about $7 to $25. Learn more at juliaspencerfleming.com.
Phyllis Belden has been a busy reader this summer, with mystery topping her list in fiction. "I like it when I can't figure out whodunit," she wrote. In addition to Ann Cleeves' Shetland Quartet mysteries, set on the Shetland Islands of Scotland, Belden has been reading Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series. "I read the early books, and then got tired of sameness of the story lines. I just read the newest book, and now am reading backwards, the two books before it. The plots have more variety, and I think they have become more interesting." In non-fiction, Beldon just finished "Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery" (Harper, 2013), journalist Robert Kolker's investigative look at the search for a serial killer on Long Island. "While the subject sounds so depressing, Kolker writes so well that the reader gets involved with all the girls' stories, and not so much about the deaths."
Mish Kara of Williamsburg recommended legal thriller "The Green Line," debut novel by Chicago attorney E.C. Diskin (Wells Street Press, 2013). From the book's Goodreads page: "Abby Donovan's decade-long dream of partnership at her prestigious Chicago law firm is just months from fruition. But it's all about to change because of one misstep. One step onto a late-night train headed in the wrong direction. Headed into Chicago's west side, where gangs and violence and drugs fill the streets." Kara wrote, "This is a wonderful read. … E.C. Diskin's believable way of writing, her attention to detail and her legal knowledge keep the reader rivited from beginning to end." The book is available at Amazon.com for about $13 in print and $5 for Kindle. Diskin is the daughter of Maury and Harry Cain of Williamsburg.
Miles Lambert of Williamsburg wrote me about "Word of the Day," by Elliot Essman (self-published, 2013). According to the book's pages on Goodreads.com and Amazon.com, "Word of the Day" is a young adult coming-of-age novel which touches on difficult teen issues within a gourmet food subplot. Lambert wrote, "The range of characters is surprising, and they are humorous. As Essman is a chef, it is not surprising that food figures throughout the story, though mostly in ways having to do with the trends in nutrition that teenagers pick up on." The book is available at Amazon.com for Kindle for $2.99.
Local author Willford Kale suggests reading "Those Angry Days—Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight over World War II, 1939-1941" (Random House, 2013) by Washington, D.C., author Lynne Olson. While Kale admitted to being Olson's friend, he wrote, "I'm nearly finished and it's just a great read by a splendid storyteller." "Those Angry Days" is available at Amazon.com and other book retailers in print, digital and audio from about $15 to $33.
Grafton resident Margaret Cubberly is another apparently voracious reader. She wrote that she usually reads seven or eight books at a time which she scatters around her house. Among those currently in her mix are: "A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America's Original Superstar" (Lyons Press, 2011) by Michael and Barbara Foster; George Eliot's classic 880-page "Middlemarch," which Cubberly said is "filled with memorable characters and delicious wit;" Kitty Burns Florey's "Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting" (Melville House, 2009), and "the steamy verses of the Roman poet Catullus, frequently censored in the past." Cubberly wrote, "At 83, my motto is: 'So many books, so little time!"
Hampton B&N's Top Requests
If you're wondering what the best-sellers in our area are, you're not alone. I posed that question to Crystal Hunter, community relations manager for the Barnes & Noble bookstore located at Peninsula Town Center in Hampton. While stores cannot provide best-sellers by locality, Hunter did send this list of the store's Top 5 reader requests in fiction and non-fiction, as of last week.
Top 5 Fiction
•"Entwined with You: A Crossfire Novel" by Sylvia Day
•"Inferno" by Dan Brown
•"The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)
•"Joyland" by Stephen King
•"Little Green" by Walter Mosley
Top 5 Non-Fiction:
•"The Guns at Last Light" by Rick Atkinson
•"The 100: Count ONLY Sugar Calories and Lose Up to 18 Lbs in 2 Weeks" by Jorge Cruise
•"Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success" by Phil Jackson
•"Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" by David Sedaris
•"Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander" by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach
More Writers' Block
Want to continue the discussion? Check out our brand-new Goodreads page at http://www.goodreads.com/HRBooks. We'd love to know what's on your book list. If you have a new release or an upcoming event you'd like to share, contact Leah Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-4745.