Marc Winkelman, Board Chair
Reagan, by H.W. Brands and The English Spy by Daniel Silva
I think H.W. Brands’s book, Reagan, is well worth reading. I’m also enjoying the new Daniel Silva, The English Spy. You don’t have to have read the earlier books in Silva’s series to enjoy the fast-paced exploits of Israeli spy Gabriel Allon. Both have been getting me through a lot of flights this summer.
Lois Kim, Executive Director
Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
This summer’s movie adaptation piqued my bookclub’s interest. Various members had read other works by Hardy but most had not read Far from the Madding Crowd. It’s surprisingly not dark and gloomy. Yes, it’s a Victorian novel so yes, there will be a bad marriage choice in there. But the heroine Bathsheba is a super interesting and modern portrayal in many ways. And it’s a page turner which is good because there are 350 of them.
Steph Opitz, Literary Director
Saint Mazie, by Jami Attenberg
See New York through a vintage filter with Mazie Phillips, the heroine of Attenberg’s (The Middlesteins) latest. Upon discovering the diary of Mazie, the ticket taker at a Bowery movie theater turned savior of sorts, a documentarian (with eclectic help) pieces together the life of a sometimes-polarizing, always bold, and completely unforgettable woman in this Depression-era New York historical fiction.
Kendell Miller, Outreach Coordinator
Astonish Me, by Maggie Shipstead
Enter the world of professional ballet where human bodies are pushed to the extremes to put on a seemingly effortless-looking spectacle. Joan, a former ballerina, seeks to find happiness with her present role as a mother and wife. She struggles to forget her past in the spotlight and a passionate love with Soviet ballet star Arslan Rusakov that turned sour. When Joan finally finds peace, her life takes an unexpected twist when it becomes apparent that her son is a dancing prodigy. She is quickly hurled back into a world she thought she’d put to rest. Shipstead’s words are magnetic. You will find yourself being quickly pulled into this dizzying, heartbreaking story.
Claire Burrows, Operations Coordinator
Summer Blonde, by Adrian Tomine
This is a beautiful, sometimes sad, collection of Tomine’s early Optic Nerve stories. The four storylines draw you in, making you care more about the characters than you expect. Tomine’s art is melancholic and deceivingly simple, and has graced the cover of the New Yorker several times. While his recent works have featured more mature story lines and characters, Summer Blonde still lets you bask in the narcissism of youth. Like any lovely graphic novel, you’ll find yourself returning to the pages, and searching the panels for more.
Alex Layman, Logistics Coordinator
Fool’s Progress, by Ed Abbey
Abbey is known for two books–The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire–but The Fool’s Progress may be his best work. Described as a semi-autobiographical novel, The Fool’s Progress touches on boyhood in Appalachia, tense, family dynamics & the aftermath of war, failed love, and industrial “progress” in mid-20th century America. Abbey’s voice is stronger than ever here, combining his other novel’s greatest elements into one. Full of lyrical prose, environmental & philosophical musings, and adventure, it’s lively, thought-provoking, and hilarious.
Hillary Sames, Intern
The Martian, by Andy Weir
In Weir’s The Martian, Mark Watney and his crew are some of the first people to step foot on Mars. When a dust storm nearly kills him and threatens the lives of his crew, they are forced to assume he is dead and evacuate. Stuck with no way to communicate with Earth, supplies that were only supposed to last the crew a month, and a planet that was never meant to sustain life, Watney must rely on his brilliant ingenuity and stubbornness to get home if he wants to survive. The book is incredibly amusing, fast-paced, and absolutely thrilling; it’s the perfect read to keep you occupied during those long summer travels. Oh, and there’s a bonus: the movie adaptation comes out early October!