The Three-Year Swim Club is the inspirational, untold story of an ordinary schoolteacher whose fierce dedication to a crazy dream—to take a ragtag group of malnourished, poor sugar plantation kids & turn them into Olympians—became a reality.
Soichi Sakamoto could barely swim but he was determined to find a way to help these kids forge a better future for themselves through swimming. The odds were stacked against them. Most didn’t know how to swim and had only splashed around in the plantation irrigation ditches. But Sakamoto’s tireless commitment to the club combined with his hardcore training methods transformed this unlikely group of “sugar ditch kids” into world-class athletes, some of whom broke world records and swam against the best of the best.
The Three-Year Swim Club is this year’s The Boys in the Boat!
Using the framework of Greek mythology, Fates and Furies is the story of a charismatic couple, Lancelot (Lotto) and Mathilde, who are madly in love. Friends and family, despite being impressed by the seeming strength of the union, assume that the marriage, like many, will flame out quickly. But against the odds it remains strong through the decades or so it seems to observers. Told from two perspectives, the story unfolds to reveal a partnership that, while loving, is also obsessive, complicated, and full of dark secrets and one that ultimately ends in tragedy, isolation, and heartbreak. Sexy, profound, compelling, and riveting-a completely satisfying read!
Make Me by Lee Child
(Delacorte $28.99 - September 8, 2015)
Jack Reacher is drifting towards Chicago but when the train he's traveling on makes a brief stop at a small, dusty town in the middle-of-nowhere called Mother's Rest his plan changes. All he wants to know is how the town got its name but no one will answer his politely asked questions and the unfriendliness of the residents coupled with his keen observations of other odd situations piques his curiousity and he decides to stay awhile. He teams up with ex-FBI agent, Michelle Chang, who's in town trying to locate her missing business partner, whose last know location was Mother's Rest. Their investigations lead them to conclude that Mother's Rest has a sinister secret and they won't stop until they've uncovered what that is. Quintessential Reacher!
Paula McLain has done it again, this time retelling the life of Beryl Markham, adventurer, aviator and author—and a woman way ahead of her time.
Beryl’s unconventional childhood in Kenya coupled with her fearless and rebellious nature lays the foundation for a life of non-conformity and adventure, both in love and in work. Best known for setting a world record as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west, Beryl was also an accomplished horsewoman and the first female licensed horse trainer in Kenya. She had a passionate star-crossed love affair with Denys Finch Hatton and after his tragic death began to take a serious interest in flying eventually becoming the first woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license. Circling the Sun is an absorbing fictional memoir that portrays in vivid detail a remarkable woman who lived life on her terms but at a price. I loved this book!!
The Crossing by Michael Connelly
(Hachette $28.00 - November 3, 2015)
The Promiseby Robert Crais
(Putnam $27.95 - November 10, 2015)
In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
(Gallery/Scout Press $26.00)
When Lenora Shaw is invited to a weekend hen (bachelorette) party for a former friend, Nora, she wonders why. Once very close, they haven't spoken in years because of an earlier falling out. But against her better judgement she reluctantly agrees to go. The guests arrive at their destination—a modern glass house deep in the woods of rural Northumberland where there’s no reliable cell service and no close neighbors—and, in true Agatha Christie fashion, things immediately start to go downhill. Nobody, except the hostess, seems particularly happy to be there and after a bombshell revelation and a series of sinister events, Lenora wakes up in the hospital with serious injuries and no memory of what happened to her. The details and long kept secrets unfold as her memory returns. Creepy, dark, psychological and compulsively readable—I read this page-turning debut in one sitting!
Kitchens of the Great Midwestby J. Ryan Stradal
(Pamela Dorman Books $25.00) Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a delicious, heartwarming debut that hits all the right notes—moving, quirky, humorous with characters that are fully developed, complicated, and intriguing. Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a light read—there's depth and darkness as well as love and light... just like real life.
Freedom's Childby Jax Miller
(Crown Publishing Group $25.00)
This dark modern noir is not for the faint-of-heart but it's oh so good! Freedom Oliver is in witness protection for killing her cop husband twenty years earlier. She has two children that she put up for adoption but has never forgotten, When her daughter goes missing she risks everything to find her. Freedom is wild, complicated, fearless with a hair-trigger temper. Despite her many flaws she possesses a capacity for love that surprises even her—one of the best fictional characters I've encountered in a long time!
The Given Worldby Marian Palaia
(Simon & Schuster $25.00)
Everyone copes with grief in different ways. This soulful coming-of-age debut set during the Vietnam era tells the story of Riley, whose much-loved brother disappears after combat. Unable to cope with this decastating loss and unwilling to believe that he's actually dead, Riley leaves home and drifts westward in search of news of her brother as well as something to fill the hole created by her grief. Riley is complicated ,impulsive, damaged yet unforgettable.
(Riverhead Books $26.95)
I read The Girl on the Train in one day and absolutely loved it! Such a great read, combining an Agatha Christie (4:50 from Paddington) story line with the psychological tone of Patricia Highsmith. Definitely a page-turner. All in all very well done!
Now in paperback!
Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
(Scribner Book Company $16.00 - July 14, 2015)
I love this author! Megan's short stories are masterfully executed with characters that are complicated and endearing despite their flaws. She is able to create a fully fleshed out narrative so I never feel cheated (as I often do when reading short stories) and come away from each story completely satisfied. This collection is every bit as wonderful as her debut, Birds of a Lesser Paradise.
Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman
(WW Norton $14.95 - April 6, 2015)
This dark, atmospheric debut mystery set in the hills of rural Pennsylvania will appeal to readers of Dennis Lehane and Craig Johnson. Meth labs, heroin dealers, and fracking have brought unexpected wealth to the small rural township of Wild Thyme. Residents are already in disagreement about the oil drilling when a generations-long blood feud spins out of control and threatens to destroy everything in its wake. Fiddle-playing, deer-hunting, local cop Henry Farrell is brooding, complex and enigmatic. I’m hoping that this is the start of a new series featuring this great character!
We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride
(Simon $15.00 - April 28, 2015)
A remarkable debut! Set in the Las Vegas rarely experienced by tourists and told in the voices of 4 people--a young immigrant boy, a housewife in the midst of a bitter divorce, an Iraqi war veteran suffering from PTSD and a committed social worker—this novel questions the “American Dream” while reminding us that the struggle to find our best self can be painful but necessary—that in the midst of horrible tragedy we can also find compassion, love and forgiveness. Not to be missed!
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
(Putnam $16.00 - May 12, 2015) Everything I Never Told You is a haunting and profoundly moving debut that kept me reading late into the night. Elegant poetic prose tells the story of a mixed race family living in a small Ohio town during the 1970s. When Lydia, the much-loved middle daughter, mysteriously disappears, the ripple effect of this devastating tragedy forces the family to confront long kept secrets and issues of race that threatens to unravel them, both as a family and as individuals. The perfect reading group book!
Food Glorious Food!
Toast by Raquel Perez
(Phaidon $24.95 - September 1, 2015)
Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak
(Ten Speed $27.99 - September 22, 2015)