The other day I ran into a friend at Newtonville Books, a lovely independent bookstore in, yes, Newton, Mass. She asked me for suggestions for her book club and I told her about the wonderful novel I’ve just finished reading: “Room” by Emma Donoghue. Then, as we stood near the new book table, I saw another great book and another. Before I knew it, I was suggesting all of them for the summer.
If you’re looking for some great books to read this summer, here are my picks. I think they’re all out in paperback.
“Room” by Emma Donoghue is a modern day myth of the cave. A five year old boy tells of his life in a magical secluded room where he and his mother create a world of their own. In fact, his mother has been trapped in this room for seven years by her rapist–but, caring for her child, and living for him, she manages to create an entire world. This book is scary and magical. It’s about motherhood, myth, illusion, isolation and convention.
“The Master” by Colm Toibin is a novel about the extraordinary Henry James. Toibin imagines the self-aware and highly closeted James with such intimacy and feeling. You end up moving past admiration to sympathy.
“A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan is a jumpy, lively novel in snap-shots or stories or vignettes about a number of people loosely and sometimes closely connected with each other and with the music industry. Egan is interested in time–and her novel has a time-lapse effect as we watch these people age and divorce and self destruct. The book is sad and funny and acutely observed.
These are three novels I highly recommend–if you haven’t read them already.
What are you planning to read this summer?