Here are four books to add to your beach bag (even if you’re not on vacation and just keep your beach bag next to the couch to reach into on weekends!)
Fury: A Memoir by Koren Zailckas
This book reminded me how good writing can be. Zailckas takes us through her years of figuring out what it means for her to have emotions – particularly anger – after growing up in a family that avoids fury at all costs. I was riveted. Highly recommended, whether you’re figuring out your own relationship to anger or just love a great memoir. Most of all, if you are a writer, this is a book you should have in front of your eyes.
Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, S.J.
James Martin has been one of my favorite new writers over the past few months. This HUGE memoir of his trip to the Holy Land was so great. I’m not usually a fan of overly long books, but in this one, each page earns its place. I was hooked right in the beginning, when he admits to not ever wanting to visit the Holy Land because he didn’t want to have his imagined pictures of the places where Jesus lived and ministered to be sullied by places filled with tourists, cell phones, and stands hawking memorabilia. I’ve had similar thoughts about visiting sites that are historically or spiritually important. And I’m glad he overcame this concern and took us on this trip with him. This is a great read for anyone who loves travel writing or spiritual memoir.
What a great concept for a book! I was caught up immediately in the idea of a “service” where one can go to get a vision for what the future will look like if one proceeds along a certain path. Isn’t that what most of us wish for at one time or another? The book starts off brilliantly, layering this possibility over characters who are trying to decide whether or not to marry the people they are currently dating. It’s brilliant, terrifying, and highly readable.
This book was so much fun to read. I’ve often wondered what will happen to the generation of kids being raised in front of the whole world via “Mommy Blogs,” where their every movement and their mothers’ every emotion is recorded for posterity. I’m glad this technology did not exist during my childhood, and FAMOUS BABY reinforced my gratitude. The center of the story is eighteen year old Abbie, who has gone into hiding to escape the narcissistic mother who has blogged about Abbie’s most private moments since Abbie was a little girl. The chapters alternate perspectives, and the voices, longings, and reasoning of each character are well written.The book takes a strange turn during the second half, veering away from questions about blogging and the public/private divide, and into issues of aging and euthanasia. It almost feels like two pieces of fiction stitched together. Even though this book doesn’t answer all (or any) of the questions it raises, it’s an intriguing read that stayed with me.