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April 6, 2012

Spring Break Vacation – Part One


Spring Break for me is about reading. It’s a chance to do some catching up and some reading ahead. And I did a little of each this trip while also realizing there are some classics that I clearly missed that I need to explore.

On the drive down I finished John Grisham’s CALICO JOE, which will be in stores on Tuesday, April 10th. Grisham is a huge baseball fan and he writes a novel about his passion here that looks beyond strikes and at bats to the story of a father and his son --- and how one pitch has impacted their lives. There’s lots in it to enjoy --- and think about. I know a lot of people who will enjoy it.  

Next up was GILDED AGE, a debut novel by Claire McMillan (June 12th), which I am crazy about. Like THE INNOCENTS by Francesca Segal (June 5th) that I told you about a few months ago, this book is based on an Edith Wharton novel, this time THE HOUSE OF MIRTH (The Segal is THE AGE OF INNOCENCE.) I definitely need to take some time to read Wharton before June to explore the parallels between these books.

GILDED AGE, set in Cleveland shows a stylish side to that city (and has me looking forward to Bouchercon there this fall) as readers meet Ellie Harr who makes her return to her native city after a divorce in New York. But she learns that what while her beauty is dazzling her sexual reputation  matters as much as her family heritage and bankbook. Her more grounded childhood friend is living a respectable Cleveland life and the divide between their worlds enhances Ellie’s troubles all the more. It, like THE INNOCENTS, will be a Bets On selection.

My older son, Greg loves lighthouses and in fact he just met up with us last night as he spent part of this trip lighthousing in the southern portion of the state including a lovely night at Cape Lookout National Park. As we have spent a lot of time with him climbing lighthouses. Thus THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS drew me in with the cover. Here we have a couple manning a remote lighthouse off the coast of Australia. The wife has born a stillborn child when a boat washes up with a dead man and a baby who has survived whatever happened to him. The couple takes the child in as their own and life is blissful until they travel back to the mainland and learn something that will change their worlds. Yet another Bets On for this one. Folks, this is shaping up to be a brilliant year for fiction. 


THE RED HOUSE by Mark Haddon (June 19th) was next…you remember him from THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME. Here a brother invites his sister and her family to join his family --- his wife and stepdaughters for a week’s vacation. The story structure is brilliantly done with overlapping stories and points of view. Each character’s story dovetails to another as secrets and dreams are layered in with a checkered family past. I still have more to read, but it’s going to be yet another fabulous June book.

More to come next week as my Spring Break reading adventure continues.