I love my book club and for the first time in two years we are meeting in person this week. That’s almost inconceivable as we have been together for 25 years and have never gone this long without regular in-person meet-ups. The truth is, Zoom actually has been working really well and we get almost 100% participation but, this week we are psyched to dress up for each other, hug each other, share a meal and talk about the amazing book we just read or some of us listened to!
This week it’s my turn to recommend 4 books for our book club which we will vote on. This is a rotating assignment, but one we take pretty seriously.
No one wants to recommend that “worst” book so we all take this assignment pretty seriously.
So, I want to share the books I am recommending for our group with you all, but I also want to share the favorites we have read over this past year and a few additional books my avid reader friends have been enjoying.
Also I want to add, after 8 years, I bought a new Kindle and love this
Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) – Now with a 6.8″ display and adjustable warm light… the batter lasts longer, the light is easier on my eyes and it is a total upgrade. I also love the pink cover I bought as well:
Whether or not you are you in a book club — you may already have a long list of books you have recommended to friends or are waiting to read — we would love you to share them on our BA50 Instagram post.
Felice and Friends Book Recommendations with descriptions that can be found on Amazon.
1. Lucy By The Sea by Elizabeth Strout: We just finished this book and if you have been an Elizabeth Strout fan like me, you love the pace of her writing, the detailed calm descriptions which have a ring of truth and humor and oddity. Lucy has had a Covid escape from New York to Maine and her journey is part relatable, part comfort and part storybook. Looking forward to discussing it with our group this week.
2. The Marriage Portrait: A Novel by Maggie O’Farrell is dreamy and I love reading it. I am definitely recommending it my group who loved her other book Hamnet. “From the author of the breakout New York Times best seller Hamnet—winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award—an electrifying new novel set in Renaissance Italy, and centering on the captivating young duchess Lucrezia de Medici. Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?
Here’s the review which looks amazing – I am going to read this even if my book club doesn’t pick it!
“On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom.
They borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo: a game where players can escape the confines of a body and the betrayals of a heart, and where death means nothing more than a chance to restart and play again. This is the story of the perfect worlds Sam and Sadie build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, games as artform, technology and the human experience, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.”
4. Madwoman By Louisa Treger: Based on a true story, a spellbinding historical novel about the world’s first female investigative journalist, Nellie Bly.
In 1887, young Nellie Bly sets out for New York and a career in journalism, determined to make her way as a serious reporter, whatever that may take.
But life in the city is tougher than she imagined. Down to her last dime and desperate to prove her worth, she comes up with a dangerous plan: to fake insanity and have herself committed to the asylum on Blackwell’s Island. There, she will work undercover to expose the asylum’s wretched conditions.
But when the asylum door swings shut behind her, she finds herself in a place of horrors, governed by a cruelty she could never have imagined. Cold, isolated and starving, her days of terror reawaken the traumatic events of her childhood. She entered the asylum of her own free will – but will she ever get out?
An extraordinary portrait of a woman ahead of her time, Madwoman is the story of a quest for the truth that changed the world.
In early 2020, the world was on edge. An ominous virus was spreading on different continents, and no one knew what the coming weeks would bring. Far from the hot spots, the cruise ship Zaandam, owned by Holland America, was preparing to sail from Buenos Aires, Argentina, loaded with 1,200 passengers—Americans, Europeans and South Americans, plus 600 crew.
Most passengers were over the age of sixty-five. There was concern about the virus on the news, and it had already killed and sickened passengers on other Holland America ships. But that was oceans away, and escaping to sea at the ends of the earth for a few weeks seemed like it might be a good option. The cruise line had said the voyage (three weeks around the South American coastline to see some of the world’s most stunning natural wonders and ancient ruins) would carry on as scheduled, with no refunds. And it would be safe.
Signal Fires opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.
On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrive—a young couple expecting a baby boy—it is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans’ brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wife’s decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.
Here are recommendations of books my book club read or listened to and that I loved.