A big comfy chair, a good story, and I’m a happy girl. This summer I have read several books by BA50 women, and I happy to recommend all of them.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Initially I was put off by the coral pink and Chick Lit-ish cover. (Not that there is anything wrong with Chick Lit, as you will read further on.) But the woman at the bookstore gave it a glowing recommendation. My recommendation… run and buy this book. This is the first book in a long time, where I didn’t pick-up my phone mid-sentence to check emails or messages. I happily read uninterrupted for hours, and I enjoyed every word. Despite being set in the late 50s/early 60s, the story is contemporary and relevant: a story about a woman’s empowerment and friendship. The characters are quirky and endearing. The plot has twists and turns, some you see coming and others are a surprise. Bonnie Garmus the author is now 65 and this is her first published novel. It’s already been optioned, and they are filming the series for Apple+ starring Brie Larson.

Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner (or any Jennifer Weiner book)

I am new to Jennifer Weiner and I’m not sure what rock I was living under, because she is currently one of my favorite people. As a friend said, “she is the smartest Chick Lit author out there”. She graduated Princeton summa cum laude and has published 15 novels, one non-fiction book, and a number of short stories and articles, in the last 11 years. What has also endeared me to Jennifer is her attitude of body positivity. Most of her life she has been a plus size woman, and she embraces it.

Summer Place is her latest novel. While the plot of this book falls firmly in the category of romance and can be a little contrived; her proses are perfect and thus the reading is beyond pleasurable. It takes place in Brooklyn, Cambridge, California, and on the Cape. There are whole families, and blended families, and broken families. There is young love, re-kindled love, passionate love, and more. Just pour yourself something tall and cold, settle in, and get ready to be transported.

(As a treat, go back to the beginning as I have done and start with Good in Bed. I have been listening to her early books on Audible. It helps make my daily walks in the extreme heat more enjoyable.)

Left on Tenth: A Second Change at Life: A memoir by Delia Ephron

There was a lot about this book that was lovely. Readers will recognize the cadence of Ephron’s voice from her movies You’ve Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and her play Love, Loss and What I Wore. This memoir takes you through a gamut of emotions and emotional experiences beginning with the death of her husband of 35 years, a marriage she portrays as nearly perfect. Then she recreates her whirlwind romance with her second husband Peter. And I became ever so slightly envious. She is literally whisked off her feet by man who seems to anticipate her every desire. However, the book grows darker again as she becomes deathly ill with the same disease that killed her beloved older sister Nora. The story is a fascinating glimpse into Ephron’s life and psyche.

The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon by Marcy McCreary

An acquaintance organized a book event for her sister, Marcy McCreary, and I decided to order the book and go. I was pleasantly surprised. The book is nominally about a fictional cold case, the disappearance of Trudy Solomon. Interwoven is a sweet father-daughter story, as this unlikely duo travel from the Catskills to Florida and Massachusetts to solve the case. Readers, like me, who have driven Route 17 to upstate New York will recognize the little towns where this take place. If you like police procedurals and want to support a new author, then this is for you.

My reading list is wide and varied but it was fun to read novels by contemporaries. Let us know what you think and are reading.

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