Summer Book Recommendations
It’s no secret that we love reading at Lilja. And we love sharing the great books we read! As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into the dog days of summer, we’re finding more pleasure in reading — both to transport us away from our reality, and to help us see our reality more clearly.
Here are some of the books we’re recommending now:
Erica: “The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware
I always enjoy reading stories reminiscent of Agatha Christie, and Ruth Ware’s latest
book does not disappoint. “The Turn of the Key” is written from the perspective of
Rowan Caine, a young woman who stumbles upon an unbelievably generous live-in
nanny position for a wealthy family in the Scottish Highlands. But this incredible
opportunity comes at a devastating price. Filled with suspenseful twists and turns, Ware
delivers another devilishly satisfying thriller.
Erica: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In response to current events, I was drawn to reading “Between the World and Me.” The
book, presented as a letter from Ta-Nehisi Coates to his son, grapples with the concept
of race and how it has evolved over the course of American history.
It is a devastating, eye-opening must-read. As a person, it shocked, disheartened,
shamed and angered me, knowing this is the reality so many people face to this day.
But as a parent of two sons, it rattled me to my core and created an even greater
urgency — to further educate myself on antiracism, to raise my sons understanding the
power of differences and to take action for making change a reality.
Alicia: “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah
The Alaskan wilderness setting in this book gives social distancing a whole new meaning. It’s a stirring tale that weaves in family dynamics, mental illness and coming-of-age, set against the backdrop of a beautiful yet dangerous natural environment.
Lauren: “The End of Imagination” by Arundhati Roy
I have been meaning to read this book for quite a while, and after reading Arundhati Roy’s essay in April about the coronavirus, I decided it was finally time to read more of her work. “The End of Imagination” consists of speeches and essays from the late 90s and early 2000s. Many of the essays focus on India’s dam projects and nuclear testing, but much of the underlying political and social behavior will be easily recognizable to anyone paying attention to the news today. While a lot of the issues she writes about are very depressing, I really appreciated this book because Roy has such clear faith and hope in the power of the people, and she challenges us to imagine and create a better society.
Mary: “The Daughters of Erietown” by Connie Schultz
I thoroughly enjoyed this story spanning four generations of women in one family. It was a great read reflecting the changing status of women, and a compelling first novel by the amazing Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. (I also recommend following her on Twitter for her sharp insights and comforting advice — in equal measure.)
Linda: “The Guardians” by John Grisham
If the recent story of W.N.B.A. star Maya Moore taking time off to help get Jonathan Irons freed from prison ignites your passion for social justice, this legal thriller is a must for your reading list.
Set in a rural Florida town and its environs, Grisham’s novel follows a small nonprofit called Guardian Ministries as it works tirelessly (and against powerful forces) to free an innocent man from prison — twenty-two years after his conviction. As a former attorney, I love John Grisham’s ability to weave fictional stories that shed light on popular issues, and “The Guardians” did not disappoint.
Kate: “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle
“Untamed” is a powerful memoir and a stirring call to action. Doyle is a gifted storyteller who quickly draws you in with a (surprisingly!) powerful story about a cheetah. This is a book that encourages you to shake off convention and tap into your own instincts.