N’s resident bookworm Tim Ehrenberg shares six of his favorite reads.
AMERICAN POP BY SNOWDEN WRIGHT
Pop down to your favorite independent bookstore and pick up a copy of American Pop. I was saving this recommendation for the month of July because it is so quintessentially American. Britain has tea. France has champagne. America has pop! Moving from Mississippi to Paris to New York and back again, this fictional saga of family, ambition, passion and tragedy brings to life one unforgettable Southern dynasty—the Forsters, founders of the world’s first major soft-drink company—against the backdrop of more than a century of American cultural history.
ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS BY OCEAN VUONG
Sometimes a book comes along that is so beautifully written that it doesn’t really matter what the plot is about. Even the title and the author’s name are poetic perfection, which makes sense because Ocean Vuong is an award-winning poet. This debut novel takes the form of a letter from a Vietnamese son to his mother who cannot read. What follows is some of the most special prose I have ever read between the covers of a book.
THE NICKEL BOYS BY COLSON WHITEHEAD (Available July 16th)
Colson Whitehead follows up his multiple award-winning novel The Underground Railroad with this story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. The Nickel Boys is based on actual events and of a very real reform school that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children. The fictional characters created here vividly come to life as they take us through this devastating time in American history. Whitehead writes, “Who spoke for the black boys? It was time someone did.”
MRS. EVERYTHING BY JENNIFER WEINER
I am never one to pass up a generational novel, and this one reminds me of one of my favorites—The Heart’s Invisible Furies. Both of these books follow their main characters throughout their whole lives, and even beyond. Jennifer Weiner writes, “One of my favorite quotes is by the poet Muriel Rukeyser: ‘What would happen if one woman would tell the truth about her life? The world would split open.’” In Mrs. Everything, Weiner, inspired by Little Women and her mother, covers a big canvas as she explores the lives of two sisters and how a woman should be in the world. Pack this one in your beach bag.
THE BRITISH ARE COMING: THE WAR FOR AMERICA, LEXINGTON TO PRINCETON, 1775-1777 BY RICK ATKINSON
History buffs rejoice because Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson is back with the first in a brand-new trilogy recounting the first twenty-one months of America’s violent war for independence. Atkinson creates a detailed account that is as definitively informative as it is enjoyably entertaining. If you have finished local Nantucket author Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Hurricane’s Eye and are craving more revolutionary reads, ride like Revere and tell everyone you know that The British are Coming!
ASK AGAIN, YES BY MARY BETH KEANE
I’m constantly asked again and again for recommendations similar to “Big Little Lies” and Little Fires Everywhere, and I say a hundred times yes to Ask Again, Yes. It’s a profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, and it encompasses all of the messy and amazing parts of living in contemporary times. We see parenthood, marriage, friendship, work life, growing up, adulthood, tragedy, the fragility of happiness, and the power of love. While it has some parallels to the previous family dramas mentioned above this one has something special all on its own.
Click the image to purchase the book from Nantucket Book Partners, or pick up a copy at Mitchell’s Book Corner or Nantucket Bookworks.