The Island’s beloved bookworm Tim Ehrenberg gives his seven picks for this year’s seventh annual Nantucket Book Festival.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies
By John Boyne
Perhaps my favorite book from the last five years, The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a coming of age novel rich in character and plot. Reminiscent of a Dickens classic or a John Irving best seller, they truly don’t write them like this anymore. The story would break my heart and repair it again within one page.
By Min Jin Lee
An epic saga of four generations of a poor, immigrant Korean family making their way in Japan. It’s a history lesson, a cultural journey, an absorbing plot with a large ensemble of characters that begins with the captivating sentence, “History has failed us, but no matter.” You will lose yourself in this story and never want it to end.
By Louise Penny
The Three Pines mysteries featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache have been a favorite of mine for years. Beginning with Still Life, this village and its characters have become my friends. Much more than your average crime novels, Penny’s books take on profound themes that examine the mysteries of human interaction and development. Sophisticated, literary, but still super suspenseful “whodunnits.” Highly recommended!
Behold the Dreamers
By Imbolo Mbue
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the 2017 Oprah’s Book Club Pick, Behold the Dreamers holds a magnifying glass to the issues of immigration, class division, race, marriage, friendship and the so-called American Dream. Originally from Africa, Mbue gives us a story that is quintessentially American and that, as author Jacqueline Woodson says in her review, “is both timely and timeless.”
Fisherman’s Blues: A West African Community at Sea
By Anna Badkhen
With writing as deep and mysterious as the sea, Badkhen’s nonfiction exposes the world’s iniquities by honoring the lives these iniquities most affect. Set in Senegal, Fisherman’s Blues immerses us in a community tugged at by ancient and modern currents.
Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
By Andrew Solomon
While my reading preferences usually lean toward fiction, this book truly changed me. A review on the book’s cover boldly claims that it will “expand your humanity” and I have to humbly agree. Don’t be deterred by this 962 page tome, even one chapter makes you a more compassionate and more understanding person. Solomon posits, “Difference is what unites us” and “Being exceptional is at the core of the human condition.” This book should be required reading for all of humanity.
The Rules of Magic
By Alice Hoffman
Absolutely bewitching! I literally felt I was under a spell as I read it. My favorite Alice Hoffman novel, which expertly portrays the magical realism Alice is famously known for. It is a prequel to the best seller Practical Magic, with characters and plot lines that felt both real and out of this world.
All photographs by Tim Ehrenberg
All books available at Mitchell’s Book Corner & Nantucket Bookworks