Nantucket’s beloved bookworm gives his summer reading list for August.
HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST by Ibram X. Kendi
“The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind,” writes The New York Times. I think I may have to agree and wish it was required reading for all of us right now. I hear all the time, “but, I’m not racist.” In fact, I have said it. This book is a combination of memoir, how-to manual and vision for a better world. Ibram X. Kendi writes, “We know how to be racist. We know how to pretend to be not racist. Now let’s know how to be antiracist.” It is also the perfect book to read if you just don’t understand what to do, what to say and what to think regarding racism in America. How to Be an Antiracist gives you the tools to intelligently and respectfully discuss it with those around you.
THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett
Your whole day and responsibilities will vanish the second you pick up The Vanishing Half, which was a Good Morning America Book Club pick earlier this summer. I was also happy to see it reach No. 1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Black identical twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, ran away from their Southern town at the age of sixteen and chose to live in two very different worlds: one black and one white. It’s an important exposé on race, gender, identity and racial “passing” all seen through the eyes of two sisters. I loved these characters and the writing style, and kept thinking about their story way after I finished it.
THE ORDER by Daniel Silva
I spy with my little eye another Daniel Silva thriller on my bookshelf. Nothing says hot summer days like the new Silva suspense novel burning up your beach bag. This latest in the series featuring art restorer and legendary spy Gabriel Allon has it all. The suspected murder of a pope, a long-suppressed gospel, a shadowy Catholic society with ties to the far right—the intrigue will keep you turning those pages well into your August night. Expect plot twists galore and make sure to have another book on hand because you will finish this faster than the summer goes by.
IT IS WOOD, IT IS STONE by Gabriella Burnham
I was saddened to not be able to welcome Gabriella Burnham back to the island for the Nantucket Book Festival this past June. Gabi Burnham is a 2005 graduate of Nantucket High School and a former reporter for the Inquirer and Mirror newspaper. Her debut novel, It Is Wood, It Is Stone, was published at the end of July, and the early reviews have been stellar, including this one by Gabi’s high school English teacher and Nantucket resident, Anne Phaneuf: “Burnham’s vision is clear and richly crafted, an inviting, intriguing narrative that transported me from a gray New England day to the tastes, music and landscape of a lush, faraway world. A quick, but richly layered read!” Read more about Gabriella Burnham here.
DEACON KING KONG by James McBride
Oprah’s Book Club pick for summer is James McBride’s character-driven novel, perfect for right now, Deacon King Kong. It’s about the shooting of a Brooklyn drug dealer and the people who witnessed it. These characters all live at the Causeway Housing Projects in South Brooklyn and that creates a setting for a funny and surprising story. Oprah says, “In a moment when our country roils with righteous anger and grief, Deacon King Kong reminds us that when we come together as a community in compassion and empathy, our love triumphs.”
NEW ENGLAND OPEN-HOUSE COOKBOOK by Sarah Leah Chase
If you know me personally, you know that I’m not the best chef. I can barely boil water. I love cookbooks, though, and to entertain. Sarah Leah Chase’s New England Open-House Cookbook isn’t new, but it feels new every time we pull it off the shelf for a summer soiree. The book provides “hearty chowders for chilly nights, summer rib eyes and swordfish steaks for cook- outs on the deck. Plus boils, bakes, and lobster 17 ways.” Born and raised in Wisconsin, this cheesehead absolutely loves New England’s down-home flavors, regional ingredients and classic seafood dishes. No one does summer better than Sarah Leah Chase with more than three hundred recipes inspired by the bounty of New England.
Support your Island Indies. All books are available at Mitchell’s Book Corner & Nantucket Bookworks, and are linked in the photos above!