In this special edition, Tim Ehrenberg taps his fellow Nantucket Book Festival Author Advocates for their insights on the top reads for June.
DEAR EDWARD by Ann Napolitano
Dear Edward, you will definitely be one of my favorite books of 2020. I am proud to be your advocate. I loved all of the characters that we meet in your pages. Dear Ann Napolitano, you managed to write a whole story about people I knew were going to die from the beginning. It was the first book I have read with that plot device, which added a layer of suspense to the story that I have never experienced. Death and grief are realities we rarely discuss as a society, and yet it is such a part of life. When you lose someone, you’re like Edward, you’re the survivor, and it’s a struggle to understand how to go on living when faced with such loss. This book helped to answer these profound questions and give us hope as we grieve along with Edward and the victims’ families.
THE WORLD THAT WE KNEW by Alice Hoffman
Jill Karp, a member of NBF’s board of directors, writes, “The World That We Knew is an amazing read filled with Alice’s magical realism that will keep you on the edge of your seat, will fill your eyes with tears and will often make your heart ache. It takes place during the Second World War and follows three women who use love and courage to get through the war. Alice weaves into her story old Jewish folk tales, the supernatural and the ugliness of evil, yet her message is always clear: Love will find a way. And you should find your way to reading this extraordinary book!” Trust Jill on this one, this was my favorite Alice Hoffman book to date.
LEADING MEN by Christopher Castellani
Karl Krueger, field sales manager for Penguin Random House, recommended Leading Men to me, and I fell in love with this story based on actual events and real-life people. “Come join the world of Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo,” says Krueger. “You’ll be swept into their lives of joy, turmoil, heartbreaks and triumphs. What does true love really mean? It’s a journey that will stay with you forever.” You will be transported to the literary and film circles of the 1950s and discover one of the great literary love stories you might not have known about before.
THE YELLOW HOUSE by Sarah M. Broom
The Yellow House won the 2019 National Book Award for nonfiction and appeared on pretty much every reading list for nonfiction last year. Liz Schaeffer writes, “The Yellow House made me think about the profound connections we make to where we are born and raised, to those who are with us along the journey and, of course, to the buildings that house our spirit and frame who we become. Pick up a copy and explore all of the rooms that fill Sarah M. Broom’s house and heart with emotions, from respect and adoration to just plain shame.”
SURVIVAL MATH by Mitchell Jackson
Mitchell Jackson’s second book, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, starts with a question: What is the toughest thing that you survived? Mary Haft, president of the Nantucket Book Foundation, advocates: “This non-fiction series of essays is an exploration of ideas, of the calculation of survival, of the connective thread of family and community; a complex web that encompasses race, inequality, prison, poverty, violence, addiction and the choices made in the hustle of life. Literature is humanity’s great call. Mitchell Jackson answers that call with honesty and blistering truth that cracks open a world we enter through the pages of his books.”
TRICK MIRROR by Jia Tolentino
My friend Annye Camara of Annye’s Whole Foods and my go-to bookworm, writes, “Jia Tolentino, the author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, writes intricate sentences that turn into remarkable, prescient paragraphs, and after chewing on them, you get her entire glorious gist. She’s a powerhouse thinker! Tolentino made me check some of my convictions and assumptions. I love when a writer does that, and she does it so incredibly well!” Trick Mirror is a book for right now, as it examines the fractures at the center of contemporary culture.
Support your Island Indies. All books are available at Mitchell’s Book Corner & Nantucket Bookworks!