I have done a bit of detective work lately, and I have determined clues that identify the homes of readers. Let me elaborate. It is summer. If there is a reader in the house, the flower gardens are probably in need of weeding. The stack of flowerpots in the shed are decorated with cobwebs. Unopened packets of seeds are strewn about randomly. The yard rake still has dried up leaves from spring cleaning. Signs of pesky squirrels abound. And there on the kitchen bulletin board is a notice — “Get it done tomorrow.” I think I am mirroring myself!!
Yes, this is definitely the home of a reader, and for readers in the summertime, that tomorrow never comes. Or maybe I should say eventually comes. But what could be a better excuse to release one from mundane chores than a good book, and to that end, here it is the third month of our Book World column, and we’re still going strong. Let’s see what August has in store.
I see our friend and regular contributor Howard Waters has been hanging around the best-seller list again. His recommendation for an excellent summer read is The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris. According to Howard, a lot of readers will see a book title that contains the word Auschwitz and conclude that it’s not exactly a love story. Those readers would be wrong. Not that there aren’t more than a few rough back stories in this novel. There’s no way to sugarcoat a novel that has a concentration camp as its primary setting. The two main characters in this book, Lale and Gita, somehow manage to find and sustain love for one another in horribly wretched circumstances. Surprisingly, Tattooist is uplifting, more than a little frightening and a great story of how love can indeed conquer all.
Our guest reviewer Chris Chance offers us another thought-provoking read about being in charge of one’s life. Tara Westover’s fascinating memoir, Educated, spotlights her own experience. Born to survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” She had never set foot in a classroom until she was 17, yet ultimately achieved a PhD in history from Trinity College in Cambridge and has become the award-winning writer she is today. Chris says this book is hard to put down. Will you agree?
Are you like everyone else I know? You’re going to write a book one day? Well, this is your lucky day. Our friend Allan Hanrahan recommends this “work of inspiration” in pursuing the art of writing. In her very popular work, Someday You’ll Write, author Elizabeth Yates both encourages and inspires would-be writers with her reinvigoration to write, a reintroduction to the creative process and a reminder of basic tenets in the craft of putting words following words on a blank page. Read this and perhaps you will write a book one day.
So here you have it, our suggestions for August, a traditionally steamy month that just begs for distraction. My advice? Find a cool nook, fix a huge glass of iced tea, kick off your flip-flops and defy the elements by reading. Oh, and most important of all: Turn off your phone!