I am currently on the beach, lounging by the pool, sitting out on a deck looking at palmettos, or taking a nap. Beside me at each of these fabulous locations are one or more of the books I brought with me on vacation this week. I gave a preview when I posted a picture of the (two) stack(s) last week. Now, a little more info on the first half of these titles.
Let's Take the Long Way Home: a Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell: Named one of BookPage's Best Books of 2010 (via their book blog The Book Case), they describe the memoir as a book that "not a single one of [the people in the BookPage office] was able to read . . . without crying. It’s not only a stunning exploration of the bonds of friendship and the way that those relationships evolve over time; it’s also a beautiful tribute to Caldwell’s friend, the writer Caroline Knapp (best known for Drinking: A Love Story), who died of lung cancer in 2002."
Gone With a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West: I've never been disappointed by this Tennessee writer's work. In fact, I usually love it. I'm looking forward to her latest novel, which blogger S. Krishna reviewed last month, saying that "while that summary [from the publisher] . . . might sound interesting, it doesn’t capture one very important thing about the novel: how funny it is. This book reminded me of a Janet Evanovich-esque chick lit novel with a fun mystery twist. I absolutely loved the ridiculous situations that Teeny found herself in, as well as the deft way in which she dealt with them. Though she could be frustrating at times, Teeny was a capable and lovable heroine that readers will root for from beginning to end." Sounds like a winner to me!
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown: A Shakespeare-loving family of sisters are actually named for famous Shakespearean women leads. The title itself is, of course, also taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth, in reference to the witches. Their professor father took his work home with him in more than just names. He also raised the girls to speak in language other than the slang that children often adopt while growing up. The NY Times discussed the novel, stating that "Ms. Brown appears well equipped to handle this gimmick. And she makes it her book’s main attraction. As the narrative voice of “The Weird Sisters” slips from that sisterly “we” into third-person subplots about each sister, she reveals that each girl has some traits of the character for whom she was named." I know little about the novel's plot, but the little I do know has piqued my interest from the beginning. My course on Shakespeare was one of my favorite in college, and I'm looking forward to reading more.
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - A Love Story by Ree Drummond: Thousands follow Drummands' blog, Pioneer Woman and create fabulous foods based on Drummond's recipes. Now Drummond tells the world the background story in a memoir about her meeting her husband and moving to the ranch. Forbes reviewed the book as a result of the empire Drummond has built on the Pioneer Woman name, and compared it to a real-life Harlequin romance: "I tucked it in my bag on a Friday afternoon, and looked forward to a weekend on my couch (I was also stricken with my 287th cold of the season) lost in a fantasy world of love, and good cooking and strapping cowboys wrangling cattle. By Sunday evening I was finished, and emerged from my apartment—well, like I had spent the weekend on a trashy romance spree." Sounds like the perfect vacation read to me.
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott (July 2011): Abbott's new novel is an upcoming release from Reagan Arthur imprint of Little, Brown, to be released in July. I've never read Abbott, but her Bury Me Deep was nominated for an Edgar, which is good enough for me. Also, blogger nomadreader mentioned the book as one she was looking forward to way back in November when she said "Megan Abbott [is] one of my favorite mystery authors. I had the privilege of meeting her at Book Expo America in May, and it was such a joy. I'm thrilled to see Megan being published by Reagan Arthur Books, too." Apparently the book has similarities to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones (a young girl disappears), which I loved.
Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate (July 2011): Wingate is another new-to-me author whose latest book I received from Penguin. Book blurbs have been excellent, with many southern authors weighing in. Karen White, author of many bestselling books, said "Dandelion Summer is a rare gem of a book. It's a story of two unlikely allies on a journey to find their Camelot, but it's so much more than that. It's a story of missed opportunities and new beginnings, of understanding the past and creating dreams, of aiming for the stars even when you doubt that the stars are within your reach."
Tomorrow, the rest of the books I stowed in my trunk for the trip! Until then, happy reading! I am currently about to finish up the Pretty Little Liars series book #5, Wicked, which was perfect for the beach today.