Ten Books You Should Be Reading
The summer is flying by and with temperatures around the country so high, a lot of people are staying in under the A/C looking for something to read. How do I know? Because my Twitter timeline is full of people asking what I recommend. So here are my top 10 reads so far this year.
10. Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
Look for a review of this in the near future. Told by the adult daughter of a mother that’s gone missing, the daughter is forced to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother and wonder how much she knows her mother. After putting her own happiness on the back burner for so many years, would it be so hard to imagine that her mother might have chosen to disappear?
9. The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris
This is the book I expected when I read Condoleezza Rice’s Extraordinary, Ordinary People. Where Condi failed me, Michele Norris came through with flying colors. This is truly one of those books that everyone needs to read.
8. If Sons, Then Heirs by Lorene Cary
It’s impossible to read the latest from Lorene Cary and not reflect on your family’s legacy. Whether it be physical property or simply your family history, there are things passed down through the generations for which no monetary compensation will suffice. If Sons, Then Heirs touches on both of these.
7. The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain
In a book with more twists and turns than a maze, The Midwife’s Confession is an “on the edge of your seat” read. You won’t realize it when you first start it because it’s such a nice story about three friends in a quaint northeastern town. Written in a Jodi Picoult-like style, the story is told from the view point of not only the three women, but others, as necessary.
6. All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann
First time novelist Jessica McCann skillfully brings the story of Margaret Morgan and her family to life in the historical novel All Different Kinds of Free, based on the Supreme Court case Prigg v. Pennsylvania. Though the author takes creative license in some parts, it is done to fill in the gaps in an effort to bring the reader a complete story.
5. The VIPS by Scott Poulson-Bryant
I just read this this week and when I say it’s an ohmygoshIcan’tputitdownbecauseIneedtoknowwhathappensnext kind of read, believe me. I recommended it to my reading twin, Litfangrl, and she missed her train stop because she was so into it. If you loved the 80s miniseries Lace, you will love this. Even if you never saw Lace, you’ll love this. It’s that good.
4. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
An absolutely brilliant effort from first time novelist Christie Watson, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, is definitely a must read. Watson tackles several issues head on and does so with ease.
3. Patches of Grey by Roy L. Pickering
In a story that at times reminded me of Matty Rich’s Straight Out of Brooklyn, Roy L. Pickering, Jr. deftly weaves a coming of age tale of Tony Johnson in Patches of Grey. And while Pickering could have taken the easy way out and strictly focused on one main character, he takes the time to tell not only Tony’s story, but that of his siblings and parents as well, each as fascinating as Tony’s.
2. Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany
Admitting failure is never an easy thing to do. And for a mother to admit that she’s failed, it can be devastating. In Amy Hatvany’s Best Kept Secret the reader is given a front row seat into what can happen when a parent falls apart.
1. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
With the opening line, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” Tayari Jones skillfully pulls the reader into the world of two sisters: Dana and Chaurisse. Told in first person by each of the sisters, Silver Sparrow is absolutely remarkable. I reviewed this back in March and worried that people would forget about it by the time it came out in May. I’m so happy that Silver Sparrow and Tayari are getting so much shine. How amazing is it? So much so that not a day goes by that I don’t see someone in my time line tweeting about it. If you’ve yet to read it, shame on you!
Michele Norris is the host of NPR’s All Things Considered and the author of The Grace of Silence.