A Novel Idea: Books Are A Balm

By: Barbara Bellesi Zito

When the headlines get too tense, we’re thankful to turn to books. Here are some recommendations that are sure to provide some necessary distraction this summer.

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HIS AND HERS, ALICE FEENEY

Flatiron Books

British journalist Anna Andrews is assigned to report on a woman’s murder in her hometown of Blackdown. The victim turns out to be a childhood friend, and Anna soon has a bigger part in the case than just reporter. The detective on the case, Jack Harper, also knows the victim, but keeps that information to himself. Then he becomes a suspect in the very murder he is investigating. As it turns out, Anna and Jack both have stories, and both have secrets. But who has the truth?

ASK THE AUTHOR: ALICE FEENEY

Before Alice Feeney wrote novels, she was a reporter for the BBC. We asked her how her journalistic background and instinct fuels her fiction…“I think my background as a journalist helps with fast storytelling, editing, and sticking to deadlines. After years of interviewing people, I’m also pretty good at knowing when someone is fibbing. The reason a person lies is almost always more interesting than the lie itself, which might be why I enjoy writing unreliable narrators like Jack and Anna in ‘His & Hers’!”

THE VANISHING HALF, BRIT BENNETT

Riverhead Books

This is the much-anticipated second novel of Bennett, whose debut novel, “The Mothers,” was a bestseller and won multiple awards.

The Vignes sisters are identical twins. They grew up in the same Black community in the South, but they are living completely different lives as adults. One is still in her hometown, raising her daughter. The other moved across the country, married a white man, and is secretly passing for white. Her past hidden, now she has a daughter of her own. What will happen when the twins’ daughters meet? This is a powerful story about family, race, gender—and ultimately identity.

ALL ADULTS HERE, EMMA STRAUB

Riverhead Books

In addition to being a best-selling author, Emma Straub is co-owner of the beloved bookstore, Books Are Magic, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Astrid witnesses a school bus accident that recalls a blocked memory from decades ago when she was a young mother. With three adult children who are now grown, she begins to question how well she raised them. Is it too late to matter? What happens when adults still have growing up to do, and Astrid’s teen grandchild seems more mature than all of them combined? Straub’s much-anticipated new novel approaches life and family with wisdom and humor.

IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME: HOW TO TURN BEING UNDERESTIMATED INTO YOUR GREATEST ADVANTAGE, ARLAN HAMILTON (WITH RACHEL L. NELSON)

Currency

Hamilton was the first non-celebrity Black woman to be seen on the cover of Fast Company.

It’s hard to get into the Silicon Valley “boys’ club” as a woman. For Arlan Hamilton, a gay black woman, it was practically impossible. But she did it. This frank memoir details how Hamilton went from food stamps to breaking through the glass ceiling in the world of venture capital—all without a college degree or an A-list professional network. Whether you need inspiration for your own career or just about anything else you’re aiming for in life, get ready to be inspired by Hamilton.

UNTAMED, GLENNON DOYLE

The Dial Press

Glennon Doyle is also the founder of Together Rising, an all-female-led philanthropy for people in crisis.

If you’ve heard about this memoir, then know this: It’s worth the hype. Activist and author Glennon Doyle is the epitome of what it means to be brave in the search for a happy life. On a book tour to promote her memoir of repairing her marriage after her husband’s betrayal, Doyle met and fell instantly in love with retired soccer star Abby Wambach. To live the live she wanted, Doyle turned her back on everything she felt she was expected to be and instead marched forward to be the mother, wife, and human she most wanted to be. This powerful memoir is a poignant yet funny, thought-provoking page-turner—a perfect summer read with substance.

INDIE AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

“It’s very real, and it exists whether we believe it or not,” says Mary Petto. She’s referring to the Law of Attraction, the power fueled by gratitude and positive thinking that allows us to achieve anything we set our minds to. “It’s like gravity,” she explains. “You can’t see it, but it’s real.”In her book, “The Family Guide to the Law of Attraction,” she provides a manual to get family (and friends) on literally the same page about achieving their wildest dreams and desires. Who better to support each other than the people you love? In light of all that has gone on this year, Petto’s book is a breath of fresh air. Read it and share it with your favorite people—and get ready for something truly incredible to happen in all of your lives.

Are You In A Book Slump?

Having trouble getting into a book? You might be in a book slump. If you are, you have permission to move on to a new one. Whether you feel distracted by the news of the world or you simply aren’t into the plot or characters, put the book down. Then pick up another. Do it again if you must. Just. Keep. Reading. Life is too short to read books that don’t move us. You’ll find something that hooks you again soon—perhaps on these very pages!

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