Books to Read After Running

  Sally's Picks  

Running Home by Katie Arnold

This memoir by elite ultra-distance trail-runner Katie Arnold mostly avoids the pitfalls of other running memoirs with its honest vulnerability and beautiful descriptions of southwestern trail running that make you feel like you yourself are running up a mountain in New Mexico. Katie is a classic runner personality—perfectionist, goal-oriented, obsessive—who is plunged into grief and anxiety after her father’s cancer diagnosis and death. Her relationship with her father is complicated and her process of coming to terms with it is moving. She also has a very spiritual connection to running and writes very well about mind-body connection and the act of running for movement’s sake rather than competition’s sake. At times her humility rings false and she underestimates how her privilege contributes to her success, but overall, she’s a thoughtful and engaging person who tells her story with a big, open heart.

An Odyssey:  A Father, a Son and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn

This memoir by college professor and classicist Daniel Mendelsohn is about his experience teaching Homer’s epic poem Odyssey to a literature class at Bard College which his elderly father decides to take as a student. It is a brilliant and thoroughly engrossing father-son story with the story of the Odyssey woven throughout. Daniel and his father Jay, who is irreverent and introspective about the poem, have a fraught but sweet relationship and the teacher-student dynamic helps them both understand each other in new ways.

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

This historical novel is about three generations of the Milton family who started an American banking empire at the turn of the century.  The family’s privileged life in New York City and on a private island in Maine is full of dramatic secrets, betrayals and tragedy that leaves each generation seeking answers to long-standing mysteries and heartache. Social change throughout the generations is also closely examined. This is a very readable and engaging story, perfect for summer, that is thought-provoking and, in many parts, very poignant.

Strangers and Cousins by Leah Hager Cohen

Another family drama, this one very modern, that takes place over several days leading up to a big, chaotic wedding at a homestead in Rundle Junction, NY. There is huge cast of unique characters and the story is entertaining and sometimes wacky. The novel contains universal and oft-told truths about family dynamics and social change over generations but is fresh and innovative. Another great summer read.

  Mark's Picks  

Mark is giving us a summer reading special trilogy by his favorite Nantucket artist, Elin Hilderbrand.  She cranks out one summer novel each year, almost always set in Nantucket, however one is set on St. John’s, Virgin Islands.  I know they are not murder mysteries but sometimes you have to take a break from all the gore! This is for reading at the beach while relaxing under an umbrella drinking a pina colada.

The Identicals

If you're into summer novels, it doesn't get better than Elin Hilderbrand’s. Cozy up on a beach and read her latest summer story about estranged twins Harper and Tabitha Frost; one lives on Nantucket the other on Martha's Vineyard. Their "frosty" relationship is muddled further as they actually switch lives on the twin Cape Cod Islands and discover some interesting insight into their past, their troubles, their infidelities, their lies, and decide if they can once again emerge as happy siblings. Read it to find out.

Winter in Paradise

Welcome to Paradise! First in a trilogy by the Queen of the summer novel. Elin's stories normally are set in Nantucket, but this new series brings us to the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands and specifically the pristine beaches and turquoise waters of St. John. But beyond the innocence and beauty of islands lies intrigue and deceit. Meet the Steeles - mother Irene and her two adult sons, Baker and Cash. Their lives are thrown into disarray when they receive word that dear old dad, Russ Steele not only died on New Year's Eve but was killed in a helicopter crash on a tropical island and WITH his mistress, a local West Indie beauty. The family flies to the scene and THAT'S when all the craziness begins. A terrific novel for your summer reading list.

Here’s to Us

Another in a long line of successful “summer” novels for Nantucket's own Elin Hilderbrand. Here's to Us brings together the three wives of deceased celebrity chef Deacon Thorpe who gather in their former summer cottage on Nantucket. Laurel, his high school sweetheart and mother of famous, yet troubled, travel author Hayes; Belinda, the movie star who stole him away from Laurel offering fame and fortune and a lovely adopted child, Angie; and Scarlett, the sophisticated yet troubled, Southern nanny who stole his heart from Belinda. The wives and children (little Ellery arrives with mom Scarlett) and Deacon's best friend, Buck, must decide first how to get along and let go of the past, and then what to do about Deacon's crumbling financial empire. How they figure it out, filled with back stories of secrets and deceit, is the crux of the story. And of course Hilderbrand adds in luxurious descriptions of Deacon's and Angie's recipes and food to make you “hungry” for more!

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