Books to Read After Running

28 Summers  by Elin Hilderbrand 

I love reading Elin Hilderbrand's once-a-summer Nantucket beach novels....and this one delivers on her promise that it's her best yet! I honestly challenge you to read it able to put it down! (you can't!). And the tears will flow as Hilderbrand weaves her story of the sad, tragic, but somehow perfect romance of Jake and Malory over 28 summers on the little island on the Cape. Based loosely on "Same Time, Next Year," it's a love story that will have you turning the page in disbelief. Complications, triangles, deceit, and in a weird sense, loyalty, all play a strong part. If you read one novel this summer, please read this one.

Lady Killer (Rosato & Associates, #10) by Lisa Scottoline

This is the third Lisa Scottoline book I have read during the Pandemic, and the Rosato series is excellent. Scottoline focuses here on Mary Dinunzio, one of four lawyers in the firm. Mary goes back to her South Philly roots as she picks up a case involving her old high school “friends.” Trish and her circle of friends, Guilia, Yolanda and Missy (she called them the 'Mean Girls' in high school as they made fun of her for being a nerd) are in big trouble. Trish is engaged to a mobster and she is afraid he is going to kill her. After she goes to Mary for help, Trish disappears and Mary must work with her former 'frenemies' to find her before it's too late. One thing leads to another, and of course there are big twists and turns to make things interesting. "Lady Killer" makes me want to catch up on this series and get right up to date! It will for you too.

The Institute by Stephen King

I haven't read a Stephen King book in a while, but thanks to the Pandemic, I was able to take one out from the library before they all shut down. What a find! Best book I have read since this whole isolation thing started. I never wanted to put it down. In a nutshell, a secret organization has about 20 "Institutes" around the world where they keep kids with great mental abilities ~ telekinesis and telepathy ~ as well as high BDNF scores (having to do with their brains) and use them in strange and bizarre ways. Our hero, Luke Ellis, is so smart at age 12 he has been accepted into two Engineering schools, but before he can go, the Institute kidnaps him, kills his parents and brings him to a secluded area in Maine where kids are kept under strict rule by the sadistic administrator, Mrs. Sigsby and her staff of doctors and enforcers. To fully understand the whole crazy system, you will really have to read it. At the same time in a small rural town in South Carolina, a drifter and ex-cop Tim Jamieson has taken a part time job with the sheriff's department. Eventually, by a twist of fate, Tim and Luke will have to team up to see if they can stop the craziness. A must read.

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Not just my favorite book this year, one of my favorite books ever. A crime novel involving mafia bosses, drug rings, and corrupt cops set in 1969 in a Brooklyn housing project (the “Cause") is a whole lot different than what I usually read but what this book is really about —community, friendship, love, loyalty, redemption and hope, told via a richly-drawn, multi-dimensional and vibrant group of characters moved me as much as any novel I’ve ever read. The people of the Cause just leap off the pages, their interactions and connections and feelings toward each other alive and complex and deeply felt. The plot is thick and fast-paced, the humor sharp and endearing and the social commentary pointed and profound. This is a hugely entertaining book, impossible to put down and unforgettable for what it says about the capacity of human beings to survive by finding the best in each other.

Vanishing Half  by Brit Bennet

The story centers around 2 generations of the Vignes family, twin sisters and their daughters. At 16, the twins run away from their small southern Black town with a unique and complicated history. The twins separate when one disappears to assume a new identity and only come together decades later when their daughters, from totally different worlds, chance meet.  This is a powerfully poignant novel about race, identity, secrets, family and love and how the forces that bind us are nearly indestructible, no matter how strongly they are pulled apart.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

This novel is about the impact of an alleged terrorist act by a young woman in India on three separate lives. It is propulsive and unforgettable in its plot, characters and structure. Reading this was a visceral experience—I was riveted and anxious by the suspense, the sensory descriptions of place, the intrigue & fascinated by the political commentary and interaction between complicated characters. Really brilliant debut novel.

Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton

This memoir is about Burton’s (an editor on the NPR program This American Life) adolescent struggle with eating disorders. It is very candid and raw, exploring the dark depths of the social, behavioral and physical issues associated with chronic eating disorders, anxiety and compulsive exercise. Susan Burton is Gen-X and I related quite a bit to the cultural references of growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as well as to the experience that I think most women share to some degree with pressure to succeed, to belong and to achieve self-acceptance.

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