Books to Read After Running

by Mark Mindel and Sally Drake

Where the Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens

This book was recommended to me by so many people I decided I had to read it, plus it's been on The NY Times Top 10 booklist for almost two years! Well? It was worth it. Not the kind of book I would usually read either. Yes, there is a murder mystery, but it's almost secondary to the story of Kya …Catherine Danielle Clark....also known as the Marsh Girl. Kya is abandoned by her family at the age of six because of an abusive father. She basically grows up on her on in a shack in the wild, with only the seagulls and all of nature as her family. Alone, Kya learns to care for herself. She only goes to school for one day but she is so ridiculed she never goes back. Two young men fall for her: the popular Chase Andrews, the former star quarterback, and the more scholarly Tate Walker, who teaches her how to read. Kya becomes a reluctant local celebrity when she publishes several books, at Tate's suggestion, on marsh life. She goes from Marsh Girl to Marsh expert! Andrews, however, is found dead one day, having fallen from the Fire Tower, and the sheriff suspects foul play. Somehow, Kya is arrested for his murder, and the trial becomes the biggest thing in Barkley Cove in years. You'll have to read it to find out if our Marsh Girl is guilty and what is to become of her. I highly recommend this book as an insight into human nature and how everyone treats one another.

Half Moon Bay (Clay Edison, #3) by Jonathan Kellerman, Jesse Kellerman

You don't picture a book about a deputy for the Coroner's Office as being very excited....but you haven't read Clay Edison! This is the third installment in the series by father and son Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman and this is the best one yet. You literally can't put this book done. My 30th book in the Pandemic and honestly one of the best ones I've read. Edison is the former UC Berkeley hoop star who retired from basketball after tearing up his knee. He throws everything into his work in the Coroner's office and his family (new wife Amy and newborn Charlotte). Edison goes way beyond figuring out how people died; he delves into the why. Bones of a child are found in a park at UC Berkeley and Clay delves into whose bones they are. Two intertwining cases emerge, and Clay takes them both right up to a fascinating conclusion. Please read this book, and the two before it.

A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky

My 32nd book of the Pandemic. Not my usual genre, but the cover reminded me of an Elin Hildebrand book so I gave it a try and was pleasantry surprised. No murders here, just a suspicious death and a lot of inter-personal relationships, especially between three estranged sisters. Mallory Aldrich left Bay Bluff, Rhode Island, twenty years ago, after her father and her boyfriend Jack's mother went out in a boat and only her dad Tom came back. Jack and Mal haven't talked much since that night. And Mal hasn't been back to Bay Bluff since. Now a single mom raising her 13-year-old daughter Joy, Mallory gets a call from Jack that Tom has been waving a gun at him and questioning Jack's innocence in the disappearance (death?) of his mother Elizabeth twenty years ago. Mal calls her sister Anne who lives with and takes care of Tom, who has failing health and the beginnings of dementia. Eventually, Mal and Joy go 'home' to Bay Bluff (Joy's first visit ever to the birthplace of her mom) and Margo, Mal and Anne's oldest sister, also shows up. What follows is a complicated re-hashing of history and relationships. By the end of the story, the sisters must make MAJOR life-altering decisions. You'll have to see if you agree with what they decide.

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

A brilliant blend of fiction, memoir and personal essay, this is a powerful book about a Muslim-American navigating post 9-11 America and his fractured relationship with his immigrant father who idolizes Trump and the false promise of the American dream.  His observations and experiences about what it means to be an American exposes our dark and complicated myths of achievement, citizenship and individualism. At times very funny and always sharp this is at once an important, illuminating and entertaining read. 

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

The latest novel by the writer of the Italian Neapolitan series has the same operatic energy of those big, bold books and captures the same dramatic essence of adolescence and female friendship. The story is about Giovanna, a 12-year-old girl in a seemingly perfect and loving family in vibrant Naples whose life is shattered after a perceived betrayal by her beloved father.  The ensuing years expose family secrets and shatter, before rebuilding, her understanding of love, friendship and loyalty.  This is a saga that wears its emotion on its sleeve--I loved it.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

A devastatingly sad story about depression and addiction, family and grief but full of understanding and compassion. The story about an immigrant family from Ghana who settles in Alabama is told by Gifty, a neuroscience student at Stanford seeking to understand the addiction that took her brother’s life and drove her mother into a debilitating, treatment resistant depression. Her journey to understanding is a powerful and deeply real process that challenges her faith, her education and her love for her complicated family.  A beautiful and emotionally challenging book.

Migrations by Charlotte McConagy

A strange and lyrical love story set in the Arctic Sea. Franny Stone arrives in Greenland to embark on a fatalistic journey to track one of the Earth’s last remaining bird species on their migration.  The ensuing story reveals the true motivation behind this fraught trip as Franny seeks to run from a dark secret. The parallel story of the effects of climate change on the Arctic wildlife is devastating. 

                                   From Macanudo Liniers in the Times Union

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