Connie is a former bookseller at ESB and loves to read. Check out some of her picks or not.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Totally engrossing read. What happens to the members of a community when the folk story around a prehistoric monster in their waters suddenly once again appears to be a real part of their lives as some mysterious disappearances and deaths occur? The characters are wonderfully developed and their relationships equally so. The obsession of Cora Seaborne with fossils can’t help but remind one of “Remarkable Creatures” by Tracy Chevalier which is set in a similar time period and local. Would make a good discussion book!
“London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was an unhappy one. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space, she departs for coastal Essex. Once there, they hear rumors that after nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent, a fearsome creature that once roamed the marshes, has returned. …Local parish vicar William Ransome is equally suspicious but for different reasons: a man of faith, he is convinced the alarming reports are caused by moral panic, a flight from the correct and righteous path. As Cora and William attempt to discover the truth about the Essex Serpent, they find themselves inexorably drawn together in an intense relationship that will change both of them in ways entirely unexpected.”ipage
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The main character is very unlikable initially (as in Girl on the Train) so it took me a bit to keep going, but the suspense is significant making this worth the read if you crave a good psychological thriller.
Think Hitchcock’s Rear Window but at sea. Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, falls into the assignment of a lifetime: a week on The Aurora, a luxury cruise boat with only a handful of cabins. Lo's stay is great for a few days until she witnesses (or thinks she witnesses) a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for--and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Kissing Carlo by Adriana Trigiani
Does anyone do a better job telling stories about Italian American families than Trigiani (I loved “Very Valentine”)? In her newest tale, the Philadelphia-based Palazzinis have three sons who return home from World War II along with their orphaned cousin Nicky who’s lived with the family since boyhood. Everyone works in the family taxi business until a family feud ends that. Nicky’s secret passion has always been the theater and he makes a sudden decision that changes everyone's life. As with prior books, there are moments of humor (which is where Carlo comes in). Endearing read. At 500+ pages, a perfect book to curl up with in front of the fire for many evenings. And if you want to know why Ms. Trigiani is so good at her craft, read her autobiography “Don’t Sing At the Table” about growing up with 2 Italian grandmothers.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
Not to be missed! I am not usually a short story reader, but Tom Hanks is as loveable on paper with this book as he is on the silver screen. Among the titles are stories ranging from buddies recalling WWII, to the 1939 World’s Fair in Chicago, to an immigrant’s story, to a college student surfing with his father and intertwined in all of them is a typewriter. Makes me wish I hadn’t gotten rid of my mom’s.
And if you find yourself suddenly interested in reading more short stories, try Anthony Doerr’s 2001 “The Shell Collector” or Margaret Atwood’s 1992 “Good Bones and Simple Murders”.