The Book Bridge August 2016
Hello, and welcome to August 2016’s edition of The Book Bridge! We’re here to connect each other with the books that we were most excited about reading last month.
I’m happy to welcome a few new contributors this month, and I’m very glad to see that some of the readers who joined us for our very first Book Bridge in July are back again! Here’s the main thing, though: I’m always excited when my friends are excited to talk about books, so let’s get it started!
- All book titles contain affiliate links to Indiebound.
- Other links are to the contributor’s online review, if available, or to his/her website, if not.
- Comments and blurbs are provided by the contributor and are not edited for content.
The Editor’s Pick
Who wouldn’t be excited about discovering a new author, a new series, and a new genre, like Kim Tracy Prince did this month? If you ask me, “I tore through the four existing books and I can’t wait for the fifth!” is both a ringing endorsement and a perfect expression of Bookish Enthusiasm!
- Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos (fiction: SF/fantasy/speculative, available now)
Terms of Enlistment is the first in a series of 4 books told from the POV of Andrew Grayson, a poor kid from the projects who joins the military…100 years in the future. Earth is overcrowded and polluted, and space travel has evolved to the point where we have colonized many other planets and moons. Grayson winds up in the middle of the action when humans stop fighting each other in order to survive attack by an alien species. Kloos handles the military equipment and space hardware language skillfully, weaving scientific and technical terms into a story that is suspenseful and imbued with philosophical questions about humanity and survival. I tore through the existing books despite the fact that I didn’t even know what military sci-fi was before, and I can’t wait for the fifth!
Maybe it’s because it’s summer and we’re in mental-vacation mode, but all except one of this month’s picks are fiction! Kathy at BermudaOnion offers a foodie memoir as our nonfiction exception.
- Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor (Nonfiction: biography/memoir, available now)
Fechtor used food and cooking to help her recover from an aneurysm and shares her story in this thoughtful, well-written memoir. She felt like a friend by the end of the book. As a bonus, recipes are included.
Fiction: For Kids, Read by Grownups
“I gobbled this up” is how Candace of Beth Fish Reads expresses her Bookish Enthusiasm for a middle-grade novel that will be out just in time for the new school year.
- Moo by Sharon Creech (Fiction: children’s, publication date August 30, 2016)
What a fun book about moving to a new area, seeing beyond first impressions, and learning new things. It’s a middle grade book told in verse — I laughed, I cried, I gobbled this up in one sitting.
Sarah at Puss Reboots offers this month’s second middle-grade book recommendation:
- Far From Fair by Elana K. Arnold (Fiction: children’s, available now)
It’s a tween story about upheaval, grief, personal space, and the right to die told through the metaphor of a road trip from California to Washington.
Fiction: History Keeps Happening
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Fiction: historical, publication date September 6, 2016)
This is the best book I’ve read so far this year. The writing is exquisite, it’s humorous and clever… I didn’t want it to end!
Lisa of Lit and Life recommends a backlist novel that’s especially timely as the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches:
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (Fiction: general, available now)
The writing is incredible, the characters unforgettable, the story hard to read but important. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to widen their perceptions about life in this country.
And Melissa Firman is excited about another timely novel…set in 1874:
- Reliance, Illinois by Mary Vollmer (fiction: historical, available now)
Sometimes one discovers a novel that complements current events so perfectly that this literary serendipity only adds to the enjoyment of one’s reading experience. Reliance, Illinois by Mary Volmer is exactly that type of book. Set in 1874 with its themes of women’s suffrage, it is a perfect historical fiction novel for this crazy election campaign — with the main character’s struggles of betrayal, love, and self-acceptance being as real, relevant, and timeless as ever.
Fiction: Speculation, Vacation, and Modernization
Candace/Beth Fish Reads is here again with a “fantastic” audiobook recommendation:
- Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan, audiobook read by Tim Gerard Reynolds (Fiction: SF/fantasy/speculative, available now)
Great characters & world building. Although many familiar epic fantasy elements, there were still a few twists. The magic/fantasy parts do not detract from the politics, people, and relationships. Audio was well done, unintrusive, and compelling.
Meanwhile, Unruly Reader suggests the perfect little black dress for your mental vacation:
- Nine Women, One Dress by Jane Rosen (Fiction: general, available now)
Set in current-day New York, this story is modern in sensibility, but delightfully old-fashioned in tone. I kept thinking Holly Golightly would have fit right in.
Looking for a good summer read? This one’s a winner—light and frolicky and romantic and happy.
- Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (Fiction: general, available now)
This is the first version of Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew that didn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth!
Thank you to all of our enthusiastic contributors…
…and I hope they’ve given you some good suggestions for your TBR list. Submissions for the next edition of The Book Bridge will open early next month, and I’d love to have you join us to talk about one (or two!) of the great books you’re reading this month!