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Posts from — September 2010

MOAM Book Club

Tick tock. Can you hear it? The sounds of panic – and relief – as the kiddies get ready to go back to school and the summer draws to a close. Some are no doubt looking forward to the return of boots, sleeves and structure. While others will continue to milk the September sunshine for all it’s worth. Many of you will stop reading books.

Huh? Why?!?!

For some reason, summer is the season of the book. Lots of folks only read in the summer. Or on holiday. So before the summer unofficially ends on Labour Day, might I present some more MOAM Book Club faves.

Warning: these are not what some would consider “beach reads”. They’re utterly depressing and devastating. In the best possible way.

SARAH’S KEY – Tatiana De Rosnay
I started reading this book one night….and went to sleep after I’d finished it a few hours later. In a nutshell? Paris, WWII. A young Jewish girl locks her 4-year-old brother under the stairs to keep him safe as the Nazis begin their round-up. She promises she’ll be back but… When I talk about the very premise of this book, I cry. Kristen-Scott Thomas movie version coming soon…..

STILL ALICE – Lisa Genova
A 50-year-old Harvard professor is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Written in her voice, this one is gut-wrenching. And while you’ll start terrified – and convinced you too have Alzheimer’s – you’ll finish heartbroken and amazed at the powerful voice of this first-time writer. And no, it’s not remotely Movie of the Week-ish.

BEFORE I DIE – Jenny Downham
A 16-year old girl with terminal Cancer makes a list of things she’d like to do before she dies. Like, erm, get laid. No treatment for this chick, it’s all sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Depressing AND uplifting. Kind of. Ultimately it avoids the cheese by erring on the bleak side. You’d never guess this is a Young Adult title…

LITTLE BEE – Chris Cleave
A Nigerian refugee and a British magazine editor find themselves irretrievably bound together after a horrific and shocking event. Any further plot description would just be full of major spoilers. Seriously – even the dust jacket says “we don’t want to tell you what happens in the book”. But a lot does. A LOT.

THE WINTER VAULT – Anne Michaels
This is no Fugitive Pieces (the author’s first BRILLIANT book) but her writing is so magnificent that it makes me cry. And I want to make all of you read ’em and weep so I’m including it. Two lovers, torn apart. Set in Egypt, Canada, Warsaw. Poetic and intense.

LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN – Collum McCann
Interconnecting stories set in NYC in the 70’s… Some ordinary, some extraordinary, each is linked in the most surprising and compelling ways. This book was a slow-burn… And haunted me for days.

BENNY AND SHRIMP – KATARINA MAZETTI
Two eccentrics meet in a cemetery and fall in love. A simple story, right? Wrong! Making it work, is a lot more complicated. Set in Sweden (is Sweden the new Britain??), this one is actually quirky and funny (with, yes, a hint of sadness). I had to lighten things up a little or you’d drown in the bleakness of the other books.

So forget the sunscreen. Grab some tissues and hang out in the shadows with these fabulously heartbreaking summer reads. And that little Amazon box you’re looking at? Yes. You. Can. Buy your books right here, right now!

Happy Reading!

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September 1, 2010   3 Comments

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