Summer Adventures: A Boswell Books Reading List

Jul 6, 2017

Looking for a new book to crack open at Bradford Beach or a story to lose yourself in during your summer getaway? Boswell Books bookseller Daniel Goldin chatted with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich this week and offered his top 7 recommendations for summer reading:

1. Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder: Nine children, all orphans, live on an otherwise deserted island. Every year, a green boat comes in with a new kid. Every year, the oldest child, designated the elder, must get in the boat and be sent away. This year it’s Jinny’s turn to be the elder.

Goldin says the book was introduced to him as Lost for kids. "Deceptively simple in concept, Orphan Island is a fascinating story, filled with great world-building, a sympathetic-yet-flawed heroine, and endless philosophical detours," he says. "I can imagine a type of adult that would find the whole thing disturbing. And I’m not sure that’s a bad thing."

2. The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy: While most folks think moving furniture requires brawn only, a great mover has to use the skills of negotiation, spatial memory, social skills and problem solving. Why are long-haul movers shunned by other truckers? What about the job has changed the makeup of the labor force? 

"Murphy, an independent contractor who specializes in high-end locations, is a great storyteller, offers shocking, amusing, and sometimes sad tales of moves blended with free-ranging observations of contemporary America," Goldin says. 

3. Lonesome Lies Before Us by Don Lee: In Lonesome Lies Before Us, Lee's hero is Yadin Park, a musician who was on the verge of making it, despite his stage fright and not fitting the rock star mold, only to walk away. Now he’s installing carpet for a living in Rosarita Bay, when after years of being away from the business, with a left-brained girlfriend with big ideas, inspiration hits him again.

Goldin describes this book as a great tightrope-walking, argumentative, heartbreaking, and inspiring novel, all at the same time.

"If a bookseller can be said to be a groupie, I think you can safely say that I am one for Don Lee," he says. "Honestly, I could talk about it for an hour, but it would be a better conversation if you also read it, so could you start right now? Please?"

4. Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta: With her son off at college and with her ex-husband Ted remarried and with a special-needs kid, Eve Fletcher’s feeling a bit unfulfilled, despite her sometimes trying job as the director of a senior center, until she finds a new decidedly adult pastime. Mother and son both don’t know what to make of their new lives, and all they seem to know about relationships, to say nothing of sex, seems to be up for discussion in the modern world.

"What I love about Tom Perrotta’s books is how uncomfortable they can make me feel," Goldin says. "At the same time I am laughing hysterically, and Mrs. Fletcher shows Mr. Perrotta in top form on both counts. 

5. Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani: It’s 1940s Philadelphia and two feuding families operate competing cab companies, with one of them have a telegram operation as well. Caught between them is Nicky Castone, the orphaned nephew who grew up under their care. So imagine what happens when Palazzini Cab Company learns that an Italian Ambassador headed to the nearby town of Roseta for a celebration is delayed, and that Nicky looks uncannily like the dignitary. You can only imagine the complications that ensue.

Goldin says that Kiss Carlo is "the literary equivalent to a heaping plate of luscious home-made pasta with gravy, dependable and filling and a few secret ingredients." He adds, "gravy, by the way. Not sauce."

6. Hunger by Roxane Gay: Every woman that breathes has issues with her body, food, and her weight, not matter what her size. Gay holds nothing back as she tells of the sexual assault that changed her forever when she was 12 years old. She concealed the trauma from her family and dealt with it the only way she knew how, by eating until her body was no longer desirable to men, but a fortress in which she could hide and protect herself from the world.

Boswell Books reviewer Sharon K. Nagel says "Right from the beginning, Roxane Gay lets us know that this is not a weight-loss success story, but a memoir so deeply personal that it was extremely difficult for her to write." Nagel says that Gay candidly explains how it feels to be "at once so large and so invisible, as she moves through a world that is less than kind when it comes to judging women’s bodies."

7. The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose: Lee is a seventeen-year-old-girl who has gotten into a bit of trouble. She runs in with the wrong crowd, steals something that is not hers. and now she is on the run with nobody to turn to. Lee takes you into the underbelly of Philadelphia, the sections that people have abandoned, and attempts to solve the mystery she has fallen into having to do with the famous artist Marcel Duchamp.

Jason Kennedy, a reviewer for Boswell Books, says that "yes, Augustus Rose melds together a lot of information and story methods. He does it with amazing skill pulling on secret societies, hacking, art theft, conspiracies, drugs, and so much more. This plot moves, it does not slow down, it will drag you along with it to the conclusion, which will have you gasping for breath. Such a brilliant journey."

In addition, Augustus Roses will be at Boswell Book Coompany on Downer Ave. on August 22nd.