So, let the summer festivities begin!
Every year, JCC releases a summer reading list to campus staff, faculty members, and administrators. Today, I am posting my contributions. All of these works are books I have read this year, and because they are all by female authors, they would be great picks for the 14 books by women authors challenge for the year 2014. See this post for more information about this challenge.
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
I am a fan of Benjamin’s novels, and her latest book, The Aviator’s Wife which explores the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh did not disappoint me. Critics have raved that the novel was historically accurate – I just loved learning about the woman behind the successes and sorrows of Charles Lindbergh.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler
Fowler’s retelling of the relationship between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda is a page turner gives an interesting perspective about this notorious relationship. Was Zelda Fitzgerald’s beloved muse or his literary downfall? This novel suggests that she was neither – but an important literary figure in her own right.
The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison
Jamison’s collection of essays explores empathy in its many forms. While some of the essays may be a little too academic for many readers’ tastes, other essays, including the ones that explore the world of medical actors, the people who suffer from Morgellons disease, and the victims of a murder that sent innocent people to jail, are worth reading over and over again. In her blurb, writer Mary Karr states this book “will make you a better human being.” I don’t know if it made me a better human being but many of Jamison’s stories kept me up late at night thinking about how the world (including myself) can be more empathetic.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Kent’s book is a haunting novel that retells the story Agnes Magnusdottir, who was convicted for her role in the murder of two men and was the last person to be executed in Iceland. Readers will fall in love with Kent’s lyrical picture of the starkly beautiful landscape and rugged characters.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizbeth Kolbert
In her newest book, Kolbert explores our planet’s histories of extinctions by looking at research and data from dozens of scientists, both past and present. Yet, her book is not just a scientific synopsis – indeed, readers will be with Kolbert as she travels the earth looking at the remains of extinct animals and searching for those that are slowly dying.
Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet by Daniella Martin
Martin journeys around the world and makes a great case for how the benefits of eating insects may be a feasible solution to the world’s hunger problems. Balancing logic and emotional appeals, she examines how insects are cost beneficial and healthy. She even includes recipes at the end of her book!
Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl by Stacy Pershall
It’s true that memoirs exploring mental health conditions seem to be a dime a dozen in today’s market, but Pershall’s book which follows her journey through her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, is both funny and touching without added melodrama.
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
This book is marketed as a young adult novel, but don’t let this stop you from reading this fun and engaging retelling of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau from the doctor’s daughter point of view. (And you don’t have to read Wells’ book to understand the world of Megan Shepherd!)