Written by Maggie Warnick.
Spring break is a good time to relax mid-semester, and a great way to do so is with a book. Whether they have been on the shelves for a while or are yet to be released, these books are an excellent addition to any reading list.
- “Olive Kitteridge” (2008) by Elizabeth Strout takes the form of 13 interconnected stories centering on the title character. Set in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine, at its heart the novel is about the conflicts, tragedies and joys of everyday life as seen through the eyes of an eccentric cast of characters. Through these distinctive stories and Strout’s unparalleled depth of character development, it is easy to find a relatable character or situation for every reader. Made into an HBO miniseries in 2014, the sequel to it, “Olive, Again,” was released in 2019.
- “A Gentleman in Moscow” (2016) by Amor Towles is set in 1922 in Moscow, and tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov who is sentenced to house arrest in a luxury hotel following conviction by a Bolshevik tribunal. For fans of historical fiction, “A Gentleman in Moscow” will transport readers into a unique view of Russian history and the Soviet Union through the eyes of Rostov as he tries to make the most of his now limited life. Incorporating elements of history, romance and even espionage, the novel has something for everyone.
- “Where The Crawdads Sing” (2018) by Delia Owens follows Kya Clark, the “marsh girl” through her primarily solitary life on the coast of North Carolina. Kya has survived alone in the marsh for most of her life, living off of the resources that surround her. When she becomes suspected of murder, she is forced into the critical and often cruel eyes of the nearby townspeople. Part romance and part crime novel, “Where The Crawdads Sing” keeps readers guessing until the end.
- “The Night Watchman” (March 3) by Louise Erdrich is based on the real life of Thomas Wazhashk who lived near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota in the 1950’s. When a bill is passed that threatens the rights of Native Americans, Wazhashk, along with other Chippewa Council members, carries the fight against Native dispossession to Washington D.C. Erdrich won the National Book Award in 2012 for her novel “The Round House” as well as several other awards for her well-loved books, and this latest one promises to live up to expectations.
- “A Good Neighborhood” (March 10) by Therese Anne Fowler focuses on two very different families who find themselves in disagreement: first over a tree in one of their yards, then over a romance that begins between the teenage children in their families . Touted for fans of Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” The novel explores race, class, love and being a good neighbor in America as it is today.
- “The Jetsetters” (March 3) by Amanda Ward follows 70 year old Charlotte Perkins and her estranged adult children brought together on a cruise around Europe. Forced to confront each other and themselves in this confined space, discovering buried family secrets in the process. The “Jetsetters” is March’s pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club, and followers of the book club know to expect engaging, “beach-read” type books, and this one appears to continue in that vein.