For Your Nightstand
Brenda Hamm | June 15, 2023
Stop, drop, and read! Here are several great reads, in alphabetical order by author, recommended by EC partners to add to your nightstand or to bring with you on vacation.
1) Slow Horses, 2010, by Mick Herron
Recommended by Nat Conard who says, “Perhaps even more incomprehensible and suspenseful than John LeCarré, Mick Herron’s Slow Horses is a fun, well-plotted thriller with great characters, all of whom are, in some way or another, misfits.”
“[A] masterful thriller . . . The intricate plot, coupled with Herron’s breezy writing style, results in superior entertainment that makes most other novels of suspense appear dull and slow-witted by comparison.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
2) The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel, 2019, by Christy Lefteri
Recommended by Pilar Cabeza de Vaca who says, “The Beekeeper of Aleppo sensitively brings first world versus developing world suffering into perspective as the climate, war, drug, and economic refugees flood the northern hemisphere.”
“In recounting the daily brutality as well as the glimmers of beauty, this novel humanizes the terrifying refugee stories we read about in the news. Lefteri explores questions of trust and portrays what trauma and loss can do to individuals and their relationships. . . . A beautiful rumination on seeing what is right in front of us—both the negative and the positive.”—The Boston Globe (Pick of the Week)
3) We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland, 2022, by Fintan O’Toole
Recommended by George Sanderson who says, “We Don’t Know Ourselves, by Finan O’Toole, has nothing to do with education but everything to do with Ireland. This is a terrific personal narrative of the last 65 years of Irish history.”
“A landmark history…. Leavened by the brilliance of O’Toole’s insights and wit, and by the story of his own life, which he expertly intertwines into a larger historical narrative… [He] sees the country’s shift with an eye that is simultaneously critical and compassionate… O’Toole’s is a wildly ambitious project, one that accounts for inevitable partiality precisely through this invocation of the personal. It is a winning gambit.” ― Claire Messud, Harper’s
4) The Ground Beneath Her Feet: A Novel, 1999, by Salaman Rushdie
Recommended by Doug Jennings who says, “I greatly enjoy his beautiful and clever use of language. Reminds me why I loved teaching literature.”
“No novelist currently writing in English does so with more energy, intelligence and allusiveness than Rushdie. Nearly every page of The Ground Beneath Her Feet offers something to arrest a devoted reader’s attention: puns and wordplays galore . . . and enough literary echoes–of Joyce, Yeats, Frost, Dante, oh hell, of nearly everybody–to keep graduate students on the prowl through these pages for years.” ―Paul Gray, Time
5) The Murmur of the Bees, 2019, by Sofia Segovia
When is the last time you read a novel in a language other than English? Pilar Cabeza de Vaca, who is multilingual and has been reading a lot in French and Spanish lately, reminds anyone who has some level of fluency in another language to consider reading a novel in that language. She really enjoyed and recommends The Murmur of the Bees, by Sofia Segovia, a Mexican author, in the original Spanish version.
“The Murmur of Bees by Mexican writer Sofía Segovia is the rare novel in historical fiction, realistically framed within historical events―the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish flu―and, at the same time, filled with preternatural circumstances and fantastic characters that have earned Segovia comparisons with magical realism writers such as Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. It is universal at heart but also deeply imbedded in its setting.” ―Historical Novel Society
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