WWW Wednesday — Mother/Daughter Version

It’s WWW Wednesday, where I answer three questions:

What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you plan to read next?

IMG_0742I’m on vacation in New Hampshire, at my mother’s summer house on Lake Sunapee. We had family members coming and going for the past few days, but now it’s quiet . . . so quiet that a pair of loons swam right past our dock late yesterday afternoon.

Here’s what we are currently reading:

I’m reading The Black Hour, by Lori Rader-Day. It’s a debut mystery novel by a Chicago writer, set at a university very much like Northwestern. Sociology professor Amelia Emmet thought violence was a research topic, not a personal issue — until she was shot by a student.

My mother is reading Heather Gudenkauf’s page-turner, Little Mercies, the story of a veteran social worker and devoted mother who makes a horrible mistake. Gudenkauf says she’s not sure how to categorize her books: “Are they literary mysteries, thrillers, or emotional family dramas? My hope is that they are all of these!”

coverThe last book I finished was The Arsonist, by Sue Miller — one of my favorite authors. It turned out to be quite appropriate, since it’s set in a small New Hampshire town. The novel centers on Frankie, a burned-out relief worker who’s returned home from Africa to spend time with her aging parents while she figures out what to do with the rest of her life. Almost as soon as Frankie arrives, an arsonist begins destroying the homes of summer residents. The most compelling part of the book for me was the portrayal of Frankie’s mother trying to cope with her husband, a retired professor slipping into dementia.

My mother has outread me on this vacation (I don’t think “outread” is a real word, but I’m going to pretend that it is.) She’s just read — and recommends —  I Can’t Complain, a book of essays by Elinor Lipman, Restless, a terrific espionage novel by William Boyd, and We Are Water, Wally Lamb’s latest. Maybe I’ll have to try We Are Water again — when I first tried reading it, I couldn’t get into it.

0814-9781460330197-bigwWhat’s next? I thought I had brought Chris Bohjalian’s new book, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, in my bag, because my mother wanted to read it — but it’s gone AWOL, so we may have to make a trip to the local bookstore to pick up a copy. I think the next book in her pile is an ARC of Mary Kubica’s debut suspense novel The Good Girl. (I was lucky enough to meet Mary at a publisher dinner earlier this year. The book has been getting a lot of buzz, including being chosen as an Indie Next Pick for August. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with Mary at an author event in Lake Forest on August 20.)

I’m planning on reading Bittersweet, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore ( a family story set in a summer retreat in Vermont, recommended by my most trusted source, Sue Boucher) and No Longer and Not Yet, by Joanna Clapps Hermann (a collection of stories that take place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan).

We’d love to hear what you’ve just read, what you’re reading now, and what you’re planning to read next!

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Return to the Hump Day blog hop on Julie Valerie’s book blog by clicking here

 

 

 

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop — Girls’ Edition

Because it’s finally summer . . . and it’s Saturday . . . and Books on the Table has never participated in something like this before . . . please join the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop!

I’m offering giveaways of two books: Hemingway’s Girl, by Erika Robuck, and The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica. (Hemingway’s Girl is a published paperback and The Good Girl is an ARC, due to be published in July.) What’s the connection? They both have the word “girl” in the title and they’re both terrific summer reading. And several critics have compared The Good Girl to another “girl” book — Gone Girl.

Reviews from Publishers Weekly:

0814-9780778316558-bigwAt the outset of Kubica’s powerful debut, free-spirited 24-year-old Mia Dennett, an art teacher at an alternative high school and a member of a well-heeled, well-connected Chicago family, goes missing. As puzzling as Mia’s presumed kidnapping initially appears, things turn infinitely stranger after her eventual return, seemingly with no memory of what happened to her or, indeed, of her identity as Mia. Key characters share the narrative in chapters labeled either “Before” or “After,” allowing the reader to join shattered mother Eve and sympathetic Det. Gabe Hoffman on their treacherous journey to solve the mystery and truly save Mia. Almost nothing turns out as expected, which, along with the novel’s structure and deep Midwestern roots, will encourage comparisons to Gone Girl. Unlike that dazzling duel between what prove to be a pair of sociopaths, this Girl has heart—which makes it all the more devastating when the author breaks it.

9780451467515MRobuck drops the fictional 19-year-old Mariella Bennet into the life of Ernest Hemingway in her richly realized newest (after Receive Me Falling), set in Depression-era Key West, Fla. Mariella’s father has just died. In order to raise money to care for her mother and sisters, Mariella bets on a boxing match refereed by Hemingway. Though she loses the bet, Mariella befriends the famous writer and is hired as a housemaid for Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline. Soon after, Mariella and Papa Hemingway attend another bout where one of the fighters, WWI veteran and Overseas Highway worker Gavin Murray, becomes smitten with Mariella. As she struggles to balance her fascination with the Hemingways’ glamorous life and the prospect of settling down with Gavin, an enormous hurricane careens toward the Keys. As the winds pick up and the rains fall down, tensions rise and Mariella must choose which way to run. Robuck brings Key West to life, and her Hemingway is fully fleshed out and believable, as are Mariella and others. Readers will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting.

How it works:

  • You can enter for one or both of the books. To enter, leave a comment or email me at bksonthetable@gmail.com.
  • The giveaway is eligible to followers of Books on the Table in the United States.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly on June 25 and notified by email.
  • There are over 30 other blogs participating in the blog hop and they are offering some great giveaways, so check them out!

Link List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. The Misfortune of Knowing
  3. Bibliosue
  4. Too Fond
  5. Under a Gray Sky
  6. Read Her Like an Open Book (US)
  7. My Devotional Thoughts
  8. WildmooBooks
  9. Guiltless Reading
  10. Fourth Street Review
  11. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  12. Word by Word
  13. Words And Peace (US)
  14. Ciska’s Book Chest
  15. Falling Letters
  16. Roof Beam Reader
  17. Readerbuzz
  18. The Relentless Reader (US)
  19. Mom’s Small Victories (US)
  20. Daily Mayo (US)
  1. The Emerald City Book Review (US)
  2. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
  3. Lost Generation Reader
  4. Booklover Book Reviews
  5. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  6. River City Reading (US)
  7. Books Speak Volumes
  8. Words for Worms
  9. Wensend
  10. Bibliophile’s Retreat
  11. Readers’ Oasis
  12. The Book Musings
  13. My Book Retreat (N. Am.)
  14. Books on the Table (US)

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