Sunblock? Check. Blanket? Check. Must-read book for a day (or more) at your favorite Hamptons beach? Check, check, check… A lighthouse changes lives forever and a Tribeca coffee shop inspires dreams and secrets. Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and playwright Wendy Wasserstein get some brilliant biography treatment. All that and more await when you check out this week’s summer reading picks from our fellow bibliophiles at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach.
After four years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, with one supply boat per season, he brings his young wife Isabel. After two miscarriages and one stillbirth, his grieving wife begins to hear a baby’s cries on the wind and a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom wants to report the incident immediately but Isabel sees the tiny baby as a “gift from God.” They claim the child as their own, and upon returning to the mainland in the child’s second year, the reminder of other people’s existence in the world brings the reality of their decision to light. This novel is unforgettable.
Triburbia by Karl Taro Greenfeld
Each morning at a local Tribeca coffee shop, a sound engineer, a sculptor, a film producer, a chef, a memoirist, and a gangster meet after dropping their children at an exclusive school. Over the course of one school year, we are privy to their secrets, passions, hopes, and dreams, as they confront the harsh realities of ambition, wealth and sex. We meet their wives and children, and the surprises that come with family, marriage and real estate in one’s midlife. Layered and multidimensional, the linked stories of these characters create a portrait of unlikely friends and a neighborhood in transition. Triburbia is both heartbreaking and darkly funny.
Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein by Julie Salamon
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award, Wendy Wasserstein was admired and beloved for her high-pitched giggle and unkempt curls, projecting a feeling of familiarity to everyone who encountered her. But no one really knew Wendy, at least not as she really was. Wendy and the Lost Boys pieces together the fractured narratives of her life, the stories shared amongst friends and family, the half truths of her plays and essays, and the confessions of her journal writing, to reveal that her most crafted character was herself. Salamon creates a moving portrait of an uncommon woman, the generation she represented, and the magic of her work. Now in paperback, this is a must read this summer.
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Maxon and Sunny were different. They met when Maxon was seven years, four months, and 18 days, or 2693 rotations of the earth, old. Twenty years later, they are married, and Sunny is trying desperately to be “normal.” She’s got the housewife thing down, but Maxon is on his way to the moon as a NASA engineer, and she is the mother of an autistic son. On top of that, she is pregnant again, her mother is dying and their marriage is on the brink of implosion. Sunny just wants Maxon to turn around and come home. When an accident in space leaves everything they’ve built hanging in the balance, dark secrets, long-forgotten murders, and a blond wig come tumbling to the light. Netzer has created a unique love story full of adventure.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Harold Fry is recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife Maureen. She is irritated by almost everything he does—down to how he butters his toast. Little changes from day to day. That is, until the morning when the mail contains a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn’t heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in a hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and is about to put the letter in the mailbox when a chance encounter convinces him he must deliver it in person. Thus begins an unlikely pilgrimage of 600 miles full of fascinating characters. Chosen for the long-list for this year’s Man Booker Prize, Joyce’s novel is irresistible.
Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger by Christopher Andersen
Mick Jagger is, and has always been, a force of nature—a completely original and utterly dominant cultural figure. For decades, Mick has jealously guarded his many shocking secrets. As the Rolling Stones mark their 50th anniversary, journalist Christopher Andersen tears the mask from the most complex and enigmatic icon of our time. Based upon interviews with friends, family members, fellow music legends, and industry insiders, as well as wives and lovers, Mick sheds light on new details about Jagger’s sexual exploits with more than four thousand women, the backstage drama surrounding his knighthood, what he really thinks of today’s superstars, his turbulent relationships, the extent of his substance abuse, and the stormy “marriage” between him and Keith. This is Mick Jagger’s story, with nothing held back.
Check out these books and more great summer reading picks at Books & Books, 130 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Call 631-998-3260 or visit online at booksandbookswhb.com.