I happen to have a good head start on my stack of page turners but there is always room for more, as they say. Lately, I've had the good fortune to add on a trio of intriguing titles that with any luck, I will have read before Labor Day weekend. Lofty goal, to be sure, but good reading is always worth it:
It lasted for about a week and it was pretty fun(plus I got to read a couple of great interviews with Curtis Sittenfeld and Terry McMillan) but when I got an e-mail telling me that I won, I was happy and curious all at once. Which book did I win?
My prize turned out to be Allison Amend's Enchanted Islands, a novel inspired by the journals of Frances Conroy, who during WWII was part of a husband and wife spy team in the Galapagos islands. The story also focuses on a lifelong friendship that Frances had with childhood friend Rosalie, a bond that was briefly broken due to an act of betrayal that took place after the two of them ran away to Chicago from their Midwestern small town during their teens.
This story sounds amazingly good and I have to say that the cover art is beyond gorgeous(trust me, it looks even lovelier than in the picture above), plus the end papers have reproductions of the actual maps that Frances and her spy husband Ainslie drew up together. Out of all the books that I did sign up for, this one promises to be a true gem of a read:
The time frame is 1942, with a bit of an alternate historical twist. Esther is the daughter of one of the leaders of Khazaria, an isolated country ruled by Jewish warriors that has become home to a flood of refugees escaping from the reign of terror growing in what they call Germania.
Wanting to take part in the upcoming fight to both protect the refugees and keep the invading hordes from Germania at bay, Esther is held back by the traditional notions of not allowing women to be warriors. She then undertakes a quest to find a legendary village of Kabbalists, who may have the power to not only help Esther reach her goal but to save their mutual homelands as well.
A refreshing look at the power of women is always welcome and it ought to be fun to see how Esther overcomes her particular obstacles to become the warrior queen that she knows in her heart she was meant to be. In an age where we have the likes of Brienne of Tarth and Daenerys Targaryen as maidens of might, it's grand to see another fierce female join their ranks:
Learning to Fly: Finally, I treated myself to a couple of new paperbacks and one of them happens to be Paula McLain's Circling The Sun. Like her previous bestseller The Paris Wife, McLain takes on another notable yet overlooked woman from the past,Beryl Markham, who was a renowned aviatrix well before Amelia Earheart made her mark upon the skies.
Beryl was raised in Kenya by her father and thus was an independent woman that was unafraid to embrace her love of nature,especially horses. Along the way, she met up with Denys Finch Hatton(who was also the lover of Isek Dineson, aka Karen Blixen who wrote Out of Africa) and their relationship lead to a deeper love for airplanes, one that outstripped her romantic ties in the long run.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Paris Wife(which inspired my Year with Hemingway project) and eager to climb on board this flight of fiction to see more of Beryl's world:
Adding on more books is a bit of a vice for me but at least it's a reasonably healthy one. Summer reading can be daunting but if you allow yourself some flexibility, you should do fine. Reading during this time of year is intended to be entertaining and enlightening, so with a good balance of both, getting into reading shape should be as easy as turning a page: