Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, June 25, 2018

Sitting in the shade with some cool reads for July/August

Yes, it's "officially" summer(according to the calendar) and we're close to another major holiday ,so now is the time to make those escape from the heat pop culture plans! July and August are always warm weather days, ideal for staying in the pool or under a shady umbrella there, if you ask me.

 I prefer indoor plans myself and the best way I know how to enjoy those lazy,hazy days in front of a good a/c is to have a nice pile of new books on hand. Hardcover, paperback, e version or audio, great summer reads come in all flavors and give your imagination plenty to savor:


Louise Miller follows up her charming debut novel, The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, with a fresh slice of hometown fiction. The leading lady of The Late Bloomers' Club is Nora Huckleberry, whose life dreams were set aside to help raise her sister Kit and run the family diner.

Upon learning the news that a neighbor left the girls her property,which a large chain store wants to buy to build a new branch, Kit comes home from the big city with big ideas about how to spend her share of the profits.

Nora, however, isn't so sure about selling the land, especially when she finds out about other responsibilities attached to this inheritance. In addition, the town is divided over whether or not to let such a corporate entity set up shop in their midst.

Miller has a flair for heartfelt stories with a foodie flavor, plus a pinch of Gilmore Girls goodness which should make this story a sweet summer recipe to enjoy(July):

ONE WOMAN'S TIMELY TALE: In Clock Dance, Anne Tyler takes us through several points in the life of Willa Drake, a woman long used to making things easier for everyone else but herself.

At the age of 61, Willa gets an unexpected opportunity to shake up her status quo when Denise, the former girlfriend of her son, is injured and mistaken for Willa's granddaughter. Called on to help, Willa takes a plane to Baltimore, with her cranky husband Peter in tow, and winds up getting involved in the various dramas surrounding Denise and her neighbors.

Anne Tyler's works are seemingly low key affairs, with calm characters ready to display their inner moxie when needed. Clock Dance certainly sounds like one of her usual stories but no doubt, there will be a hidden surprise in store for readers and fictional folk alike(July):

DOWNLOADING A READING LESSON: One of the biggest changes and challenges to the world of books has been the digital age and in Reader,Come Home by Maryanne Wolf, these concerns are engagingly addressed.

Written as a series of open letters, Wolf talks about the difference between reading physical material vs. a computer screen and how that can affect the way the brain obtains information. Furthermore, she discusses the merits of deep reading, which adds greatly to the development of empathy and critical thinking.

This is certainly food for thought and then some. Whether you want to keep your wits sharpen over the summer vacation season or bolster an argument for the need to have tangible literature, Wolf is ready to welcome you in(August).


 Historical fiction meets spy thriller in Karen Brooks' The Locksmith's Daughter, set in the Elizabethan era. Mallory Bright was an apt pupil in learning the art of lock picking from her renowned father, not the most ladylike skill to possess.

However, once her reputation is ruined by a scandal, that talent is in demand from Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster for Queen Elizabeth I. Mallory turns out to also have a knack for code breaking and other languages, all of which makes her a valuable asset to the royal spy ring.

Her loyalty is tested, however, when several actions occur that force Mallory to make moral choices as well as patriotic ones. This mix of history,mystery and adventure certainly sounds the ultimate tale of derring-do indeed(July):

A London policewoman in modern times also has to confront some unpleasant truths that hit close to home in Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear. Cat Kinsella is looking into the murder of Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn't get out much. Due to a mysterious phone tip, Alice's death is linked to a missing girl from eighteen years ago in Ireland, an event that Cat recalls all too well.

She and her family met that particular Irish girl while on vacation and it appears that her father has something to hide about that. Is he connected to Alice's death as well or is Cat about to open up some ugly wounds that may never heal?

Word of mouth has been grand for this UK debut and any smartly written story has international appeal,so this should be one to watch out for on US bookshelves near you(August).

In Christina Dalcher's futuristic tale, Vox, women are allowed to speak only a hundred words a day. To say anything more gives them an electric shock via wristband, a rule established by Reverend Carl, a presidential advisor who is clearly the power behind the Oval Office.

This stringent law is most painfully to Dr. Jean McCellan, once the top cognitive linguist in her field. She and other women are no longer are allowed to study science, hold jobs or control their own money. However, when the president's brother is in a serious accident that requires the language portion of his brain to be healed, Jean is demanded upon to offer her services.

At first, Jean uses her position to increase her own word count but it's not long before she has a chance to do more for the growing rebellion against Reverend Carl's reign. It is a risk to not just Jean but her children as well yet worth to reclaim true freedom for all. I have a feeling that this novel is going to prove to be rather timely, especially this year (August):

Summer reading is something to look forward and especially during tough times as we are facing right now. Keeping an eye on current events and speaking up is important but you do need to take a break from the constant chaos every now and then.

Reading is a good form of self care, not to mention a healthy way to lift your troubled spirits and find renewal and inspiration for what lies ahead. So, let a good book give you a literary song in your heart this season and let's all plan to make our real world as promising as our fictional ones:

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