Pop Culture Princess

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Getting ready for Labor Day weekend with a Library Haul

The end of summer is drawing near and so was the time for me to return my last batch of books to the library. I brought back three and took out another three, something that I wasn't planning to do.

However, I did want to have something good to read during the upcoming Labor Day weekend, that last blast of summer,as well as a book that might set the tone for my fall reading. Oddly enough, two of the three books that I borrowed have the word "beach" in their titles.

First up is Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan,which was on many Best of the Year lists in 2017 and recently was chosen to be the official "One Book,One New York" read. The story starts off in 1934, as twelve year old Anna goes on a business outing with her father Eddie to a remote house that sets the course of both their fates.

We met Anna again when she is nineteen and working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard to support her mother and disabled sister Lydia, due to Eddie having disappeared from their lives five years ago. She also catches the eye of Dexter Styles, a nightclub owner with mob connections, who knows what really happened to Eddie but doesn't recognize her as that little girl he met at his beach side house so long ago.

Anna and Dexter do have a brief romance but the secrets and lies of the past catch up with them in ways that no one ever expected. I've heard a lot of good things about Egan's writing and while she is known more for her innovative short stories than straightforward fiction(this is her first novel, so to speak), I did want to give this a try. I'm on page 15 at the moment and already have a great sense of wonderful things yet to come as the pages fly by:

The next book I chose is by an author more familiar to me; Beatriz Williams and one of her latest historical fiction outings,Cocoa Beach. Most of the action is set in Florida of 1922 as newly widowed Virginia Fortescue goes over the tragedies of her life.

From witnessing the death of her mother at age 8 at the hands of her own father to first meeting her future husband Simon while being an ambulance driver on the battlefield of WWI, Virginia is no stranger to risk.

Yet there is uncertainty around Simon's demise in a fire and his seemingly more sincere twin brother Samuel is rather persistently in her orbit with an agenda of his own. While Virginia is somewhat willing to heed the warning of Revenue Agent Marshall about the dangers in her path, she has plans of her own to deal with what lies ahead.

It's been some time since I have read Williams' books and this novel looks like a good one to get back into the swing of her story telling ways. Sometimes, it's good to wait a bit and have a sweet stack of
savvy reads from a top notch writer to enjoy.

The final selection was My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. The leading lady of this modern day tale is Katie," Cat", Brenner, whose London life looks amazing on social media but is not that grand in the real world.

While dealing with troublesome roommates and scrimping to be able to afford just getting to work, Katie's tentative grip at achieving her dreams is soundly trashed by an abrupt firing from her demanding boss Demeter.

Katie winds up going back to living in Somerset with her father and stepmother, trying to help them start up a glamping(glamorous camping) business. She manages to do well there but when one of the new clients is Demeter, the urge for a little payback is getting hard to resist.

As a fan of Kinsella's Shopaholic series, I have also liked some of her stand alone stories and this humor with heart look at the difference between illusion and reality feels like the perfect late summer treat:

Well, I think that this is a pretty good literary line-up for the end of summer and the beginning of fall, about as good as the new season of Masterpiece set to air soon.  So thankful for having a library nearby to offer such reading options,especially for a long holiday weekend there. Good TV, good reads and some snacks in the shade ought to make for a nice seasonal celebration indeed:

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