Bernardsville Library "50 Book Challenge" for 2011 has reached the half-way mark, and participants recently shared some of their reading suggestions.
Ape House by Sara Gruen is a standout among the 50 Book members. One reader proclaimed Ape House to be the best book she's read this year and found it "astonishing, gripping, upsetting and triumphant." She notes that the author "explores the colorful eccentricities of humans and animals through their interactions with each other, leaving us questioning which is the more humane." Another book, Ransom, by Australian author David Malouf, was praised for its lyricism. Ransom retells/reimagines the encounter between King Priam and Achilles in Homer's epic poem, "The Iliad."
Readers of suspense might find some of the following books enjoyable. For instance, Olen Steinhauer's plot in The Tourist forces a retired CIA agent back undercover despite his new career circumstances and family demands. Daniel Silva's art-themed book, The Rembrandt Affair, was deemed "a page-turner with lots of great characters, imaginative plot and great prose."
Two Scandinavian mysteries were also noted: The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason, and The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. One reader states that in The Draining Lake, "a human skeleton surfaces in the bed of a lake near Reykjavik that's been mysteriously draining away, which set the stage for the present-day-to-cold-war back and forth mystery." Another reader notes that while The Snowman "is a thriller with a deeply creepy serial killer," reading all those snowy winter scenes helped keep her cool during these sultry summer days.
For nonfiction readers, My Stroke of Insight by Jill Taylor was proposed as an interesting and dramatic book recounting the sudden onset of a massive stroke experienced by the author. She describes in gripping detail what her symptoms felt like, noting just how quickly she became incapacitated, barely able to call for help. Taylor, a neuroscientist, takes the reader through her convalescence, offering insights as to what helped her make such a good recovery.
Try some of these books for your summer reading. There's still a month left!