O's 2012 Summer Reading List

No matter your mood, there's a great book to suit it. Don't forget to print the full list here!
Aerogrammes and Other Stories

Aerogrammes and Other Stories

192 pages; Knopf
Get ready for a collection of love stories that absolutely doesn't include a variation on Cinderella-plus-Prince. Debut writer Tania James focuses on family relationships instead, evoking with spine-tingling accuracy how easily we disappoint the people we love and how unthinkingly they wound us in turn. Even as people in this collection fail one another, regularly, in all sorts of ways, they're also capable of extraordinary empathy—a contradiction best showcased in What to Do with Henry, which tells the story of a young girl named Neneh and a chimpanzee called Henry who are adopted at the same time. While Neneh struggles to adapt to her new home, Henry flourishes. Neneh leans heavily on her newly acquired brother (to her, he is, emphatically, not a pet), and he turns out to be more than up to the task: "... wincing when the trunk door fell on her head, rubbing his own head in sympathy." Later, the two will let each other down, but the improbable way that, in the early days, he is sometimes able to feel exactly what she feels and know precisely the gesture that will make her feel better, is a bright, breathtaking gem for the reader to take away. In fact, every single story contains a similarly minute but luminous event, each a reminder that love entails a lot of wear and tear—but on a good day, lets us transcend the average with a little mystery called tenderness.
— Nathalie Gorman