O's 2011 Summer Reading List
What's your favorite flavor? No matter, because we've got 'em all: refreshing histories, nutty novels, and love stories that will make you melt.
O, The Oprah Magazine |
June 13, 2011
How one woman built an empire, but risked losing herself.
A new old-fashioned love story.
A novelist imagines the people's princess turning 50.
A tale of love, money, and one of the world's greatest cons.
Employing the old amnesia trick from countless novels and films, Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot centers on a woman who goes to the gym, hits her head, and loses all memory of the past decade, which was apparently quite eventful.
Author Flannery O'Connor's life story makes for fine fiction.
A tart, compassionate story of marriage gone wrong.
A British best-selling thriller comes stateside.
The safe houses of yesteryear.
A family confronts its own ignorance about the Third Reich.
Surviving war, economic meltdown—and each other.
The author, who describes himself as "a weird black kid" who grew up
reading Stephen King, gets his horror groove on while also managing to
be funny: "This white man stood
about seven feet tall. And just as wide. His mother must've been a
polar bear." A dark tale with a light touch.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll see yourself in these pages.
Part caper (two people take off on a road trip that has moments of danger but never turns dark), part coming-of-age (and not just for the kid!) story, it manages, with good humor and wry self-knowledge, to read our minds.
Chichiro is the lost, restless love child of a hostess of a nightclub and a local, prominent businessman in a bucolic town outside of Tokyo. Grieving the death of her mother, she moves to the busy city, where she meets Nakajima and finds herself in love for the first time.
Accident, murder or suicide? It's the question that plagues the family of Nicky Fleming after the British diplomat falls off the roof of his embassy in West Germany in 1980.
How does the past haunt—and bless us? This is the central question in the eloquent and intensely moving historical novel, set in the post-World War I West.
Among the sagas of dysfunctional families and combustible marriages, Susanna Daniel's novel about a single couple over the course of a lifetime stands out due to its lovely, unexpected normalcy.
In Come, Thief, poet Jane Hirshfield focuses on the lovely but overlooked in everyday life: stones that are beautiful only when wet, maples setting down their red leaves, the rosy gold and stippled pattern of her grandfather's watch.
In these thirteen endearing short stories, Alethea Black focuses on how well-meaning people try their fumbling best to connect with each other.
Kamchatka? Is it a foreign candy? A Native American tribe? For 10-year-old Harry, it's a frozen Russian peninsula—the last stronghold in his favorite game of Risk—and the last thing his father whispers to him before disappearing like so many other political activists during the 1970s Argentinean Dirty War.
In a memoir that spans 15 years of travel from Pakistan to Fiji, Elisabeth Eaves explores these diverse landscapes in lush detail, tackles the ongoing challenges of assimilating into a new culture, and confronts both the burden and beauty of taking on life as an independent woman.
Told from the perspective of him as a child, Wainaina explores tribal racism, political unrest and Western influences on his homeland with an innocence and confusion that bring such humanity to these larger issues.
Six years ago, Richard Louv wrote his groundbreaking book Last Child in the Woods, in which he examined how today's kids were coping with what he termed "nature-deficit disorder." This year, in The Nature Principle, he's back, looking at how the same condition affects grownups.
Groom's struggle is with alcoholism, but the story behind her disease—the baby she gave up for adoption at age 19 and his subsequent death from leukemia—is so piercing and true that you live the story as much as read it.
Oh, come all ye Anglophiles. Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English—a comedy of manners reminiscent of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand—tells of two people in the same home in the same 20-year-old marriage, their lives grazing past each other like young lovers, unsure how to make the first move.
The best-little-novel-you-haven't heard about, Us, is as simple and as heartfelt as its title suggests. The first half of this page-turner centers on an elderly man whose wife gets sick in the middle of the night and is taken to the hospital.