O's 2010 Summer Reading List
Lush historical novels, wise contemporary tales, thrillers that will scare the dickens out of you. (And speaking of Dickens, we've got him, too.)
O, The Oprah Magazine |
June 17, 2011
For his acclaimed debut, Finn, Jon Clinch borrowed from Mark Twain, telling the story of Huckleberry Finn's malicious father.
At age 8, Rose Edelstein discovers she can taste feelings in food—lonely
pie, adulterous roast beef, resentment soup—whatever angst or elation
the cook might have experienced while preparing the meal.
When it was published in Canada in 2007, The Book of Negroes—named
for a historical document that listed every slave who sailed to Nova
Scotia under British protection—became an instant, prizewinning hit.
"What you risk reveals what you value," declares the novelist Jeanette Winterson.
Maile Meloy's Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It reads like a Bruce Springsteen album sounds: raw with a tender wildness and loaded with adolescent ache.
"It took me eight years to write the ten stories here," says Robin Black in the acknowledgments of her debut collection, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This.
The title of Robin Oliveira's debut historical novel, My Name Is Mary Sutter,
perfectly evokes its eponymous heroine's style: clear, determined, and,
unlike most women of the Civil War era, unapologetically direct.
Culture, identity, and politics are just a few of the threads
masterfully woven through the partly autobiographical novel of linked
stories that is The Madonnas of Echo Park.
Thin-skinned, myopic Olivier de Garmont is the scion of an aristocratic
family terrorized (and mortified) by the French Revolution and its
"great lava flow of democracy."
Dombey and Son, the hidden gem even Dickens fans may have missed,
combines a rollicking, biting sense of humor with nuanced psychological
insights that feel surprisingly modern in their attitudes toward women.
In her debut novel, Elizabeth Street , based on her family's
history, Laurie Fabiano examines the lives of Italian immigrants who
struggled to survive in the tenements of New York City in the early
Anyone growing tired of the Jane Austen re-dos (and who isn't, at least
just a little?) might take succor in this novel devised from the Little Women author's journals.
"My first sensation of life was the smell of machli ka salan, a spicy
fish curry, rising through the floorboards," recalls Hassan Haji, in
Richard C. Morais' The Hundred-Foot Journey, a mouthwatering debut novel of colliding cultures and cuisines.
Fans of Howard Norman's The Bird Artist will recognize the venue and the oddball characters in the author's beautiful new novel, What Is Left the Daughter.
Early in Father of the Rain, 11-year-old Daley experiences a
moment she'll treasure for decades: "My father grinning his biggest grin
and looking at me like he loves me, truly loves me...."
Part apocalyptic tale, part allegory, and all great storytelling, Justin Cronin's The Passage
is a genre-whirling novel that includes such characters as a
PTSD-scarred African nun, a female warrior with a heart of titanium, and
a villain who threatens victims through their dreams.
If the artist Edward Hopper had been a writer, he might have dreamed up
something like the New York–y 1930s sections of Jane Mendelsohn's American Music, a beautiful, bittersweet novel by the author of I Was Amelia Earhart.
A sophisticated comedy of manners about a wealthy family torn apart and brought together by the contents of a will.
Fans of Lisa Kogan's column in this very magazine will revel in the characteristic deadpan wit on display in her first book, Someone Will Be with You Shortly.
A collection of weird and wonderful essays from the author of I Was Told There Would Be Cake.