The Guardian recommends summer reading

The Guardian Bookshop home page

Britain’s Guardian is a reliable source of book reviews and recommendations. I usually discover a title or author not yet popular in the United States. They recently published: ‘Summer Reading: the 50 Hottest New Books Everyone Should Read.’ Divided into categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Paperbacks, Children and Teens, the list delivers both well-known and more obscure authors you will want to know about (the list contains new works by Rachel Cusk, Michael Rosen, and Patricia Lockwood). Most are readily available in the library. Well worth taking a peek.

Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

Julianna Margulies has written an autobiography beginning with her ancestral background all the way to the present time. She appeared on the PBS show Finding Your Roots and relates some family stories that are truly amazing. She actually spent some time living in Spring Valley, NY, with her mother and two sisters, when she was a young child. Margulies is very down to earth, and I enjoyed reading about her path in life…

Dusk Night Dawn: on Revival And Courage

Anne Lamott adds to her repertoire with this latest title. She is one of my favorite authors; she’s very grounded and real, and tells it like it is. Lamott writes about her recovery from drugs and alcohol, and her latest musings on maintaining one’s spirituality. She teaches Sunday school to kids at her church, and gives her own explanations of Bible verses to them. Lamott is recently married, and pokes fun at herself and her new husband, but acknowledges that he is truly her best friend. The chapters are short and lively written, and somehow one feels better about life after reading this…

Damascus Amid the War

As I was entering new books into the system, I flipped through this title after reading the “About the Author ” section in the beginning, and I was struck by the author’s story. Muna Imady died before this book was published, after undergoing an operation that had a very low risk factor. Her mother and sister finished it for her, using Muna’s notes. The book is a series of poems and stories about her life in Syria, and they reflect the pain and sorrow she experiences at the changes that have taken place since the war began. It makes one realize how fortunate we are to be living in the U.S., and your heart breaks for these brave people. Muna’s mother feels that the strain of war added to the stress on Muna’s heart, contributing to her death. The book is a reminder of Muna’s artistry with words, and a fitting tribute to her legacy.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East

indexSandy Tolan offers a thorough history of the struggle between Jews and Arabs for control of Israel. Under the British in 1936, the area now known as Israel was then called  Palestine. In 1947, the UN announced a partition plan, which created a Jewish state and an Arab state in the same area, and the next year Israel became a state, with Palestinian territories. Bashir Khairi was born in the Arab town of al-Ramla in 1942, but his family was re-settled in a town 20 miles away when the partition plan took effect. He returns to his hometown in 1967, now called Ramla, and meets Dalia Eshkenazi, the Jewish young woman now living in the same house. The two develop a relationship, which evolves over the years, and the history of Israel is reflected throughout their interactions. I found The Lemon Tree very enlightening and informative.