The fireworks are over, the kids are back to school, the first leaves are in the grass, and the thermostat read in the 40s this morning. It’s time to say goodbye to summer. Looking back on my summer reading, I see that I was all over the place in my genres. Here are some of the books that stood out.
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff – Describes the 1945 odyssey of three plane crash survivors in New Guinea who endured a harrowing journey through the jungle to seek help, their encounter with a primitive tribe who had never seen white people, and their eventual rescue by a band of paratroopers. I don’t usually go in for war stories, but after reading a previous book about New Guinea, I was intrigued and picked this one up. It’s a fast, engaging read, especially for those who enjoy a good adventure story.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Gossiping and sharing their personal secrets on e-mail in spite of their company’s online monitoring practices, Beth and Jennifer unwittingly amuse Internet security officer Lincoln, who unexpectedly falls for Beth while reading their correspondence. There have been several e-mail/text message/blog based books in the past few years. Is it a novel approach or a cute gimmick? In this story, I thought the e-mails worked well, particularly since they aren’t the entire book. Attachments is a fun opportunity to read romance from the guy’s perspective.
Doc by Mary Doria Russell - After the burned body of mixed-blood boy Johnnie Sanders is discovered in 1878 Dodge City, Kansas, part-time policeman Wyatt Earp enlists the help of his professional-gambler friend Doc Holliday. This western, with a tinge of mystery, comes from book club favorite, Mary Doria Russell. Her books are always well reviewed, though her settings are wide ranging. Infused with extensive research into John Holliday’s life, Russell’s depiction of Doc’s humor is a particular treat.
State of Wonder – Ann Patchett – A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years, a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past. A missing researcher, a tribe of women who give birth into their 70s, and a journey into isolated regions shape this atmospheric novel. A good choice for book clubs.
White Heat – M. J. McGrath – Investigating the murder of an adventurist under her watch, half-Inuit Arctic guide Edie Kiglatuk teams up with police sergeant Derek Palliser when she realizes that the victim’s tour group was searching for something specific. Those curious about little known regions of the world will enjoying this immersion in the rarely written about high Arctic region of Canada.