The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters by Laura Thompson (Picador USA)
An excellent book that looks at the history of the twentieth century through the lives of the six very individual Mitford sisters. Born into the upper crust of British society, each sister chose very different paths and mingled with major players on the world stage. The eldest was a famous novelist, one a communist, one a duchess, one a fascist, one a nazi, and one a chicken breeder. The book weaves together their relationships, their failures and achievements in a way that remains interesting throughout. If gossip magazines are a guilty pleasure, but you still want to feel classy and polish up on your history, this is a fascinating and fun way to do it.
Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie (William Morrow & Company)
Assuming we all want to read the book before we watch its film adaptation, I urge all of you interested in Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of Murder on the Orient Express to pick up this murder-mystery classic before it hits the theaters this November 10. I first read this Agatha Christie novel as a young teen and recently revisited. It was a thrill as, once again, I was torn between eagerly flipping the pages to learn what would happen next and yet wanting to dwell on and soak up every little clue Hercule Poirot detected…and even some he missed! Now is the perfect time to catch this train.
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas (Flatiron Books)
A writing prodigy, Joan Ashby becomes a successful writer at an early age; in early adulthood, she puts her career on hold to embrace her husband and her unintentional family. Years later, an epic betrayal will force her to evaluate motherhood and her personal priorities. This is a spectacular debut novel with an interesting format that presents a talented, multi-faceted protagonist.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Random House)
The Man Booker Prize 2017 Winner
A totally different style of a novel. It is a meditation on death, love and grief. So many memorable characters! And he masterfully weaves the metaphysical with the mundane. It is so rich it demands more than one reading. I can’t wait to read it again.
The Taking of K-129 by Josh Dean (Dutton)
Josh Dean has written a classic espionage thriller involving the Cold War tensions, spies, engineering challenges and covert operations. Except this is a true story of the effort by the CIA to recover a Soviet submarine that was lost in the Pacific in 1968. Dean tells the story of Project Azorian, a top secret mission that took six years, cost an estimated $800 million, and would become the largest and most daring covert operation in CIA history. This is a well written book that explores the personalities involved in this project, the politics of the Cold War in the late 60’s and 70’s, and the engineering challenges encountered.
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (HMH for Young Readers)
Orbiting Jupiter is a beautiful story about love and friendship. It will both warm your heart and break it. When 12-year old Jack meets his foster brother, 14-year old Joseph, both of their lives change. Orbiting Jupiter starts with a tangled and messy situation and finds a way to wrap things up in unexpectedly perfect ways.
Hue 1968 A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden (Atlantic Monthly)
On the first day of the Tet Lunar New Year holiday in 1968, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese launched an attack against Hue, the one time capital of Vietnam. Over the following month, the US and the North Vietnamese suffered heavy casualties as the US fought to recapture the city. Bowden describes how the North Vietnamese planned the attack, and how the US responded. Woven into this narrative, is the response from Washington and how news of the battle was received by the American public. This is a must read for anybody who wants to understand the Vietnam war and why it turned into an American defeat.