Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Staff Recommendations, Week of July 2, 2024

Welcome to July! Here are our recommendations to keep you reading your way through summer.

Our first pick is a book that's picked up two Boswellian recommendations: The Lion Women of Tehran, a new novel by Marjan Kamali, author of The Stationary Shop. First, from Daniel Goldin: "The sudden death of her father sends Elaheh and her mother from a comfortable 1950s middle-class life to the poor neighborhoods near downtown Tehran. But for Ellie, there is an upside. Not only does she get to go to school, but she meets Homa, a neighbor and classmate who is not just friendly but passionate, idealistic, and fearless. It’s a bond that will be tested in so many ways, both personal and political, but can it withstand the ultimate betrayal? Class, religion, and politics collide in this captivating story about a special friendship that I think would appeal to fans of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels."

Tim McCarthy also recommends Kamali's book. Tim says: "Through the political turmoil and cultural strain of a shifting 20th century Iran, two very young girls begin as friends with a singular attachment and later grow as young women rediscovering their airtight bond. Her father’s death takes Ellie from an elite neighborhood to the bottom of Tehran’s city life and back again, linking her with her first real friend Homa and then tearing her away. Homa's noble battle to reunite them and force change for Iran's women returns her to Ellie's heart, but can they endure? With Tehran redefined by the Shah's coup toppling an elected Prime Minister and then a harsh Islamic revolution deposing the Shah, traditional power confronts the demand for equity and free thought in a society becoming more westernized. The beauty and struggle of a loving friendship drives the story and reveals a vibrant world where our senses are filled with visions of landscapes, flavors of foods, and the emotional floods of fear, rage, love, hope, and ferocious determination in Tehran’s Shir Zan, the lion women."

Kim Christenson is up next with The God of the Woods, a novel by Liz Moore. Kim says: "It's the summer of 1975 and Camp Emerson is in session. Girls and boys from the country's elite families settle in for the summer's activities. The camp's specialty is wilderness survival; campers are taught then tested. When counselor Louise awakens and finds one of her campers missing, she feels a vacuum-like suck that portends big trouble. Barbara, the missing girl, is the daughter of the area's rich and powerful Van Laar family. A missing child is a knife-sharp terror, but for the Van Laars the event means reliving the loss of their never-found son Bear, 14 years ago. The Van Laar men are bankers by trade, opportunistic and cold. Their wives are ornamental, mindless beings, to be envied and entertaining. Their children understand they exist only to fill future roles, but until then they are an irrelevant bother at best. When law enforcement arrives on the scene and the search begins in earnest, each character's story links to the next like puzzle pieces clicked into place to form pictures. Survival - physical, mental, and emotional - is at the crux of this riveting and ingeniously told story that held me in its grasp for hours at a time."

Over in the world of paperback releases, Kay Wosewick recommends The Last Ranger, the latest novel by Peter Heller, now in paperback. Kay says: "Immerse yourself in Yellowstone’s dramatic landscape. where lovers and protectors of wildlife (especially wolves reintroduced in 2006) are newly pitted against locals who skirt laws to hunt prized park denizens. Action, adventure, and mystery keep the plot in high gear. A tender, soulful ranger - unmoored by loss and now rocked by turf battles - is the story’s beating heart."

And those are the recs for the week! Have a great holiday this week - perhaps you can spend some of it in the sun with a book. That's what we'd recommend, anyway, while you're here and taking our advice. We'll be back on July 7th with more recommendations. Until then, read on.

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