Happy July! I hope everyone is staying cool in this heat and humidity, I know I am. I think there’s something so relaxing about retreating from the sweltering heat of the outside and cooling off in a nice air-conditioned room with a good novel. I’m very excited to dive into my second month of this blog as well as this TBR list that I’ve put together:
Imperfections by Bradley Somer
Goodreads Summary: What do you call a man with no arms and no legs locked in the trunk of a car?
The answer is not “Jack.”
It’s Richard Trench.
In the opening scene of Imperfections, a new novel by Bradley Somer, Richard Trench finds himself reduced to a torso in the trunk of an ’82 Monte Carlo. What follows is a captivating story of how Trench came to be in this situation, with a plot that twists in and out of the lives of circus freaks, supermodels and everyday folk.
At once down to earth and vividly fantastical, Imperfections explores society’s relationship with physical perfection. It meddles with the boundaries between the beautiful and grotesque and blurs the hilarious with the horrific. Underlying themes of beauty and destiny are topped off with an always surprising plot and an eccentric cast of characters—including Trench’s body building, ABBA-obsessed father and an obituary writer. It takes the reader from backyard BBQ’s and barnyard beauty pageants to the world or raucous fashion shows and glittering photo shoots in exotic locations.
Fishbowl by Bradley Somer is one of my favorite reads to date, so I’m interested to explore more of Somer’s work.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Goodreads Summary: A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.
I was attracted to this book mainly because of the setting. I’ve never read anything set in Burma (Myanmar) and I’m interested to see what kind of backdrop this provides. And who could say no to that cover design?
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman
Goodreads Summary: At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state.) And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . .
I actually got a head start on reading my July list, and I chose to start with this one. It was a bit of a disappointment to be honest, but I look forward to writing a full review for it anyway.
Carnivalesque by Neil jordan
Goodreads Summary: It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t. The boy saw it from the car window, the tops of the large trailer rides over the parked trains by the railway tracks. His parents were driving towards the new mall and he was looking forward to that too, but the tracery of lights above the gloomy trains caught his imagination . . .
Andy walks into Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors, and then he walks right into the mirror, becomes a reflection. Another boy, a boy who is not Andy, goes home with Andy’s parents. And the boy who was once Andy is pulled—literally pulled, by the hands, by a girl named Mona—into another world, a carnival world where anything might happen.
I can’t wait to read this one! To be honest, it has been a while since I last read something fantastical, and I think this will sort of ease me back into the realm of the magical and mystical.
The Muse by Jessie Burton
Goodreads Summary: A picture hides a thousand words . . .
On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.
The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences
I’ve heard so many great things about this one, and I finally cracked under the pressure of the bookstagram photos featuring this novel. I’m excited to see if it lives up to the hype.
Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy by Agnès Martin-Lugand
Hachette Book Group description: Diane needs to start over again. After returning from Ireland and turning the page on her stormy relationship with Edward, the brooding Irish photographer, she is determined to rebuild her life in Paris with help from her best friend Félix. She focuses solely on getting her literary café back on track-until she meets Olivier.
He is kind and thoughtful, and she may have a future with him…until she stumbles across her former love at a photography exhibit. What is Edward doing in Paris? Why didn’t he reach out? Faced with a hail of questions, her old flame remains cold and unresponsive. Apparently, he, too, has moved on.
In order to put the past behind her, Diane must go back over her tracks. Ireland saved her before. Can she get answers there and find peace again?
A romance set in Paris about the owner of a literary café. Need I say more? I’m very excited to read this, and hopefully it will be a good introduction to this author.
The Foundling Boy by Michel Déon
Goodreads Summary: The classic coming-of-age novel translated into English for the first time.
It is 1919. On a summer’s night in Normandy, a newborn baby is left in a basket outside the home of Albert and Jeanne Arnaud. The childless couple take the foundling in, name him Jean, and decide to raise him as their own, though his parentage remains a mystery.
Though Jean’s life is never dull, he grows up knowing little of what lies beyond his local area. Until the day he sets off on his bicycle to discover the world, and encounters a Europe on the threshold of interesting times. . . .
People throw around the term ‘modern classic’ a lot these days, but The Foundling Boy seems to have gained genuine praise over the years. I’m more than ready to dive into this book, especially since I am fond of French novels.
Now that my online graphic design classes have concluded, I should hopefully have enough time in my schedule to actually finish reading everything on this list before the end of July. Again, I hope everyone is having a good summer so far, and stay tuned for more reviews, lists, or TBRs like this one!