Somehow, between wedding planning and traveling and keeping up with the affairs of everyday life, I've been able to do more reading this summer than I have in quite a while. In addition, it's become my habit to pass the many minutes of my daily commute by listening to sermons or audiobooks, so I am "reading" that way as well.
Another thing that has not happened in quite some time is that I have read a number of books that I enjoyed so much as to want to recommend them to others. So, here are a couple suggestions for your next trip to the library or bookstore:
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer & Barrows)
Having already finished the novel I brought with me on the trip, I picked this one up in the Denver airport before heading back to Chicago. (In case you were wondering, yes, it pained me to pay full price for a book. My BN employee discount has me spoiled.) It had been on my to-read list for quite some time, ever since one of my co-workers at BN, who's on the panel that reads potential BN Recommends titles, read and raved about it. TGLPPPS is an epistolary novel, a writing style that holds a lot of promise and power when used well (see Ella Minnow Pea). It's also one of those books where you arrive at the end with both a sense of satisfaction at how it all turns out, and sadness that you must now bid the characters farewell and hear from them no more. Read this book. It has history, heart, and humor that will keep you turning the pages and thinking about who you'll recommend it to when you finish.
Peace Like a River (Enger)
This one I listened to during my commute and it held my attention without fail. Peace Like a River tells the story of the Land family - father Jeremiah, brothers Davy (age 17) and Rueben (11), and younger sister Swede. I know I'm not the first to make this comparison, but Peace Like a River reminds me a lot of To Kill a Mockingbird (which happens to be one of my all-time favorites) in several ways - the child narrator (Rueben), the sibling dynamics between Rube and Swede, and the hallowed but defatigable father. Peace Like a River is a sweeping story of family and faith, but what really endears it to me is the way Rueben tells their story. Some of his descriptions and observations of people and situations made me laugh out loud, while others are so unassuming and insightful I wanted to wrap myself up in the words and mull over them for a while. This is a book I will return to down the road.