This long-awaited post is now named Summer Nostalgia rather than Summer Reading as our weather hints (pretty strongly) that the warm season has officially drifted off now. These choices seem to fit the mood, nevertheless. Hopefully you can enjoy with a dose of fresh sea air.

An Autumn Edit is hot on the heels of this post (feast or famine my loyal followers!) so prepare to be overwhelmed with cozy season choices.


Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark

Newly in paperback, this seems like a quintessential summer mood read. Or … a cozy up in front of the fire read, while reflecting on summers past. It’s a bit heftier than most but the beautifully written pages will take you off to Coastal Maine to explore themes of friendship and legacy and love and literature. A 79 year old renowned writer of children’s books, Agnes Lee, is suffering from writer’s block at the same time that she is attempting to plan her estate by preserving a land holding at Fellowship Point where she’s spent most of the summers of her life. Her dear friend, and Fellowship Point neighbour, Polly, needs to approve of the plans but is under the influence of her adult children who have less sentimental ideas. Conflict arises between the old friends and their privileged summer community. If that wasn’t enough, Agnes has been convinced to write her memoir and the ghosts and secrets that emerge complicate matters further. This is an epic multi-generational trip with the layered stories unfolding in a majestic landscape. Extremely well-reviewed as Alice Elliott Dark is a widely respected and talented writer.


Beyond That the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash

While one family must heart-wrenchingly part ways with their 11 year old daughter in order to protect her from the German bombings on London, another family welcomes her a world away, to Boston. Young Bea will forever be influenced by her time with the Gregory family and their sons with whom she bonded over her years spent savouring idyllic summer retreats and the easy American lifestyle they enjoy. Bea returns to London and her family but carries her time with the Gregory’s deep within. “As we follow Bea over time, navigating between her two worlds, Beyond That, the Sea emerges as a beautifully written, absorbing novel, full of grace and heartache, forgiveness and understanding, loss and love.”


Closer by Sea by Perry Chafe

Here’s another story where the location is a a character unto itself. Set on a small isolated island off the rugged Newfoundland coast in the 1990s, a young boy is mourning the loss of his fisherman father. Another tragedy, this time the disappearance of a teen girl, also preoccupies his thoughts as he and his friends become insistent seekers of the truth behind the mystery. The fierce weather and landscape along with the characters seeking to make their way in a changing culture amid the failing fishing industry all play key roles in the unfolding of the tale.  “Part coming-of-age story, part literary mystery, and part suspense thriller, Closer by Sea is a page-turning, poignant, and powerful novel about family, friendship, and community set at a pivotal time in modern Newfoundland history. It is an homage to a people and a place, and above all it captures that delicate and tender moment when the wonder of childhood innocence gives way to the harsh awakening of adult experience.


The Last Life Boat by Hazel Gaynor

If you have read The Lost Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry, this would be a good follow up or vice versa. A story of the children of WWII who were sent off for safer shores and yet, encountered tragedy and challenges despite best efforts to provide security.  After their ship is torpedoed, a young teacher is alone with a group of frightened and desperate evacuee children adrift at sea, fighting for their survival. On shore, a desperate mother will do her best to aid in the rescue. The women’s lives will be forever intertwined. Also a bit reminiscent of Beyond That the Sea listed above, but a quite different take. Choose one or immerse yourself in the genre with all of them! Hazel Gaynor is renowned for her skill in bringing historical events and characters vibrantly to life with memorable and entertaining stories.


Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea

More historical fiction, this time focused on The Red Cross and its “Donut Dollies” – the women charged with driving the Clubmobile military vehicles along the front lines in Europe during World War II. The special sisterhood of friendships forged, along with heroic endeavours, and the highs and lows of love are shared with beautiful writing by Luis Alberto Urrea who was inspired by his own Mother’s stories of her experiences as a wartime volunteer.


The Heaven &  Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The author of Deacon King Kong once again immerses his reader in a vivid neighbourhood community. The mostly Jewish immigrants and African Americans resident of Chicken Hill are enmeshed in a web of secrets, long held, behind the discovery of a skeleton during an excavation by developers. “As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.”

Celebrity Book Clubs

August 19, 2020

Hiking 2015, by Darren Thompson

Hope you’ve all been enjoying a good summer with books galore. I’ve had some hits and misses but overall there are some good pages in the bank. You’ll hear about the best ones soon.  Feel free to share your own hits!

I have an arm’s-length list of topics to share with you but it was a message in my in-box this morning that put me back in the chair to write. From whence the message? A shoe company I once patronized. The content? An invite to join their new Book Club! Not the first place I think of when I think of book clubs.

I’d already begun piecing together notes about the recent surge of celebrity book clubs so it seemed a sign. It seems everyone from the iconic, (Oprah and Reese and former NFL-er Andrew Luck), to all the TV hosts (Jenna and GMA), to every bookseller (Chapter’s, Parnassus, Powell’s) and yes, even to the shoe store, has formed a virtual book club. I haven’t actually joined in with any of the groups but I do give the books and their reviews a second look. Oprah’s picks have sometimes been a bit dark for my liking, Reese’s are quite consistently choices I’ve enjoyed though sometimes a little on the “lite” side and I’ve said before that Heather’s selections are dependably good ones for me too. What’s your experience been? Do you follow any celebrity book clubs you’d recommend?

Here are some of the latest picks that have caught my eye in a few of the most popular “Celebrity” Book Clubs:

Heather’s Book Club (Heather Reisman of Indigo-Chapters)

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power, A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabelle Allende, The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


Hello Sunshine Book Club (Reese Witherspoon’s picks)

The Henna Artist by Akra Joshi, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat, Untamed by Glennon Doyle


Andrew Luck’s Book Club

The Overstory by Richard Powers, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, Preaching to the Chickens: The story of a young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal


Good Morning America (GMA) Book Club 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis, In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, Long Bright River by Liz Moore


Read with Jenna (Today Show)

A Burning by Megha Majumbdar, Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore, The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare, All Adults Here by Emma Straub


Oprah’s Book Club

Deacon King Kong by James McBride, Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue


And the shoe company, Margaux’s, inaugural selection for their new book club called (wait for it) Footnotes!

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud