Vacation Wrap-up

I am back from vacation. It was a relaxing week at the beach, with some (not enough – never enough) time for reading. I finished How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper (reviewed here) and At A Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlen (reviewed here) and am well into Family History by Dani Shapiro, which I am having a hard time putting down. I was up very late last night reading it and am quite enjoying it, though it's quite a difficult story.

One highlight of the trip was my annual visit to the very best bookstore on the planet: Island Bookstore in Corolla, NC. It's not a large store, but its fiction selection is better than any I have ever seen in any other bookstore, chain store or independent. I always find books there I've never heard of before. And I had my annual book gossip session with Meaghan, the Island Bookstore fiction expert, who came from behind the counter to take me through the shelves and point out new fiction to me. Her comfort zone for books is definitely wider than mine, so she pushes me to expand my tendencies beyond my usual "domestic fiction" themes of family and relationships.

Moore I wrote down the titles of a number of books that either Meaghan recommended or that I discovered on my own on Island Bookstore's shelves, and I'll share them here over the next month. Here's the first one – and this is one I actually bought from the store. It's called The Big Girls by Susanna Moore. It's the story of a women's prison, told by four narrators, one of whom is a psychiatrist at the prison. Here are a number of reviews of the book. It is apparently graphic, at times even violent, but it also sounds like a fascinating depiction of the world inside the prison, as well as the often very disturbed worlds inside the inmates' minds. It's now in my impossibly large TBR pile. If you're intrigued, here's the first chapter, reprinted on

Many more Island Bookstore recommendations to come.