Island Bookstore Picks

Last week, I was in Corolla, NC on vacation. Despite my current book bankruptcy, I couldn't resist a visit to Island Bookstore, one of my all time favorite bookstores. The fiction section, as always, was full of books that I hadn't heard of before but which look promising. And, I bought one book – One Day, by David Nicholls - which I talked about here.

Here are some of the books that I noted while I was there.

Husband and Wife, by Leah Stewart. From Amazon: "When novelist Nathan Bennett confesses to his wife, Sarah, right before a friend's wedding that he slept with another woman (his novel is titled Infidelity), Sarah's concerns shift from whether the dress she plans to wear to the wedding makes her look fat to what she will do about her future and that of their two young children, Mattie and Binx. What follows is an unflinching look at what happens when one's identity is shattered, and what-ifs and past choices come back to haunt the present." You can read more about Leah Stewart in this interview

Guide_commoner The Commoner, by John Burnham Schwartz. From Amazon: "Schwartz bases his finely wrought fourth novel on the life of Empress Michiko of Japan, the first commoner to marry into the Japanese imperial family. Haruko Tsuneyasu grows up in postwar rural Japan and studies at Sacred Heart University, where she excels—particularly and fatefully—at tennis, which provides her entrée to the crown prince, whom she handily beats in an exhibition match. After more meetings on and off the court, the prince asks Haruko to marry him. Persuaded by their mutual attraction and by assurances that the break with tradition will usher in a modern era, Haruko ultimately agrees, against her father's wishes, to become the first commoner turned royal. But, as her father had feared, her freedom and ambition suffer under the stifling rituals of court life. Eventually, Haruko succumbs to the inescapable judgment of the empress and her entourage, falling mute after the birth of her son, Yasuhito." Bookslut says,"Ultimately, Schwartz’s novel is a graceful narrative flight circumscribing the internal struggles faced by women from all cultures whose loyalty, duty and honor to oneself and one’s legacy are more important than the oldest traditions, however noble or common they may be."

Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith. From Amazon: "A timeless classic is reborn! From Betty Smith—author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of the most beloved novels of the past century—comes an unsentimental yet radiant and powerfully uplifting tale of young hearts and marriage. In 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, Carl Brown and Annie McGairy meet and fall in love. Though only eighteen, Annie travels alone halfway across the country to the Midwestern university where Carl is studying law—and there they marry. But their first year together is much more difficult than they anticipated, in a faraway place with little money and few friends. With hardship and poverty weighing heavily upon them, Annie and Carl come to realize that their greatest sources of strength, loyalty and love, will help them make it through." Life Wordsmith calls this book "sweet and very readable".

One final note to share. A few weeks ago I mentioned a book that I saw at BEA – the I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook. It arrived in the mail on Friday, and I like it already! I made a couscous dish tonight and look forward to making many more recipes using Trader Joe's ingredients. Thank you to Ulysses Press for sending me a copy.