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Book Notes from Susan


Nothing like sitting with a great book and a cup of hot tea, hot chocolate or a glass of wine and admonishing yourself because it is time to go to bed and you are still reading or it is time to cook dinner and you have just one more chapter to go and you just cannot stop. Here are some books that are just plain great adventures with unexpected plot twists and terrific reads that we recommend.


Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
Whitehead brings improbable characters to life in this story of an aspiring, striving man in Harlem who cannot avoid confronting a past he did not make for himself. His adventures are nail-biters and you don’t know until the very end how it will all turn out. By the time you are finished you will be enamored of people you thought were the “bad guys” while shocked (or, unfortunately, confirmed in your beliefs) at the behavior of the “good ones.” The satire and social commentary are wicked and can be very humorous.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
If someone were to ask you if this plot could work you would not even bother to respond: teenagers in Thrace in the 15th century, an 80-year-old gentleman in Idaho and a teenager in the 22nd century traveling in a spaceship — and, by the way, a bit of Aristotle thrown it as a reference. Who are you kidding? Yet it does work, so much so that you just don’t want to put it down. An adventure story with a few morality tales and social commentary thrown into the mix.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Be prepared for an unpredictable plot with four young adult characters, not unlike Whitehead’s, who just cannot get away from their pasts. The “good guys” do “bad things” and the “bad guys” do “good things” to the point that you cannot tell the difference. While their escapade may seem far-fetched and improbable Towles uses mythical heroes to place his characters in a context. Much of the plot takes place on the road, hence the name, and the reason some reviewers have labeled this a real “joy ride” to read.


Fresh Water for Flowers by Valerie Perrin
This is a Susan and Laura favorite. We have been recommending it all summer so if you haven’t read it yet, you must take advantage of this remarkably great book. It is a bit too trite to describe this book as a love, loss, redemption, life and love regained novel but it is all of that and more. And, yet again, we have some “bad guys” who can’t get away from their pasts and some “good guys” who are real JERKS. What a joy to read.





Fresh Water for Flowers Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781609455958
Published: Europa Editions - July 7th, 2020

The Lincoln Highway: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735222359
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - October 5th, 2021

Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982168438
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - September 28th, 2021

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385545136
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - September 14th, 2021