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Westerly Sun Column

New Month, New Books

It’s the dawn of a new month, which means a whole bunch of new books to look forward to!

I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of books I check out and return (late) without reading, so currently I only have two new titles on my nightstand: “It’s Always Freezer Season” by Ashely Christensen and “The View was Exhausting” by Mikaella Clements & Onjuli Datta. The first is full tips and tricks for making the most of your freezer space, so you can quickly and easily prepare delicious recipes that only TASTE like they took hours to make. The second is fun romance about an actress and a socialite that enter into mutually beneficial staged relationship, which – of course – leads to complications down the road. The plotline is certainly nothing new, but the book itself is well-written and has enough substance to keep it from being a complete guilty pleasure. Great for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Historical fiction fans are probably already aware of Marie Benedict’s new book “The Personal Librarian”, which tells somewhat fictionalized story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian. Benedict co-wrote the novel with Victoria Christopher Murray, and both women will join us for a virtual Author Talk on August 19th to discuss the book, so don’t miss out! You can also visit our YouTube channel to catch up on past author talks, including last month’s discussion with Kristin Harmel, author of another new gem: “The Forest of Vanishing Stars”.

For something more lighthearted, I’m looking forward to “Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light” by the hilarious Helen Ellis. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays about friendship and aging, which will be particularly enjoyable for those nearing middle age, but will resonate with readers of all walks of life.

There’s always a few odd ducks on my list, and this month both of them actually revolve around animals (though not anatids, specifically). “The Council of Animals” by Nick McDonell is a post-apocalyptic fable about an assembly of animals that meet to discuss what they should do with the “human problem”. Eat them? Dispose of them? Help them? Decisions, decisions. It’s a quick read that is reminiscent of Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, though not nearly as significant. Another is “Nightbitch” by Rachel Yoder, a wholly unique, absurd, and dazzlingly smart novel exploring the intricacies of early motherhood and self, but in a way that I don’t think has ever been done before. The main character might also be turning into a wolf.  It’s worth a read!

Need a hug in the form of a book? Try “The Comfort Book” by Matt Haig, short meditations on life that help you get through whatever it is you’re going through. And yes, it’s the same Haig who wrote the bestselling “The Midnight Library”. It’s like he knew we’re all still on the hold list, and need some consolation.

By Cassie Skobrak, Reference Librarian