Of course, true book worms don’t need a special day every year, but it’s nice to be recognized anyway. So in honor of this year’s celebration, here’s a grab bag of titles, some old, some new, to tempt you on Book Lovers Day or any other day you’re looking for a good read.
Hamnet (Maggie O’Farrell) — Even if you’re not a Shakespeare-ophile, you’ll be captivated by this fictional account of his actual son’s life and early death of plague. The story switches back and forth between the boy and the courtship of his parents, his twin sister’s illness, and the boy’s death. The death left his father devastated, and historians have been speculating for centuries whether his tragic play Hamlet was prompted by his grief over his son’s death.
A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from The Street to the Stars (Hakeem Oluseyi) — The inspiring autobiography of a young Black boy with a genius IQ who overcame the poverty and privation of his early childhood through a circuitous route that took him through an unstable home life, addiction and recovery, to Stanford University and a career as a noted astrophysicist. Written in an engaging, conversational style with deep honesty and humor.
Squeeze Me (Carl Hiaasen) — It wouldn’t be summer without a few belly laughs, and Carl Hiaasen always delivers with his sharp but hilarious satire. His latest romp, set as usual in steamy South Florida, stars the usual motley crew of inept crooks, shady politicians, greedy millionaires, and of course a jaded hero or heroine. The plot is typical Hiaasen, and the good guy eventually wins — but the journey is the real fun.
No Way to Treat a First Lady (Christopher Buckley) — This is another side-splitting satire, told as only Christopher Buckley can. A feisty first lady is accused of murdering her husband, the President of the United States. The plot leaves no political type unskewered, and even though the book was released in 2002 you can infer whatever you like about who’s being skewered. The story moves quickly and sometimes raunchily to a deft and satisfying conclusion.
Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (Walter Mosley) — Author of the Easy Rawlins private-eye novels, Walter Mosley shifts gears in this sweet and moving story of a crotchety old man sliding into dementia. Then he meets 17-year-old Robyn, abandoned by her family and sleeping on a relative’s couch, and the two form a bond that becomes a lifeline for them both.