tablet computer on boatIt’s time to wind down the blog for the summer here at By Word of Beth. How are you planning to spend your summer?

While I’ll still be editing (if you’re looking for a freelance editor, check my services out at Flubs2Fixes), and I’ll still be writing, I’ll be taking things a bit easier than usual. For me, taking it easy often involves BOOKS! So yes, I’ll be reading, too.

I’ve recently read a couple of fabulous novels-for-grownups that I want to recommend to you for your own summer reading.

I heard about The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald on Minnesota Public Radio (a great source for book recommendations!) and eagerly requested it from the library. It lived up to the interview on MPR. It’s about a woman, Sara, who travels to Iowa from her hometown in Sweden to meet her penpal, with whom she’s been exchanging books and book recommendations (my kind of penpal!) only to discover that the penpal has just died. Sara has planned to stay for a couple of months — and she does just that.

She discovers that the tiny town needs something, and decides that what it needs is a bookstore. She opens one, using her penpal’s treasure trove of books as a start-up. The back cover of the paperback edition of this book sports this Warning: “Once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen.” The town of Broken Wheel, Iowa will never be the same.

My friend Jan recommended Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I just finished reading it, and I can hardly wait for Simonson’s next book, The Summer Before the War, to land on the hold shelf with my name on it. Hear Simonson talk about Major Pettigrew here.

Major Pettigrew is an aging Englishman who thought his world was fairly settled, if a little dull — until he gets to know the lady in the village shop, Mrs. Ali. They share a love of literature, and feel at ease with each other. But the village is not easy with their relationship. They have many difficult people and challenging situations to deal with as they tread the rocky road of a cross-cultural relationship.

Simonson’s writing is delightful. I discovered, while reading the book, that she received her MFA from Stony Brook Southampton University and was part of a panel at the Stony Brook Southampton Literature Conference in 2012, when I was there. But I had a migraine that afternoon, and missed hearing her speak! Does anyone have a time travel machine I could use? I want a do-over! Here she is talking to a similar group at a previous Stony Brook Southampton Summer Conference.

I wholeheartedly recommend these books to you. And I’m looking for recommendations FROM you, as well. What should I be reading this summer? Please let me know in the comments. NOTE: I’ll be posting about middle grade novels at the Starborn Revue on Wednesday, so if you have any MG to recommend, please add the titles in comments on that post.

After today, By Word of Beth will be on hiatus until September. I hope you have a wonderful, restorative summer! See you in the fall!

Beth in script for blog

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