Vacation treats, retreat found in the pages of these books

Good ReadsBy John Hoover
©2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Going on vacation? Perhaps to the beach or the lake where you’ll get a chance to relax and have some free time?

May we humbly suggest that you take along something to read?

Company she keptThis month’s column contains a number of books that the owners — current and former — and staff of Misty Valley Books think might be good choices for a lazy summer afternoon on vacation – they also work if you’re staying home and just want something to read.

Bill’s suggestion is intended to keep you in touch with home. “If you’re on the beach and the water is salty, you’re not in Vermont — and probably homesick already.  Remedy:  Take one (or several) Archer Mayor mysteries with you. His most recent is The Company She Kept ($25.99).  They are fun to read; you never have to go back 10 pages to figure out where you were in case you fallCoconut Cake asleep in the sun; and there’s often good old-fashioned Vermont snow on the ground in the story, a cooling effect.”

In what will be Sylvan’s last review for this column, she has chosen The Coincidence of Coconut Cake ($16) by Amy Reichert. “This book is just the confection of sweet and airy prose that I look for in a shoreline companion. This romance between the most unlikely of partners, a chef/owner and a restaurant reviewer, has many of the familiar contrivances of a rom-com movie. But, just because you know where the story is headed doesn’t make getting there any less fun. As for the titular desert, there’s even a recipe that would be great for summer beach parties and picnics.”

Pirate HuntersKim says, “I’m going with a ‘beach read’ in the literal sense by recommending Pirate Hunters ($17) by Robert Kurson. It’s the true story of a nearly forgotten 17th century pirate named Joseph Bannister, who managed to evade and defeat the British Navy while beached in a cove in present-day Dominican Republic. His ship, The Golden Fleece,  didn’t survive the battle, but the wreck’s discovery in 2009 is one of only two confirmed pirate ships ever found. Lots of adventure, danger and history, all set on a stretch of beach in a tropical paradise.”

Amanda is finding her current Good Read, Christopher Buckley’s The Relic Master ($26.95), so good she’s willing to recommend it.  “Historical fiction hasRelic Master always been one of my favorite genres and this book combines all the best elements: interesting characters, plot and historical detail.  The novel opens in 1517 and follows Dismas, the main character, as he tracks down important religious ‘relics’ for the collections of his politically and religiously connected clients.  Greed and avarice, along with Martin Luther’s agitating, are about to upend the relic master’s life.”

One of our new owners, Renee, suggests Honeydew ($15.99), a collection of short stories by Edith Pearlman. “These stories are beautifully crafted, with deliberateness reminiscent of writing classes of years ago.  Pearlman offers a Honeydewview of human nature that is odd, strange even.  But she brings us in to her cast of characters with forcefulness and we are under her spell in a moment. Some might not consider Honeydew a traditional summer read.  It is not light or dreamy.  These stories have heft; these characters stay with us well past the last page.  It is a book that is ideally suited for travelers; each story can be relished in a few minutes.  For a reader who wants fine structure, wonderful use of language, and fascinating characters, Honeydew is a terrific option.”

My reading tends to cross genres so I’m going to recommend two titles. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend ($16.99) by Katrina Bivald is one of the “sweetest” Readers of Broken Wheelbooks I’ve read in a long time; a book for those who love books. It’s the story about self-image and self-doubt, both human and community, and how one person can effect tremendous change.

The Last Mile ($29) is David Baldacci’s second Amos Decker novel and one of his best.  Decker, a former police detective who cannot forget anything (the first novel was titled Memory Man), becomes part of an FBI task force charged with investigating cold cases.  Decker gets the task force to look into the case of a man in Texas who is about to be executed for a murder he insists he didn’t commit and thus begins the fun.Last Mile

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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