Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.–Vera Nazarian
The weekend was beautiful, sunny but not too warm, breezy but just enough to cool the face. It’s going to be an awesome summer to go to the beach, backyard, or lay out on the couch and read.
Even if it were dreary and rainy, I’d still read.
I’ve assembled my list of ten books for twelve weeks of summertime reading pleasure. My picks are based on authors whose writing I admire and other picks are based on the story they promise to tell.
These books are my travels, where I can go back in time, or to other cultures, or to hear words in other languages.
The subjects cover relationships, romance, loss, disability, prejudice, courage, and resilience.
Genres include historical fictions, contemporary lit, memoir and Young Adult novels.
1. China Dolls by Lisa See
Three young women from different backgrounds meet in San Francisco in 1938, forming a bond that will test their friendship after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
2.The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
Set against the backdrop of 20th century history, a Russian immigrant girl transforms herself into an ice cream mogul — one whose past threatens to trip her up.
3-The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
A budding romance between a Mexican girl and Panamanian boy offers a glimpse of the struggles, fears and misunderstandings of Latin American immigrants.
4.Take This Man – A Memoir by Brando Skyhorse
Brando Skyhorse was brought up in Echo Park in the 1970s believing he was the son of an incarcerated American Indian activist. This memoir explores his turbulent, five-stepfathered childhood and his discovery, decades later, of his true origins.
5.Bulletproof Vest: The Ballad of an Outlaw and His Daughter by Maria Venegas
Brought up in the U.S., Maria Venegas had a tumultuous relationship with her gun-toting father back in Mexico. This debut book explores her relationship with this man and his often violent choices. (July 3, 2014)
6. The Amado Women by Désirée Zamorano
Southern California is ground zero for upwardly mobile middle-class Latinas. Matriarchs like Mercy Amado—despite her drunken, philandering (now ex-) husband—could raise three daughters and become a teacher. Now she watches helplessly as her daughters drift apart as adults. The Latino bonds of familia don’t seem to hold in this novel about four women linked by birth, separated by secrets of sex, money and death.
7. Like No Other by Una LaMarche
Trapped in an elevator during a hurricane in Brooklyn, a Hasidic Jewish girl and a book-smart African American boy make a forbidden love connection that could lead to dire consequences. (July 24, 2014-YA novel).
8. Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber
When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and the fear of “Commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin. (YA novel).
9. A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. (YA novel).
10. Pig Park by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
Fifteen-year-old Masi Burciaga neighborhood is becoming more of a ghost town each day since the lard company moved away. Even her school closed down. Her family’s bakery and the other surviving businesses may soon follow. As a last resort, the neighborhood grown-ups enlist all the remaining able-bodied boys and girls into a scheme in hopes of luring visitors. Maybe their neighbors will come back too. But something’s not right about the entrepreneur behind it all. (July 1, 2014-YA novel-MOVED to SEPT. 14 pub date).
Ten books in twelve weeks. Now, get thee to the library or your favorite bookseller and start reading.
I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense-Harold Kushner
5 thoughts on “DiverseLit: 10 New Summer Reads 2014”
Oh what a great selection. I have only read Lisa See, but your YA picks sound terrific. I will travel a lot this summer and books make perfect trip companions. Thank you, Mona.
You’re so right, books do make for the perfect travel companion. They’re unobtrusive and yet take you on an exciting adventure. Enjoy selecting your picks.
Thank you for the suggestions! I’ve added some new titles to my ever growing “to read” list. 🙂