Roxie's Readers set up in December, and the group has already read "Finding Chika" by Mitch Albom, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," the book the recent movie is based on, and "The Nickel Boys" by Colton Whitehead. In addition, this club has read "Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One" and "The Orchid Thief."
Roxie's Readers Are Reading "Eleanor Oliphant" in July, "Akin" in August, "Florence Adler Swims Forever" in September, and "The Great Pretender" in September.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Just Fine: Gail Honeyman's smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart. Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, tendency to wear the same clothes year in, year out), means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue each other from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond's big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Awards: No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
On Reese's reading list.
Akin: Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he's discovered from his mother's wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an 11-year-old great-nephew he's never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip. Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak frites to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy's truculent wit, and Michael's ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family's past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. It is amazing what author Emma Donaghue created from a packet of faded black and white photos.
"What begins as a larky story of unlikely male bonding turns into an off-center but far richer novel about the unheralded, imperfect heroism of two women." -- New York Times
Florence Adler Swims Forever: Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to "America's Playground" and move into the small apartment above their bakery. Despite the cramped quarters, this is the apartment where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence, and it always feels like home. Now Florence has returned from college, determined to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel, and Fannie, pregnant again after recently losing a baby, is on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams.
Esther only wants to keep her daughters close and safe but some matters are beyond her control: there's Fannie's risky pregnancy--not to mention her always-scheming husband, Isaac--and the fact that the handsome heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies, seems to be in love with Florence. When tragedy strikes, Esther makes the shocking decision to hide the truth--at least until Fannie's baby is born--and pulls the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface that reveal how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal.
Based on a true story and told in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan's Saints for All Occasions and Anita Diamant's The Boston Girl, author Rachael Beanland's family saga is a breathtaking portrait of just how far we will go to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure--and even thrive--after tragedy.
Listed as one of Good Morning America's "25 Novels You'll Want to Read This Summer"
One of Parade's "26 Best Books to Read This Summer"
The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness: Doctors have struggled for centuries to define insanity--how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people--sane, healthy, well-adjusted members of society--went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry's labels. Forced to remain inside until they'd "proven" themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan's watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.
But, as author Susannah Cahalan's explosive new research shows in this real-life detective story, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors?
"One of America's most courageous young journalists and the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Brain on Fire investigates the shocking mystery behind the dramatic experiment that revolutionized modern medicine." (NPR).