List: Summer Reads: Family
Close, Jennifer, author.
An irresistible comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the pri... More
An irresistible comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the private jokes, ancient grudges, broken hearts, and deep, abiding love that feeds them all. Here are the three things the Sullivan family knows to be true: the Chicago Cubs will always be the underdogs; historical progress is inevitable; and their grandfather, Bud, founder of JP Sullivan's, will always make the best burgers in Oak Park. But when, over the course of three strange months, the Cubs win the World Series, Trump is elected president, and Bud drops dead, suddenly everyone in the family finds themselves doubting all they hold dear. Take Gretchen for example, lead singer for a '90s cover band who has been flirting with fame for a decade but is beginning to wonder if she's too old to be chasing a childish dream. Or Jane, Gretchen's older sister, who is starting to suspect that her fitness-obsessed husband who hides the screen of his phone isn't always "working late." And then there's Teddy, their steadfast, unfailingly good cousin, nursing heartbreak and confusion because the guy who dumped him keeps showing up for lunch at JP Sullivan's where Teddy is the manager. How can any of them be expected to make the right decisions when the world feels sideways--and the bartender at JP Sullivan's makes such strong cocktails? Less
Quotah, Eman, author.
During a snowy Cleveland February, newlyweds Muneer and Saeedah are starting their lives in America ... More
During a snowy Cleveland February, newlyweds Muneer and Saeedah are starting their lives in America and expecting their first child. But Muneer harbors a secret: the word divorce has begun whispering itself in his ear. Soon, their marriage will end, and Muneer will return to Saudi Arabia, while Saeedah remains in Cleveland with their daughter, Hanadi. The more time she shares with her daughter, the more Saeedah wants to keep her close, and before long, her fear of losing Hanadi leads Saeedah to think that she and her daughter have no choice but to hide. Saeedah disappears with the little girl to build a new, secret life, while Muneer is left desperately searching for his daughter in a different country for years. The repercussions of this abduction ripple outward, not only changing the lives of Hanadi and her parents, but also their interwoven family and friends--those who must choose sides and hide their own deeply guarded secrets. And when Hanadi comes of age, she finds herself at the center of this conflict, torn between the world she grew up in and a family across the ocean. How can she exist between parents, between countries? This question lies at the heart of Eman Quotah's spellbinding debut about colliding cultures, immigration, religion, and family; an intimate portrait of loss and healing, and, ultimately, a testament to the ways we find ourselves inside love, distance, and heartbreak. Less
Swann, Stacey, author.
The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two y... More
The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother's wife. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms, and is no stranger to infidelity herself; she's tired of being the long-suffering wife thanks to her husband's many affairs. Within days of March's arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of allies are divided. In the end, the ties that hold them together might be exactly what drag them all down. The Briscoes must reckon with their choices, their capacity for forgiveness, and the confines of family. An expansive tour de force, Olympus, TX combines the archetypes of Greek and Roman mythology with the psychological complexity of a messy family. After all, at some point, we all wonder: What good is this destructive force we call love? Less
Chang, Lan Samantha, author.
The residents of Haven, Wisconsin have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant's delicious Americaniz... More
The residents of Haven, Wisconsin have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant's delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, happy to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. But when brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo Chao is found dead--presumed murdered--his sons find they've drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town. The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant's reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James. Less
Harris, Kai, author.
After their father dies of an overdose and the debts incurred from his addiction cause the loss of ... More
After their father dies of an overdose and the debts incurred from his addiction cause the loss of the family home in Detroit, Kenyatta Bernice (KB) and her sister, Nia, are sent by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing. Over the course of the summer, KB attempts to get her bearings in a world that has turned upside down. Pinballing between resentment, abandonment, and loneliness, she is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice. While some truths cut deep, a new life--and a new KB-- can be built from the shards. Less
Schulman, Alex, 1976- author.
In the wake of their mother's death, three estranged brothers return to the lakeside cottage wh... More
In the wake of their mother's death, three estranged brothers return to the lakeside cottage where, over two decades before, an unspeakable accident forever altered their family. There is Nils, the oldest, who couldn't escape his suffocating home soon enough, and Pierre, the youngest, easily bullied and quick to lash out. And then there is Benjamin, always the family's nerve center, perpetually on the look-out for triggers and trap doors in a volatile home where the children were left to fend for themselves, competing for their father's favor and their mother's elusive love. But as the years have unfolded, Benjamin has grown increasingly untethered from reality, frozen in place while life carries on around him. And between the brothers a dangerous current now vibrates. What really happened that summer day when everything was blown to pieces? Less
Frazier, Jean Kyoung, author.
Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our char... More
Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She's grieving the death of her father (who she has more in common with than she'd like to admit), avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future. Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled covered pizzas for her son's happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other towards middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways. Less
Cumming, Alan, 1965- author.
With the release of his first memoir, Not My Father's Son, Alan Cumming felt the power that cam... More
With the release of his first memoir, Not My Father's Son, Alan Cumming felt the power that came with sharing his truth. Shocking fans and readers with the reality of his childhood trauma, Not My Father's Son was a #1 New York Times bestseller and universally landed for its searing honesty and the way in which Alan relentlessly sought answers to questions about his family and his past. And, as an added and perhaps unexpected benefit, he inspired others to engage with their own sources of pain. Alan found that his words were powerful, that his authenticity was a clarion call. But behind the fun-loving, happy persona is the truth of Alan's life, a truth he shares in Baggage. The message that comes through time and time again in this wise and witty second memoir is that the past is not something to forget or 'get over.' Alan hasn't miraculously healed from the trauma of his father's abuse. His life today is one where he artfully manages what happened to him, even as it still haunts. In a series of episodes that are bookended by two marriages, the ending of his first to his wife, and the start of his second to his husband, Baggage charts Alan's unique and wonderful career onstage and onscreen and all the times that Hollywood has, since his nervous breakdown at the age of twenty-eight, swooped into his life to whisk him away from all sorts of calamity or moments of personal destruction. Populated by marquee names (Liza! Faye Dunaway! Gore Vidal! X-Men! Kubrick! The Spice Girls!) and moments of hilarity, heartbreak, bad decisions, bold moves, but always authenticity, Alan Cumming reveals himself as entirely human -- a happy, flawed, vulnerable, fearless middle-aged man, with a lot of baggage. An entertaining, but entirely thoughtful, memoir of a man who embraces both the darkness and the light, Baggage is a true delight from start to finish. Less