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W R I TER ’ S B L O C K

Summer Bookshelf Booked for the Season

Summer brings lessons in love and forgiveness that can change a life forever. Pack plenty of sunscreen— and tissues. Since most of us hit the beach sans mascara, Nicholas Sparks’ latest tearjerker, “The Last Song,” is a great seaside read. The last place 17-year-old Ronnie—played by Miley Cyrus in the novel’s onscreen adaptation—wants to spend the summer is on the North Carolina coast with the father she hasn’t spoken to for years.

Batter Up, Baseball Fans!

If you’re a diehard baseball fan, consider this your sports bible. There’s no better way to usher in the summer than with an entertaining book about America’s pastime. In Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” baseball fans are treated to an intrinsic look at how statistics go a long way in defining the outcome of games. The plot hinges on Billy Beane, a general manager of the Oakland A’s who was forced to win with a laughable budget. By leaning on statistics and key data, Billy built a contender and ushered in an era of statistics-supported competition.

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Beauty Lies Within

Quite a Catch

Katherine Center, “Everyone is Beautiful” Lanie nearly loses herself when she moves far from home to further her husband’s music career. Alone with their three young sons, she feels trapped in her far-from-glamorous “mommy” role and resolves to reclaim her identity. She wages war against her weight, delves into photography and makes friends. But, while finding herself, she nearly loses her husband. In the end, Lanie’s reminded that, in their own way, everyone really is beautiful.

J.D. Salinger, “The Catcher in the Rye” Centered around the teenage angst of main character and narrator, ousted college prep student Holden Caulfield, this book chronicles the difficult period between being a child and reaching adulthood. Since it was published in 1951, the book has been acclaimed and discredited, taught in schools and banned from them. Rereading this controversial classic is a good way to celebrate the reclusive author, who died early this year.

Action & Espionage

A Fiery Love

Brian Haig, “The Hunted” International politics meets global terrorism in this fast-paced thriller. The story centers on one Alex Konevitch, an entrepreneur whose IQ and wealth is worldrenowned. In the 1990s, Konevitch embraced capitalism in the Soviet Union and wound up making millions. Unfortunately, that type of wealth in a broken nation tends to invite danger. With a bulls-eye on his back, Alex treks the globe warding off terrorists and crooked cops, all while ensuring his family stays safe. Based on a true story, “The Hunted” is as provocative a mystery as they come.

Shirley Hazzard, “The Great Fire” After two decades in the making, Hazzard brings to life a book about love and loss in a war-torn era. The plot hinges on Aldred Leith, a battered World War II hero who arrives in post-war Japan to write a book about war. While there, he meets Helen Driscoll, a beautiful teenager, and her terminally ill brother. Aldred soon falls for Helen, but he must first come to grips with his past in order to face his future. With stunning prose, it’s easy to see why this was a National Book Award winner. — Lisa Chinn & Nicholas Addison Thomas

Virginia Neighbors  

July August 2010Issue

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