Hop Picks for July 2018

Hellllllooooo  Friends! It's  Summer. Finally!!!!! 
I took a  small hiatus to recharge  and am ready for an incredible summer of library hopping. 

I hope our paths cross this summer. If they do, I bet it will be at the library, at the beach, or at the playground. Wherever I may be, I will be carrying an ENORMOUS novel.  

   This time of year,  I always read a giant book because I have more chances (and places) to sit, and many, many icy beverages to drink. What better way to spend those extra hours than with a 600-plus page book? Some of my fellow hoppers may think this is an unrealistic tradition but I suggest you try it! I truly believe that losing yourself in a story makes you pause, encourages you to relax and look forward to those slow, sunny afternoons. 

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A Little Life. My favorite book. When I say "favorite" I mean, favorite ever. Of all time. Isn't that crazy?

There are so many books that I love but I have never invested myself in a main character's life as deeply as I did with Hanya Yanagihara's. 

A Little Life captures the complex relationships of four friends: Willem, JB, Malcom, and Jude. It is Jude's life that I found myself so dedicated to. Jude's suffering and his choices affect his friends in every possible way, and their beautiful, mundane, and sometimes tragic lives are intertwined and knotted so realistically that just writing about this book makes me teary-eyed.  I read this novel a few years ago and although I think about it often, I am afraid to read it again because the first time around was just so remarkable. All the feels. 

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  1Q84 is Haruki Marukumi's whopper of a novel. Clocking in at almost a thousand pages I decided to listen to the audio book while traveling on a summer trip. 1Q84 is such a complicated novel that (honestly) I'm not sure I would have finished it if I had started with the book but fortunately the audio book is so well done (by the talented Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, and Mark Boyettbut) that about half way through I had to go back to the library and borrow the book too! I was listening to the audio book in the car and in my free time supplementing with the paper copy. I was that invested. I ate this novel up and was riveted until the very last page.

1Q84 is a journey and Murukami's poetic prose fills the pages with passages like this:

"Wasn't it better if they kept this desire to see each other hidden within them, and never actually got together? That way, there would always be hope in their hearts. That hope would be a small, yet vital flame that warmed them to their core-- a tiny flame to cup one's hands around and protect from the wind, a flame that the violent winds of reality might easily extinguish."

If you don't have any plans to travel this summer I suggest you try this book. After completing 1Q84 you will feel exhausted, invigorated and changed as if you have participated in some incredible voyage. 

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  Crimson Petal and the White is a historical novel set in Victorian England. It follows the life of a prostitute named Sugar as she slowly ascends the class system from the nasty slums to high society . This book may be over 800 pages but is deliciously easy to get lost in. The details found in this book are delightful, and while reading this novel I could clearly imagine the dirty city streets, smell the gutters and the baker's shop, and comprehend the struggles of poverty and class in the mid 1800's. This book is juicy, this book is fun, this book is perfect for the beach! 

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Wally Lamb is a national treasure. He has several novels and ALL are wonderful and gripping. He lives in Connecticut and I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Although he writes forceful novels, he is an extremely cheery person! His novel We Are Water is a favorite of mine  but at 897 pages his novel I Know This Much Is True HAS to be on this list. 

This staggering text follows the life of Dominick Birdsey as he grapples with the love and resentment he has for his twin brother Thomas. The bond the brothers share is strong and changes dramatically when Thomas begins struggling with mental illness and symptoms of schizophrenia. It is moving and oh so complicated. You will be hooked!

Wow! I am in love with this list. These books are all incredible. Seriously, I cannot recommend them enough!

 I hope everyone is slowing down this summer and taking some time to smell the flowers, feel the sunshine and lose themselves in  a superb book. 

Now GO! "Loiter and Learn Something!"