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Here Are Some Book Recommendations for You

June '21

It’s summer reading time—if you live north of the equator. Or winter reading time—if you live south of the equator. But it’s always a good time to read! As is customary this time of year, I have some book recommendations to share with you.

The Pandemic produced a rare silver lining for my personal reading choices. I was suddenly able to join some book clubs, previously unavailable because they were too far away. As a result I was introduced to books, I might never have read otherwise.

Over the past year I’ve found myself drawn to historical fiction and non-fiction. There’s something special about being placed in a physical place and time where history is been written. In addition, it’s always fun to see these worlds and the characters brought to life by female authors.

With these thoughts in mind, here are my three recommendations for you.

Band of Sisters By Laura Willig

I first learned about Band of Sisters, when, via Zoom, I saw the author, Lauren Willig, interviewed with another author at our local bookstore here in Princeton, called Labyrinth. This bookstore and our local library collaborate on many events that bring authors to town to talk about their books.

In the interview, I was particularly struck with Lauren’s comment that 90% of her research for Band of Sisters was based on primary sources, which is evidently very unusual for historical fiction writers, who usually work with secondary research material. These primary sources were the letters home and memoirs written by the real-life Band of Sisters, and are now housed at the Smith College Library.

A description of this book reads, “A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.”

I liked this book so much I chose it for a meeting of one book club I joined, where each member selects a book for the group to read, and then leads the discussion of that book..

The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights By Dorothy Wickendon

My introduction to The Agitators emerged from another book club I was able to join thanks to the Zoom format of meetings required by the Pandemic. This book club leader has a particular talent for locating interesting books.

A description of the book from the executive editor of The New Yorker reads, “A riveting, provocative, and revelatory history of abolition and women’s rights, told through the story of three women—Harriet Tubman, Frances Seward, and Martha Wright—in the years before, during and after the Civil War.”

I’m currently reading this nonfiction book with its compelling narrative style and fascinating history.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of Virginia Hall, WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy By Sonia Purnell

 In yet another book club, I was introduced to this book, where I learned about the amazing talent and courage of this amazing American woman.

The New York Times Book Review describes it perfectly, “An excellent biography… if Virginia Hall herself remains something of an enigma—a testament, perhaps, to the skills that allowed her to live in the shadows for so long—the extraordinary facts of her life are brought onto the page here with a well-judged balance of empathy and fine detail. This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down”

The biggest surprise for me in reading this book was my lack of knowledge about this woman’s historic feats.

So what books have you been reading that you would like to share?

Love to know!










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