Must reads of the summer

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Gayle Shanks is the co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstore. Shanks joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the must reads of the summer. Summertime is always a great time to catch up on a good book, whether that is by the pool or at the lake.

Books to look for this summer:

  • “The Covenant of Water” was written by Abraham Verghese, who Shanks said is a doctor by day and an author in his spare time. Shanks said if there is one book she could recommend to be read this summer, it would be “The Covenant of Water.” The novel spans over the years 1900 to 1977 and is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, which follows three generations of a family that has had at least one person die by drowning in every family generation. A 12-year-old girl from a Christian community who lost her father becomes a child bride to a 40-year-old man. The girl evolves through experiences while facing loss and difficulties and go on to live a remarkable life.
  • “Enter Ghost” was written by Isabella Hammad, a Palestinian woman. Shanks said the book is another favorite of hers. It is about a group of theater actors trying to put on Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet.” The setting is in the West Bank of Palestine where everyone lives under Israeli occupation. Shanks said the book gives an inside look on how actors work together to create a play, and the book is brilliantly written by the author. “She is a wonderful storyteller,” Shanks said about the author.
  • “The Postcard” was written by Anne Berest and is partially set during the Holocaust, according to Shanks. The book is considered nonfiction mixed with fiction and a bit of mystery. In the book, the Berest family receives an anonymous postcard with the names of family members written on it. The postcard has the names of Berest’s maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacque who happened to be killed in Auschwitz. The book discusses what it means to have familial ties to the Holocaust and coming to terms with it in the present time. Shanks said the book is a deep and worthwhile summer read.
  • “Mrs. Queen Takes the Train” was written by William Kuhn and is a funny, fictional book about London’s Queen Elizabeth feeling bored and deciding to dress undercover and spend a day in her kingdom. In the setting of the book, the Queen is about 70 years old, and Princess Diana has just died. The Queen gets on a train to Scotland and meets the common people who are wonderful to her and buy her drinks and food, but they don’t know who she is. “It’s wonderful and the writing is absolutely terrific. I just loved it,” Shanks said.
  • “Thank You for Listening” was written by Julia Whelan who is a former actress. In the book, Sewanee Chester finds success from the inside of a sound booth as an audio book narrator, which allows her to be her grandmother’s caregiver. Chester meets a stranger and has an unexpected, wonderful time with him. And Chester begins to dare to dream again.

Gayle Shanks, Co-Owner of Changing Hands Bookstore

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