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Read My Mind ©

Nov 27, 2016 01:12PM ● By Michael Harris

With over 300,000 books published in the U.S. this year, even I can’t read all of them. But I did read some good ones you may have missed.


Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love answers that age-old question: “What does it mean to live happily ever after?" This beautifully told love story follows Rabih and Kristen from the first inklings of infatuation, through the inevitable disappointments of any relationship, and finally to the realization that "love is in essence a skill we need to learn.” As with many marriages, there are times when couples "want to murder one another… and kill themselves." Surviving all of marriage’s’ challenges is “the real love story." Both men and women will enjoy this tender and moving story.


Emma Cline’s formidable debut novel, The Girls, “traces the blameless dream of California in the late ‘60s." In 1969, fourteen-year-old Evie Boyd joins a cult that engages in free love, murder, and mayhem. If this founds familiar, it should since it’s leader Russell and his followers will remind you of Charles Manson and his ragtag minions. Even though I lived through the Manson case, Evie’s story and Cline’s insightful writing captivated me in this “complex story of girlhood, violence, and the psychology of cults.”


Jeffrey Toobin's American Heiress is “The Wild Saga Of The Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial Of Patty Hearst.” In 1974, the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty, an heiress to the Hearst publishing fortune. Through what some call "the Stockholm Syndrome," Patty became a member of the SLA named "Tania.” Videotape captured a machine gun toting Patty robbing a San Francisco bank. Willing participant or victim, Patty's crimes, "year on the lam,” and trial make compelling reading.


After You is JoJo Moyes’ sequel to her bestseller Me Before You. Louisa Clark is now on her own and struggling to make sense of her life. She's unhappy in her meaningless job and starving for companionship. She finds other damaged souls and a new love through a support group. Without giving away the ending to this touching story, Louisa must choose between a new man in her life and a new career. If you liked Me Before You, you will take delight in After You.


The latest book of Pulitzer Prize winning humorist Dave Barry is The Worst Class Trip Ever. We join Wyatt and his Culver Middle School eighth-grade classmates in a hilarious class romp that begins with their flight from Miami to Washington DC and ends in a most surprising way. On the flight, Wyatt and his pals become suspicious of two foreigners who have aerial photos of the White House and a small electronic device. Told from Wyatt's standpoint, their escapade includes kidnappings and a potential assassination. It’s a fun read for kids and parents. I laughed so hard I can hardly wait to go on Dave Barry's next class trip!


In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we catch up with Harry and his children 19 years after Harry defeated Lord Voldemort. Life is not easy for the Potter family as Harry takes on the responsibilities as the head of the Ministry of Magic and youngest son Albus "struggles with the weight” of his father’s legacy. Written in the form of a screenplay, this story is as enthralling as the previous Harry Potter books.


Other “good books” include Alan Furst’s A Hero For France, a story of the French resistance during World War II, and Dominic Smith's The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, a fascinating novel about the Renaissance’s most renowned female artist and her most famous masterpiece. Enjoy!