Sheridan Road picks four unique and local beach reads for the dog days of summer.
THE GREAT BELIEVERS
The stunning third novel from award-winning author and Lake Forest resident Rebecca Makkai weaves together 1980’s Chicago and contemporary Paris to tell the story of survivors forever affected by AIDS. Makkai digs deep into the history and heart of how AIDS affected her hometown of Chicago, and the detailed research makes this poignant novel feel almost too real to be fiction. Heavy themes of governmental indifference and a broken healthcare system expose similarities to the American political and social climate of today, and the novel doesn’t shy away from big questions about redemption, tragedy, and connection. Be sure to pack some tissues in your beach bag. Available at Lake Forest Book Store and at amazon.com.
THE FURNACE GIRL
A coming-of-age historical fiction novel set in 1920’s Lake Bluff delves into a local mystery—what really happened to 30-year-old Elfrieda Knaak. This stranger-than-fiction story is told through the eyes of 12-year-old Griff Morgan, a young orphan boy, whose harrowing journey makes him an accidental witness to what still remains one of the most puzzling, unsolved crimes of the early 1900s. A debut project for life-long Lake Bluffer Kraig Moreland and the first collaborative effort and foray into historical fiction for Toby Jones, this novel will keep you on the edge of your beach chair. Available at amazon.com.
In a luxe read with weighty questions at its center, debut novelist Laura Holtz’s Warm Transfer breaks into the new media landscape forged by the #MeToo movement with a story of self-discovery, newfound joy, and reinvention. Tamsen Peel isn’t happy in her marriage. Issues ranging from the run-of-the-mill to the run-for-the-hills plague her relationship with high-powered advertising executive Victor. Amid their lavish lifestyle in the uppermost echelon of Chicago elites, Tamsen has lost her sense of identity and hope for the future. Enter an attractive and thoughtful young musician hired to give guitar lessons to the Peels’ special needs son, and Tamsen is ushered into the Warm Transfer she needed but didn’t know she wanted. Available at amazon.com.
Beat the end of summer restlessness with Donna Bozzo’s Fidget Busters 50 Ways To Keep Kids Busy While You Get Things Done. The Winnetka/Kenilworth mom is known for sharing her ideas for family fun on TV shows in Chicago, across the country, and as a TODAY Show contributor. Her second book helps parents occupy and focus fidgety hands. It is full of easy-peasy DIY sensory play including fidget spinners, slime, and other sensory fun to help calm anxieties, improve concentration and keep kids happily occupied. In an age where children have ample amounts of screen time—gooey, stretchy, and bumpy projects are a fun, educational way to engage their senses. Available at Lake Forest Book Store (in September), Barnes and Noble, and at amazon.com.