One of the many things that were hard while the doors at Island Books were closed to customers was missing the chance to chat about what I’ve been reading and loving lately. I did keep reading, often as an escape from everything else. But it saddened me to see piles of certain titles that I couldn’t put in the hands of customers personally. I’ve been collecting recommendations that I am VERY excited to tell all you readers about and I hope one of them is just what you’ve been looking for this summer.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
I didn’t realize I would be getting on a national bestseller train when I read this second novel from Brit Bennett, author of the well known debut, The Mothers. All I knew was that I couldn’t put it down. I loved the writing; I loved the complexity of the characters and the story. I loved how many ways Bennett found to talk about the hidden parts of each of her characters. This is the story of twin sisters from a town so small it isn’t on any map. Beginning in the 1950s, in the Jim Crow south, Desiree and Stella have just disappeared from their community. They run away to New Orleans to make a bigger life for themselves. When Stella discovers she can “pass” as white, she takes her chance, leaving her twin behind. Years later the narrative passes to their respective daughters, and the paths their lives take. I found it fascinating. This has already been a hit with our customers, and we are working on getting more copies in soon (maybe signed ones!) so it is well worth getting your name on the list for when more come in.