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Bar Method Book Club: Top 5 Summer Reads
Summer is upon us, which means we might finally have some time to ourselves to indulge in a good book by the pool, beach, or in the backyard. We have handpicked this special reading list just for you, all written by authors within our Bar Method community. That’s right, every book on our list was written by one of our members!
We have an emotionally charged story about immigration and infertility; historical fiction set on the beautiful coast of Nantucket; a sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships; a love story with a number of unexpected twists that take you on a tour of Los Angeles and make you think twice about the power of technology; and finally an unfiltered guide to being a bride from famous, funny gal Jaime King! Read the reviews below and click the book cover to pick up your copy on Amazon. Happy Reading!
1. Lucky Boy by Shanti Sekaran (Berkeley, CA)
Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.
Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. As Kavya learns to be a mother–the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being–she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.
Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory. https://www.shanthisekaran.com/
2. The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable (Solana Beach, CA)
Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family’s Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she s purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave.
The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home’s definitive guestbook, and Bess herself. Bess’s grandmother always said it was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother s words in ways she never contemplated. http://michellegable.com/
3. The Things We Tell Ourselves by Victoria Namkung (Los Angeles, CA)
When a young writer enters into an affair with a charming foreign correspondent, she has no idea that an uncharacteristic moment of spontaneity will change her life forever.
Twenty-two-year-old Georgina Park dreams of being a hard-hitting journalist, but to pay the bills she’s covering the red carpet for a celebrity magazine. Her world is turned upside down when a chance meeting with Simon Grant, an Australian TV reporter who is 20 years her senior€”and married€”leads to an intense, sexually charged relationship that continues even after he returns home to Sydney. But when some compromising photos from Georgina’s past come back to haunt her years later, it appears Simon is to blame. Now a prolific newspaper columnist and college instructor, Georgina must use her investigative reporting skills to save herself€”and revisit the affair that started it all.
Set in Los Angeles, The Things We Tell Ourselves takes readers from the klieg lights of Hollywood to the dark corners of the Internet, exploring love, marriage and technology along the way. At its heart, the novel is a literary examination of the damage one generation can inflict on the next and the compromises we make between our ideals and life’s realities, between what we desire and doing the right thing. http://victorianamkung.com/
4. Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki (Berkeley, CA)
High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage son, Seth. S performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady.
But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family. Meanwhile, S is protecting secrets of her own, about her real motivation for taking the job. S and Lady are both playing a careful game, and every move they make endangers the things they hold most dear. http://www.edanlepucki.com/
5. Weddiculous by Jamie Lee (Los Angeles, CA)
Weddings. What was once a beautiful celebration of a couple coming together for a lifetime of happiness has become a dizzying maze of planning minutiae that might tempt you to say yes to a quickie drive-through chapel in Vegas. The good news is that they don’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to give in to the crazy and seemingly ridiculous. Comedian and Girl Code star Jamie Lee learned much more than she counted on pulling together her own wedding, and in Weddiculous, she shares her first-hand experiences and hilarious hard-won insights for every girl who just said “yes.”
Putting the madness into perspective, Jamie will walk you through the planning process step-by-step in a calm, realistic, and highly entertaining way. Weddiculous includes helpful checklists, timelines, and suggestions on everything from what questions to ask vendors to how to handle difficult bridesmaids to what’s worth the extra cost (and more importantly, what’s not). Throughout, Jamie provides guidance on when you should trust your gut and when you may want to listen to others.
What Amy Sedaris has done for hospitality and crafting, Jamie Lee now does for weddings. Weddiculous will help keep you calm and focused on what’s really important about your wedding day. http://www.weddiculousbook.com/jamie-lee/