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What I'm Reading This Summer

Dear Readers,

As you’ll soon discover, my taste in books is pretty eclectic. At the moment I’m reading the latest installment in the Ruth Galloway mystery series by Elly Griffiths. The series has many of the things I love to read about – archeology, a female lead who is slightly plump (what a relief!) and brilliant (of course) and it’s set on the starkly beautiful salt marshes of Norfolk. If you’re going to dive in, start with Book 1, “The Crossing Places.” You won’t regret it.

Also on my reading list this spring and summer are: “The Dictionary of Lost Words “by Pip Williams, “Shrine of Gaiety” by Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell’s latest book, “The Marriage Portrait.”

My favorite book of 2022 was O’Farrell’s “Hamnet,” which explores the lesser known aspects of Shakespeare’s domestic life. At the heart of the book is his wife Agnes, better known as Anne Hathaway, a woman much maligned by Shakespeare’s male acolytes as the older woman who trapped him into loveless marriage, a theory for which – surprise, surprise - there appears to be little in the way of evidence.

The Agnes Hathaway O’Farrell portrays is anything but the burdensome older wife. She is, instead, a healer, a wisewoman and Shakespeare’s match in every way – sexually, intellectually and emotionally. It’s an incandescent portrait of a forgotten woman, a marriage and how loss can draw us closer together or tear us apart.

So, that’s my reading list and recommendations. Let me know what you’re reading so that I can expand my list!

“Drawing on Maggie O'Farrell's long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare's most enigmatic play, Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.”

“In 1901, the word ‘Bondmaid’ was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.”

Shrine of Gaiety, By Kate Atkinson: “In a country still recovering from the Great War, London is the focus for a delirious nightlife. In Soho clubs, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time…There, Nellie Coker is a ruthless ruler…”

More on Book One, "The Crossing Places," by Elly Griffiths: “Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties and lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants—not quite earth, not quite sea. But her routine days of digging up bones and other ancient objects are harshly upended when a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach.”


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