Sally Brewster on WFAE's Charlotte Talks

Every year, Sally Brewster visits the WFAE studios to speak with Mike Collins of Charlotte Talks about Summer Reading. You can listen to the segment here, but here is a full list of the books mentioned on the show.

 

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

A finely observed, timely exploration of marriage, divorce, and the bewildering dynamics of ambition from one of the most exciting writers working today

Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.

As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place.

A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App

 

Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory: Stories by Raphael Bob-Waksburg

Written with all the scathing dark humor that is a hallmark of BoJack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg's stories will make you laugh, weep, and shiver in uncomfortably delicious recognition. In "A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion," a young couple engaged to be married is forced to deal with interfering relatives dictating the appropriate number of ritual goat sacrifices for their wedding. "Missed Connection--m4w" is the tragicomic tale of a pair of lonely commuters eternally failing to make that longed-for contact. And in "More of the You That You Already Are," a struggling employee at a theme park of dead presidents finds that love can't be genetically modified.

Equally at home with the surreal and the painfully relatable (and both at once), Bob-Waksberg delivers a killer combination of humor, romance, whimsy, cultural commentary, and crushing emotional vulnerability.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App

 

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything--everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere--even back home.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App

 

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson (July 30th Release)

From New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson, a twisting novel of domestic suspense in which a group of women play a harmless drinking game that escalates into a war of dark pasts

In this game, even winning can be deadly...

Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it--teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy's sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it's naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way--a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they're alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn't give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she's going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she's built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can't beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson's trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.

Buy it: Pre-order at Park Road Books | Pre-order the audiobook on Libro.FM 

 

Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

A chilling collection of psychological suspense and literary horror from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.

A masterful anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction, Growing Things is an exciting glimpse into Paul Tremblay's fantastically fertile imagination.

In "The Teacher," a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates' lives.

Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in "The Getaway."

In "Swim Wants to Know If It's as Bad as Swim Thinks," a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster . . . or not.

Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay's previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella "Notes from the Dog Walkers" deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil's Rock. "The Thirteenth Temple" follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts--Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, "Growing Things," a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.

From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams in startlingly original fiction that leaves us unmoored. As he lowers the sky and yanks the ground from beneath our feet, we are compelled to contemplate the darkness inside our own hearts and minds.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App

 

The Substitution Order by Martin Clark (event at store on 07/17 at 7pm)

From Martin Clark--praised by Entertainment Weekly as "our best legal-thriller writer"--comes a wickedly clever, tenderhearted, and intricately plotted novel about a hard-luck lawyer's refusal to concede defeat, even as fate, the court system, and a gang of untouchable con artists conspire against him.

Kevin Moore, once a high-flying Virginia attorney, hits rock bottom after an inexplicably tumultuous summer leaves him disbarred and separated from his wife. Short on cash and looking for work, he lands in the middle of nowhere with a job at SUBstitution, the world's saddest sandwich shop. His closest confidants: a rambunctious rescue puppy and the twenty-year-old computer whiz manning the restaurant counter beside him. He's determined to set his life right again, but the troubles keep coming. And when a bizarre, mysterious stranger wanders into the shop armed with a threatening "invitation" to join a multimillion-dollar scam, Kevin will need every bit of his legal savvy just to stay out of prison. 
A remarkable tour of the law's tricks and hidden trapdoors, The Substitution Order is both wise and ingenious, a wildly entertaining novel that will keep you guessing--and rooting for its tenacious hero--until the very last page.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM

 

Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott

The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he's a multi-millionaire. The press calls him "King of the Bootleggers," writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new cars for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.

Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt's bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she'd pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It's a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government--and that can only end in murder.

Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM 

 

Furious Hours by Casey Cep (event at store on 08/13 at 7pm)

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted--thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country's most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App

 

The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's Ten-Year Road Trip by Jeff Guinn

The fascinating story of two American giants--Henry Ford and Thomas Edison--whose annual summer sojourns introduced the road trip to our culture and made the automobile an essential part of modern life, even as their own relationship altered dramatically.

In 1914 Henry Ford and naturalist John Burroughs visited Thomas Edison in Florida and toured the Everglades. The following year Ford, Edison, and tire maker Harvey Firestone joined together on a summer camping trip and decided to call themselves the Vagabonds. They would continue their summer road trips until 1925, when they announced that their fame made it too difficult for them to carry on.

Although the Vagabonds traveled with an entourage of chefs, butlers, and others, this elite fraternity also had a serious purpose: to examine the conditions of America's roadways and improve the practicality of automobile travel. Cars were unreliable and the roads were even worse. But newspaper coverage of these trips was extensive, and as cars and roads improved, the summer trip by automobile soon became a desired element of American life.

In The Vagabonds Jeff Guinn shares the story of this pivotal moment in American history. But he also examines the important relationship between the older Edison and the younger Ford, who once worked for the famous inventor. The road trips made the automobile ubiquitous and magnified Ford's reputation, even as Edison's diminished. The automobile had come of age and it would transform the American landscape, the American economy, and the American way of life.

Guinn brings to life this seminal moment when a new industry created a watershed cultural shift and a famous businessman became a prominent political figure. The Vagabonds is a wonderful story of two American giants and the transformation of the country.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App

 

Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever (event at store on 08/14 at 7pm)

When Steven Spielberg released Jaws in the summer of 1975, his adaptation of Peter Benchley's novel forever type-cast sharks as bloodthirsty man-eaters. But, as we all worried whether it was safe to go back into the water, we failed to notice that while sharks account fewer than four human fatalities per year, humans needlessly kill 100 million sharks per year, which has made the species vulnerable for the first time in its existence and put the future of the world's oceans at risk.

At once a deep-dive into the misunderstood world of sharks--specifically, great whites, makos, hammerheads, and tigers--and an urgent call to protect them, Emperors of the Deep tells the true story about the ocean's most mysterious, most misunderstood, and most important guardians. From the family-friendly waters of Cape Cod to the coral reefs of the Central Pacific, where great whites mysteriously congregate every fall in what scientists refer to as Burning Man for white sharks, Safeguard the Seas founder William McKeever introduces us to scientists, conservationists, and world-renowned shark experts who have started unlocking the species' most closely guarded secrets. He also profiles activists around the world fighting to protect sharks and infiltrates a mako-only shark tournament in Montauk to figure out why fishermen continue to hunt them despite their declining numbers. And, to get a close-up view of these underwater emperors and empresses, he enters freely into their world, encountering the 420-million-yeard-old species that continues to capture our imagination.

A rollicking, eye-opening underwater adventure, Emperors of the Deep will shift our perception of sharks from coldblooded underwater predators to evolutionary marvels that play an integral part in maintaining the health of the world's oceans.

Buy it: Order at Park Road Books | Listen to it on Libro.FM | Read it as an e-book using the Hummingbird My Must Reads App