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Five Books to Welcome Autumn

By Pam Lamp September 24, 2021 Lifestyle

As summer ends and kids head back to school, I remember the days when I’d prepare for my new grade. I loved covering my textbooks with brown paper, organizing my pencil case, arranging outfit combinations, and labeling my folders and notebooks. I was all set to learn. 

Today, through books – although I’d place myself in at least the 50th grade! – I’m still anxious to learn all I can.

Whether you choose to explore Arab culture, an unfamiliar city, the authoring process, or a medical residency, I hope you find a book in this list that intrigues you. 

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

Two thumbs up for this beautiful book. 

Raised in Brooklyn by Palestinian immigrants, the author was often told, “A woman is no man.” Her uneducated mother, subject to domestic abuse, stayed home with nine children. At age 19, Ms. Rum experienced an arranged marriage – without love.

Many women in her culture grew up learning life was all about finding a husband and keeping him happy. 

In her debut novel, Ms. Rum paints a semi-autobiographical portrait of female inferiority in some Arab households. The powerful story weaves the lives of three generations of women who fought to break the cycle of arranged marriages, poverty, and domestic abuse. 

Amid the recent turmoil and despair in Afghanistan, this was the perfect read to show how women sometimes find themselves trapped in the culture that reared them.

The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel

In 1960s Sydney, when a woman’s destiny was to find a husband and keep house, Blaise Hill is determined to succeed in a man’s world. Supporting her parents and polio-stricken sister, Blaise breaks into the newspaper business. She is the lone woman in a newsroom filled with swaggering men.

Her strength, persistence, opinions, and skills earn her a plum assignment in the London office. As she covers the comings and goings of the royal family, readers devour a delicious mix of fashion, culture, and history. Throw in a love triangle (however predictable) with two successful and dashing gentlemen to make a delightful read.

The Editor by Steven Rowley

We can’t fix our problems by hiding from them.

James, a struggling writer, crafts a semi-autobiographical novel centered around a mother/son dysfunctional relationship. When he sells his book to a New York City publishing house, the most famous editor in town comes with the package. 

Although this book is fiction, I enjoyed reading about the author process and what Jackie O’s life may have been like as an editor. 

In its early stages, the novel seemed a bit silly and somewhat blundering to me. I asked a book-loving friend if I should keep going. “Yes,” she said. “I loved it.”

I trusted her, and so I continued. And I’m glad I did. Twentieth Century has purchased the film rights, and the movie should be a fun one. 

Committed by Adam Stern

Full disclosure – I have not read this book. Yet. It’s in my pile. But Cindy, my favorite book expert, raves about it. And I trust her opinions. 

This non-fiction pick centers around a psychiatrist and his four years as a Harvard medical resident. Unlike most residents who entered Harvard’s program from high-profile medical schools, the author studied at a lesser-known university. “He worked hard to find his footing and feel like he belonged,” says Cindy. 

According to Cindy, this fascinating tale gives readers a glimpse into the rigors of the residency world. Stern shares stories of the grueling psychiatric training, emotional relationships, and value of human connection. 

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

After sprinting through this novel, it’s easy to see why many refer to Ms. Williams as “the queen of historical fiction.” 

After the author vacationed on Fishers Island, off the coast of Long Island, she reflected on the relationships between the year-round, working residents and the privileged people who spent summers there. Those thoughts – and culture – propelled her to craft the story of Winthrop Island, a sleepy New England enclave, and its diverse inhabitants.

In development for television, The Summer Wives has appeared on various best book lists since its publication in 2018. 

If you haven’t read Williams’ Her Last Flight, I recommend it. And I look forward to picking up Our Woman in Moscow and, coming soon, The Wicked Widow. 

Do you have a favorite character or geographical setting in a book? Any book you’d like to see made into a movie? What are you reading now?

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The Author

Pamela Lamp is the author of Do the Next New Thing. At Who I Met Today, a blog and podcast, she interviews people from all walks of life. Through conversations about health, hobbies, books, food, and travel, she invites you to join her, explore uncharted territory, and expand your horizons.

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