Every month, many new books cross my desk. I purchase even more. These are a few that I particularly enjoyed and recommend.
“God Land” by Lyz Lenz: In surveys and polls, Maine has ranked as the least religious state in the nation. It’s an interesting contrast to middle America and — particularly — the Bible Belt, where religion is deeply interwoven into communities. In “God Land” by Lyz Lenz, we are taken on a personal and professional journey as this Christian mother of two explores why her country and marriage were irreconcilably torn apart after the 2016 election. It’s a tale of faith, politics, loss, pain and an uneasy understanding. A shorter read at 163 pages, I found this to be an eye-opening look into how people think outside the northeast. (Nonfiction)
“The Rest of the Story,” by Sarah Dessen: When Emma unexpectedly spends three weeks with her mother’s family, she finds herself delving deep into a place she doesn’t remember, a family she doesn’t know and who her late mother really was. They live at North Lake and run, a motel there. Just across the lake is Lake North, a tawny neighboring community. As Emma learns about these two places that inhabit the same lake, she also learns about her parents, herself and who she wants to be. It’s a tale of personal discovery, family and growing up. (Young adult)
“Park Avenue Summer,” by Renee Rosen: For women of a certain age, who grew up in the 80s and 90s, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t long ago that women were expected to marry, have kids and keep house — and those that didn’t were unusual. This historical novel, set in 1960s New York, follows a midwestern girl who leaves home to pursue her dream of being a photographer and lands a job working for Helen Gurley Brown, the first female editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Brown, famous for her book “Sex and the Single Girl,” took a failing magazine and reinvented it for the single working girl, while also giving young women the permission to own their sexuality. This is a fascinating look at a time when the world was changing for women — and a powerful woman who helped lead the charge. The undertones of chasing dreams, falling in love and creating your own path outside what’s expected only add to the allure of this great summer read. (Historical fiction)
— Sarah Walker Caron
SiriusXM Yacht Rock Radio
Why we love it: I wrote in the May issue that my soundtrack for May is 80s rock music. But now that it’s summer, it’s all about “Yacht Rock”. Yacht Rock Radio (Channel 70 on Sirius XM) is extremely bizarre, yet delightful. It’s basically the soundtrack to the classic Hampton Island based movie, “Weekend at Bernies” another favorite. There’s an excellent blend of soft rock tunes from the 70s and 80s from artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Toto, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, and my favorite, Kenny Loggins. It transports you to the beaches of Nantucket, Cape Cod and the Hamptons. Although the station is only available during the summer months, it’s perfect for a dance party in your car, or, if you don’t have a yacht, your back porch with a glass of wine.
— Rosemary Lausier
“The Good Witch” on Netflix
For those late nights when you just want to zone or those ridiculously hot days when you don’t want to do anything, having a show to fall into helps entertain and pass the time. Earlier this year, my kids and I fell in love with “The Good Witch,” a Hallmark show with reruns on Netflix. It’s not quite the typical formulaic show you’d expect from the channel created by a greeting card company, but it is pretty wholesome. Quaint Middleton has been home to the Cassie Nightingale’s family for generations. A family with certain gifts, they have a way of sensing when things will happen. Over the seasons of this show, there’s been intrigue, drama, family feuds and more. But somehow, everything always works out as it should. It’s a cute show — perfect for watching as a family
— Sarah Walker Caron
This was originally published in Bangor Metro’s August 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.