Favorite Books I’ve Read This Season by Andrea Thalasinos

In this special post for BestsellersWorld, Andrea Thalasinos, author of Traveling Light and An Echo Through the Snow, shares her favorite books of the season.

Favorite books I’ve read this season:

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye, (ArcaMax Publishing, 2012). All the right elements for me: Northshore of Lake Superior, historical struggle of people against the elements–a gritty tale of friendship, love, survival. Geye’s been referred to as the Hemmingway of the Northland and I think that may be true. The characters are so strongly developed in conjunction with the harsh landscape in Gunflint, Minnesota during the 1890s it made me ache to learn of the struggle of some of the Norwegian and other immigrant peoples. A masterful tale for all who love the history of the north.

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, (HarperCollins, 2011). Leave it to one of my favorite authors to knock me off balance yet again. Continental Drift blew me away, Rule of the Bone too, but who would have thought that a richly drawn portrayal of a colony of convicted sex offenders living under the overpass of an interstate highway in Florida would engender such humanity and gut-wrenching compassion that’s so characteristic of Banks’ writing. As in so many of his characters, they are debased into circumstances where life has brought them to their knees, only to soon discover that labels and (in this story) even a conviction are never what they seem.

The Snow Child by Eowy Ivey, (Hachette Book Group, 2012). A beautifully new take on the classic Russian Fairy Tale: The Snow Child. I got lost in the beauty of the snowy north country of this magical place, Alaska 1920, where a couple yearning for children of their own suddenly have a girl mysteriously appear one day outside their window. The couple is drawn to love and care for this child who eventually ushers in joy on the wings of sorrow.

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, (March 26, 2013, Random House). Strout is one of my favorite authors. “Amy and Isabelle,” and the iconic “Olive Kitteridge. And

While I found this at times a moving story of family dysfunction, several more times I found myself wanting to give each family member a good, hard smack to make them cut it out or else go to their respective rooms. A good, fast read, but miss the depth of “Amy and Isabelle” (my all time favorite of Strouts) and the snappy, cutting truth of Olive Ketteridge (which gave me hope for the middle age cry of “I ain’t dead yet.”)

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, (2012, HarperCollins). This book had me from the start. The main character, a too young mom married to the wrong guy, wrong circumstance, fixing to get into a whole lot of marital trouble, I loved it. The butterflies, the description of the forests and this rare event was amazing. But my interest waned once the preachy environmentalism began. I have to be careful of this in my own work. But overall, was beautifully written and compelling as all her work is. Would recommend it in a second—her characters made me laugh out loud.

travelinglightBelow please find some details about Traveling Light:

Paula Makaikis is ashamed of her marriage. Driven out of their bedroom by Roger’s compulsive hoarding, she has spent the past ten years sleeping downstairs on her husband’s ratty couch. Distant and uninspired, Paula is more concerned with the robins landing on her office window ledge than her hard-earned position at the university. Until a phone call changes everything.

A homeless Greek man is dying in a Queens hospital and Paula is asked to come translate. The old man tells her of his beloved dog, Fotis, who bit a police officer when they were separated. Paula has never considered adopting a dog, but she promises the man that she will rescue Fotis and find him a good home. But when Fotis enters her life she finds a companion she can’t live without. Suddenly Paula has a dog, a brand-new Ford Escape, an eight-week leave of absence, and a plan.

So Fotis and Paula begin the longest drive of their lives. In northern Minnesota, something compels her to answer a help-wanted ad for a wildlife rehabilitation center. Soon Paula is holding an eagle in her hands, and the experience leaves her changed forever.

Traveling Light explores what is possible when we cut the ties that hold us down and the heart is free to soar.

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