Community: Pick Your Own Adventure
What kind of summer read are you craving? An addictive thriller? A compelling tale of Charleston history? Classic chick lit? This season, local authors have served up something for everyone—check out five of our top picks.
America’s Longest Siege, by Joseph Kelly (The Overlook Press, July 2013, $28)
This is a history book through and through, but Joseph Kelly, a literature professor at the College of Charleston, writes with a lyricism that’ll entrance any reader interested in the United States’ past. Kelly uses the Union’s nearly two-year siege of Charleston, which began in 1863, as the framework for exploring a different kind of siege: the institution of slavery on the American South. Learn about events from early slave rebellions to the Nullification Crisis to secession as Kelly explains the mix of ingredients that put Charleston at the center of the debate over slavery.
The Widow’s Strike, by Brad Taylor (Dutton, July 2013, $27)
Brad Taylor has hit the New York Times Best Sellers list with each of the first three novels in his Pike Logan series. Perhaps it’s because as a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces, he writes about what he knows. This time, Pike and Jennifer, his partner on an extralegal counterterrorism unit called Taskforce, are racing to prevent the release of a deadly virus mutation that could lead to a global pandemic. Their trek to the U.S. across Southeast Asia will make any lazy summer day a thriller.
Duel of the Heart, by Rose Moore Tomlin (Evening Post Books, June 2013, $23)
Theodosia Burr Alston’s life balanced precariously between two powerful men in early American politics: her controversial father, Aaron Burr, and her husband, Joseph Alston, a wealthy planter who would become South Carolina’s governor. She herself was a prodigy who received a level of education at that time virtually unheard of for women. In this easy-reading tale, Tomlin follows Theodosia from age 10—when her mother died—to her difficult transition into life as mistress of a rice plantation, and finally to her untimely death.
QUALITY CHICK LIT
The Summer Girls, by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, June 2013, $16)
Setting the stage for this quintessential beach read—the first in Monroe’s “The Lowcountry Summer” trilogy—is our own Sullivan’s Island, where 80-year-old society matron Marietta Muir gathers her three grown granddaughters for a final summer at the family beach house. As Marietta works to reunite siblings driven apart by secrets and tragedy, the girls make discoveries about sisterhood—and themselves—finding a little romance along the way.
Garden of Bliss, by Debra Moffitt (Llewellyn, May 2013, $17)
Go soul searching with a tome that’s subtitled “Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery.” Moffitt, an author and teacher who leads workshops on writing and spirituality in the U.S. and Europe, traces her own journey, which began on the French Riviera, where she found herself feeling empty in spite of a luxurious lifestyle. Along the way, she invites readers to nurture their “secret garden”—a place where one can connect with emotions, trust insights, and rediscover peace. “Like Eat, Pray, Love without the whine!” says author Janna McMahan.