Book Review by Heidi Simmons

The Coachella Valley is currently filled with amazing wild flowers, beautiful butterflies and singing mockingbirds. It is officially springtime and our weather is absolutely magnificent!  Now is the time to emerge from the interior to enjoy the perfect temperatures, stunning outdoor environs and read a good book. 

Here is an eclectic variety of fiction and nonfiction work from the Penguin Random House publishing company.  These are timely suggestions that may spark your curiosity as you venture outside to relax and read in our lovely sun-drenched paradise. 

Remember, there is no guilt involved when you take time to read a book.  In fact, it is a delightful way to unwind and self-improve simultaneously.  Who would argue with that?

FICTION

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The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell

This debut novel travels back in time to a colonial African settlement where it takes over a century for the story’s folks to overcome their differences and eventually work together to form a nation.

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

The title character Chandra, seemingly has it all – respect, money, family.  But after he survives a bicycle accident, he changes his course in search of a more fulfilling life, which takes him on a journey he could never have imagined.

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

This is a short work of literary fiction by the bestselling author of The Kite Runner.  It could almost be considered a graphic novel as it is an illustrated book only 48 pages long.   

The story is about a boy who after escaping his disintegrating country makes the journey across the sea, and must now survive alone as a refugee is a strange place.  The story sheds light on the challenges of the refugee crisis.  Proceeds from the book go to organizations assisting refugees.

NONFICTION

White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century by John Oller

This is a true story of how a group of attorneys helped make American business synonymous with Big Business, and Wall Street the center of the financial world.

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire –  A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen

American history is fascinating.  It’s easy to forget that this country is less than 250 years old.  Author Andersen outlines how what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather an expression of our nation’s character.

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss

The ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote was one of the greatest political battles in American history.   Written like a thriller, the story unfolds as five women risk everything to gain a voice in the political system, take control their lives and change how history will unfold.

The Valley’s spring weather makes it just right to stretch out on a chaise lounge and engage with fresh stories, stimulating ideas or provocative characters.  There are so many wonderful books with unexpected worlds to explore, interesting people to meet and challenging insights to be gained. 

I hope this spring you find a book that piques your interest and you make time to relax and read.  Enjoy!

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