If books were balloons, Elaine Newton, the reviewer for Artis — Naples, would have soared over the earth during the entire pandemic quarantine.
Even with pleasure.
However, she should have come down to add the insatiable reading she did to her summer book list, which has become a staple for readers from southwest Florida.
“It’s been a terrible year. But it’s been a great year for literature. And it’ll be even better next year,” said Newton, whose summer reading list, published through Artis-Naples, is being circulated everywhere by fans from southwest Florida the world. Newton served as a book critic and lecturer for Artis-Naples for more than 30 years, and while the upcoming entertainment season had not yet been announced, Newton would easily be ready.
The coming year is particularly promising because while she has time to read, authors have time to write. Anthony Doerr (“All The Light We Cannot See”), Colm Tóibín (“Brooklyn”), Elizabeth Strout (“Olive Kitteridge”) are among the new releases this fall, and Newton is happy: “There are some wonderful ones coming, wonderful books out. “
Plan for next year:2022 Nick Linn Lecture Series in Collier County with Scott Turow, Kristin Harmel
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Some wonderful books were also published in 2020 when events at Artis — Naples, including their talks on the best current reading, were canceled. So Newton pocketed a list of works from last season that she thought readers shouldn’t miss.
“I was afraid that some of the best books had got into the cracks because they didn’t have a series of lectures. So I offered it. Personally, it’s the best I’ve read, ”she said.
Here is this list:
“A Children’s Bible”: Lydia millet. Described by the Washington Post critic as “a glowing little classic, ‘Lord of the Flies’ for a generation of young people on their own on their parents’ rapidly warming planet”.
“Anxious People”: By Fredrik Backman as he goes through the revelations about the lives of eight people who were held hostage in an apartment by a would-be bank robber.
“Deacon King Kong”: James McBride. Researching the effects of a church deacon shooting a local drug dealer on everyone around them, from witnesses to residents of the shabby neighborhood to investigating police.
“Dear Edward”: Anna Napolitano. The story of a 12-year-old plane crash survivor who grew up feeling like a part of him was lost with the passengers on this plane – and that he somehow has to recapture the rest of himself.
“Home Elegies”: Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer-winning writer and actor, tells the story of an immigrant father and son in their new and sometimes troubling American world. For those who like audiobooks, Newton pointed out that this one is read by Akhtar himself.
‘Leave the world behind “: Rumaan Alam. Depicts a vague disaster that leaves two families prisoners of their rural Airbnb. They are unable to fathom the specifics of the widespread chaos, nor are they able to do more than cope with the human role of a typical vacation. But something has to change.
“The star donor”: Jojo Moyes. It has caused some controversy because it was published at the same time and on the same subjects as another book on Kentucky’s circling “packhorse” librarians of the 1930s. Moyes’ version tells the story of these dedicated women in a personal way.
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“The Midnight Library”: Matt Haig. This fantasy takes a young woman into a library full of books from her life and shows her what would happen if she had changed direction.
“The Paris Library”: Janet Karl. A young French woman who works at the American Library of Paris is nervously dodging World War II, delivering books to Jewish patrons, and examining the fate of her world when the Nazis take the city.
“The Vanishing Half”: Brit Bennet. The story of fair-skinned Afro-American twins who flee their small-town life together but develop into people with different personalities around the world. In essence, however, they are still related.
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“A Gambler”: David Baldacci. Newton said she doesn’t pick many action bestseller books because of their similarities. But this story of an apprentice detective who finds rubber shoe walking in Hollywood much worse – and potentially more deadly – “just held out,” she admitted.
“A City Called Consolation”: Mary Lawson. The broken lives of three people who find themselves unexpected neighbors, confidants and amateur analysts.
“Exit baby”: Torrey Peters. The unusual but utterly compelling triangle of a trans man, the woman who loved him in his feminine form, and a baby on the path of indiscretion after being rejected by his true love.
“Good company”: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. An exploration of unfulfilled dreams and unstable relationships between two married actors and their gentrified Hollywood girlfriend.
“Big Circle”: Maggie Shipstead. The story of a female aviator who cannot be thwarted in her adventure dreams, superimposed on one another, of an actress who is looking for a strong role and who will play this female aviator a hundred years after her disappearance.
“Hamnet”: Maggie O’Farrell.As the winner of the women’s award for fiction, “Hamnet” takes us into the grief of a woman whose son dies of bubonic plague. There is more than temporary significance to those of us who have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the difference between us and Agnes that some variations would carry over to Anne is that she has to fight the plague with her 16th century knowledge while her younger husband, a guy named Will, performs his plays in London.
“How beautiful we were”: Imbolo Mbue. A young woman, stimulated by the slow poisoning of her village by an American oil company and the effects of her rebellion, becomes a US student to learn how to open the corporate cage.
“Klara and the Sun”: Kazuo Ishiguro. This story begins in an emotionally bleak future landscape in which Klara, who was created as an artificial friend, is chosen by a young girl with a debilitating disease. We see her human friend Josie and everyone around her through the analyzing and hopeful intelligence of Klara.
“Freedom”: Kaitlyn Greenidge. Despite their name, Liberties grow up with chains – their own admiration for their doctor mother, the nightmares of slavery in the patient that their mother cannot cure, Liberties honeymoon in Haiti. Will she escape?
“Chandelier”:Raven Leilani. A blunt and darkly comical story of the woman who has almost nothing and who is out to endanger what is left; you golden boy lover; his wife, who actually befriends her, and their adopted African American daughter.
“Nobody talks about it”: Patricia Lockwood. In a kind of out-of-novel experience, the story takes on the views of an internet miracle that is also drawn into the real world of her sister’s terminally ill child.
“Of women and salt”: Gabriela Garcia. This amalgamation of history with modern family endeavors highlights the determination of women from Cuba. It’s “a topic that has gone off our radar lately and is well worth reading,” Newton said.
“The divorce”: César Aira. This chance meeting novel tumbles over relationships and connects something like a magic chain that begins when a man goes on a quiet solo vacation after his divorce.
“The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue”: VE Schwab. If you have a wish that nobody remembers you, anything you can do, learns Addie La Rue. But sometimes the most important thing is not doing, but being.
“The Heartiest Lie”: Nancy Johnson. When a young black woman insists on returning to her remote town to find the son she had to give up as a teenager, she finds much more than she does in a family that has kept a number of secrets over the years expected.
“The plot”: Jean Hanif Korelitz. A faded writer withdraws a conspiracy from the dead student who never finished his bestseller. But after the story actually becomes a bestseller, the new, enthusiastic re-author receives an ominous email accusing him of theft.
“The Rose Code”: Kate Quinn. An unusual premise of three World War II Bletchley Park code breakers reluctantly reuniting to crack one final code after a major break. But with every key they unlock, even more danger lurks.
“Trio”: William Boyd. It’s the 1960s and we’re making a movie in Brighton. But strangers or even friends on film projects find out more about their employees than they really wanted to know. Part of this expanding knowledge base is incredible; some of it is incredibly fun.
“We start at the end”: Chris Whitaker. A hybrid of a crime thriller and character study, the plot is driven by a 13-year-old girl determined to solve the crime.
“When the stars get dark”: Paula McClain. A detective who has returned to quiet Mendocino for vacation is embroiled in a grim search for a young murder victim from whom she tried to escape. But this case has a historical ring to Anna Hart. Growing up here, another unsolved murder rocked the city.
“Abode”: Jhumpa Lahir. Place by place, the central figure of this book takes stock of what led them to their lonely existence and how they imagine how their fellow human beings deal with it.
Harriet Howard Heithaus reports on arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News / naplesnews.com. You can reach them at 239-213-6091.