Best-selling author Maeve Binchy specializes in heartwarming stories about life in small-town Ireland. One of her best-known novels, Circle of Friends, was turned into a movie starring Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell. Her current book, Minding Frankie, tells the tale of the oddball family that forms to take care of a baby girl after her mother dies. Binchy’s upcoming book, A Week in Winter, will be released the first week of Oct. 2012.
Holidays mean there is actually time to read, time to enjoy getting lost in a book rather than feeling guilty that we really ought to be doing something else.
1. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, $16
If you haven’t read this then you’re in for a real treat. It’s a story that just grabs you and won’t let you go. Philip Ashley has a beautiful cousin called Rachel. Is she a scheming murderer or a faithful loving woman? You won’t know until the last pages, but you will spend the entire book changing your mind about her. Written over 60 years ago, it is still as fresh as a daisy and well worth re-reading.
2. Live Wire by Harlan Coben, $11
Another great tale about the laid-back sports agent Myron Bolitar, who sets out to find why someone on the internet is claiming that a tennis star’s baby is not her husband’s while she insists that it is. On his journey to find out who is doing this, and why, Myron meets a hugely colourful underworld and, as always, deals with enemies in his unfussed, languid signature style.
3. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro, $20
I think any Alice Munro book is a holiday essential. She is astounding at lifting the reader right into the world she is describing. I’d choose this particular collection of short stories because it’s so varied. You can be in Russia for one story and some awful imprisoning, achingly dull town in the next. All of the settings and the people are utterly real and convincing.
4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, $30
Amy goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary. Her husband Nick is trying to track her down and the police think that he was very much involved. Every second chapter is an extract from Amy’s diary before the event, but there are lots of differences between what Amy writes and what Nick says. Who is telling the truth?