By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Palisadian-Post collected a number of book recommendations and creations from community members as the summer dwindles down into its final weeks—ranging from novels and coloring books, to children’s books and more.
“The Maytrees” by Annie Dillard
“The Maytrees” is American author Annie Dillard’s second novel. Published in 2007, the work of fiction follows Toby Maytree and Lou Bigelow in post-war Provincetown, Massachusetts. Maytree, a Provincetown native and poet, courts Bigelow just out of college.
“In this moving novel, Dillard intimately depicts willed bonds of loyalty, friendship and abiding love,” according to a description of the novel.
This is one of Huntington resident Laura Schneider’s must-reads.
“This was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in quite some time,” Schneider shared. “It’s set on the tip of Cape Cod, and the language Annie Dillard uses to describe the area was so evocative that I felt like I’d spent a summer there. This is a book about all of the big themes: love, betrayal and death. But it’s such an unexpected story that I found myself turning pages like I was reading a mystery. I was genuinely a little heartbroken to finish it, but I know I’ll read it again.”
“The Soul of an Octopus” by Sy Montgomery
Sy Montgomery is a naturalist, documentary script writer and author of numerous non-fiction books for adults and children. In “The Soul of an Octopus,” Montgomery explores the “emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans,” according to her website.
“The Soul of an Octopus” is another of Laura Schneider’s recommendations to the community.
“I don’t generally read non-fiction but I heard Sy Montgomery interviewed on a podcast and she completely captivated me with her enthusiasm, respect and fascination for this creature that I’d never much considered except as a tasty appetizer,” Schneider explained. “As it turns out, Octopuses (never Octopi) are intelligent, curious and quite capable of recognizing humans and forming connections with them—despite the fact that they are about as alien a species as one can imagine. This is a lively story and an eloquent reminder to continue to seek the commonality in all of the creatures around us.”
“Together Again” and “Cottagecore Coloring” by Sophiya Ichida Sweet
Local author, illustrator and Palisades Charter High School alumna Sophiya Ichida Sweet announced that she published two books over the last year: “Together Again” and “Cottagecore Coloring.”
Sweet told the Post she created “Together Again” with the hopes of helping children who missed their loved ones during a tough year, following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The book was published in May 2020.
“Throughout safer at home, I’ve missed my friends dearly, as I’m sure everyone has,” Sweet shared on Instagram. “I’ve been working hard writing, illustrating and publishing my new children’s book ‘Together Again,’ a story of friendship and hope, to keep anyone who feels far away from their loved ones dreaming of a better and brighter future ahead.”
She recommended the story to those who seek “a fun little story of hope, a bedtime book to share with … younger relatives or a way to support [her] art.”
“Cottagecore Coloring” is a coloring book that contains two sets of 30 unique illustrations for individuals to immerse themselves in the forest.
Sweet said the book was created recently in celebration of all things “cottage core,” including picnics, flowers and more. She drew inspiration from the gardens she sees on her daily walks around her neighborhood, and hopes it provides some stress-relieving coloring for people of all ages. The book was released on Saturday, July 10.
“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
“Station Eleven” is Emily St. John Mandel’s fourth novel, published in 2014. The novel is set in the Great Lakes region before and after a fictional pandemic known as the “Georgia Flu.”
Local author Laura Diamond recommended Mandel’s apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novel to the community.
“I had been reluctant to delve into this ‘dystopian’ novel when it came out in 2014,” Diamond said. “When I finally did, after a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, I sank deeply into this creative, mesmerizing imagination of a post-pandemic world … on a positive side-note, St. John Mandel’s pandemic is way worse than what we have gone through this past year.”
“This Hurts More Than It Looks” by Jessica Jacobs
Young Palisadian Jessica Jacobs recently turned her passion for writing into her debut novel, “This Hurts More Than It Looks,” which was released at the end of May.
The Marquez Knolls author shared that she has been working on her freshman novel since October 2018.
“Vera Bow-Ramos is trapped under her parents’ surveillance,” according to a synopsis. “Overwhelmed from their constant scrutiny, she craves freedom. A rebellious night leads to a violent confrontation. All at once, the surveillance is cut off, and Vera is left with a groundbreaking secret her family has kept hidden.
“Vera delves into a lifestyle of playing guitar and experimenting with drugs. Tragedy strikes, and she feels alone trying to deal with its consequences. Too caught up in her change of scenery, Vera wonders if she’s lost herself within it.”
Jacobs said the publication of “This Hurts More Than It Looks” has been exciting.
“The Overstory” by Richard Powers
Locally founded environmental nonprofit Resilient Palisades and Friends of the Palisades Library recently teamed up to announce the third annual edition of Palisades Reads. This year’s selection is New York Times bestseller “The Overstory,” written by Richard Powers.
Laura Diamond, who is also involved with Friends of the Palisades Library, shared with the Post that she read the book for the first time when it was originally published, but is re-reading it this summer for Palisades Reads.
“‘The Overstory’ is a wildly imaginative series of interwoven tales that beautifully convey the urgency of climate change while being both vividly entertaining and jaw-droppingly informative,” she said. “It absolutely changed the way I see the natural world and it’s been a joy to have my perspective broadened … there is a reason it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.”
The book club event is scheduled to take place via Zoom on Wednesday, September 22, at 7 p.m. To sign up to participate, visit resilientpalisades.org/events/the-overstory.
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