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The Vacationers by Emma Straub

A group of vaguely unpleasant rich people on a vacation to Mallorca: adulterer Jim, food writer Franny, teen daughter Sylvia and adult son Bobby are joined by Bobby's 10 years older girlfriend Carmen, Franny's best friend Charles, and his husband Lawrence on a two-week vacation where secrets are exposed and relationships are changed forever. A quick, enjoyable read; I wanted to know how things would turn out, even though the characters are relentlessly spoiled and unlikable. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts are all part of the book's appeal.

Heft by Liz Moore

Arthur Opp weights 550 pounds and hasn't left his Brooklyn Brownstone in many years. Kel Keller lives 20 miles north on the Hudson and is the poor kid in the rich school dreaming about a future as a professional baseball player. They are connected by Kel's mother, a former student of Arthur's. There are a lot of sad stories in this engaging novel, but it is not a sad book. Liz Moore adeptly spins the tale of the commonalities that bring disparate people together (and includes a serious dose of addiciton to keep it from getting too light).

This Bright River by Patrick Somerville

Two damaged thirtysomethings with mysterious back stories return to their Wisconsin home town to lick their wounds and subsequently run into each other at a local gallery opening. Flash back to their experience as two high school oddballs assigned to do a science project together. Uh huh, you can predict the ending to this one: awkwardness leads to happily ever after. But not so fast. This suspenseful story has twists and turns that you won’t expect and you won’t really know which narrator to trust, and which version of the past to believe, until the very end.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I've wanted to read this book ever since I first saw the cover and it was just as good, better even, then I thought it would be based on that skimpy criteria.  This is the kind of book I love.  Lots of intertwined characters jumping  back and forth through time from 1960's Italy to present day Hollywood.

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

In the pre-dawn hours of a summer day, a carful of post-wedding revelers hits and kills a young girl on a dark country road.

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

An absorbing and thought-provoking read, this novel explores a web of characters whose lives cross paths over the course of four decades, ending about 10 years from now. The two central characters are Bennie, a rock music promoter, and Sasha, his young assistant, but the story is told from multiple points of view and explores the lifelong echoes of chance encounters and the relentless impact of time passing. I'm often disappointed when I finally get around to reading an award-winning, critically acclaimed and popular title, because the work doesn't live up to the hype. Not so in this case.

The Dog Who Came in From the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith

Another funny, whimsical and thoroughly enjoyable read in this author's Corduroy Mansions series, which is a bit like the 44 Scotland Street series but set in London instead of in Edinburgh. McCall Smith has no peer when it comes to gently yet relentlessly skewering his motley assortment of characters, exposing everyday human failings and foibles. You will chuckle, and wince, and probably recognize yourself a few times.

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