My senior year in college, I changed my major from marketing to English because I enjoyed reading and talking about books more than my business classes. It worked out well—I ended up being a marketing director for nearly 20 years at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, a group of independent bookshops in Milwaukee.
Now, I am sharing my love of nature as director of marketing and communications for Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, another Milwaukee gem. But, as I like to say, you can take the girl out of the bookstore but never the bookseller out of the girl.
This reminiscence includes some of my favorite fiction written by women that I read and sold while a bookseller. They all stand up to the test of time and I still recommend them to readers.
Each May, sea turtles follow the lights into the coastal town of Verity, Florida, thinking that the artificial glow is actually the moon. Not only do the turtles start to act up at this time of year—the town’s residents also begin acting strangely. But not every year does it lead to murder, missing children, and incredible searches into the depths of the swampy coast.
Carol Shields won the Pulitzer Prize for this subtle portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life. What transforms this seemingly ordinary tale is the richness of Daisy’s vividly described inner life—from her earliest memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death.
I love India so much that I cannot wait to go back. At this very moment, I am struggling against the desire to pack some lightweight clothing into a suitcase and head to Kerala, where I spent the better part of a week while traveling abroad in 2012. Here are a few of the stories I return to when I’m longing for a jasmine flower tucked behind my ear and a seat at an old friend’s table on the streets of Cochin.
Johannes Vermeer’s GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING has remained a beautiful enigma for centuries. In her atmospheric novel, Tracy Chevalier imagines the painting’s subject to be a young girl hired by the Vermeer household, whose rise from maid to assistant to model brings with it a world of jealousy, intimacy, and secrets.
Read the full review of YEAR OF WONDERS.
A captivating journey back to nineteenth-century China when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, Lisa See’s gorgeously written work of fiction is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful.
Read the full review of THE HISTORY OF LOVE.