Books That Play: Listen While you Picnic Prep

Quaint basket, cooler, or backyard grill? Regardless, preparing a picnic meal is quite the task.In my hometown, Thursdays in the summer are spent by the docks, where families and friends gather in the sprawling harborside park to enjoy the performances of live bands as the sun sets in orange-sherbet hues against a backdrop of sailboats. If it sounds like a scene from a Hallmark movie, you are not wrong. But alas, all this perfection could be ruined if I forget to pack a good meal and equally important, the utensils, drinks, napkins (with kids, wet wipes are essential) a blanket to sit, and last but not least, dessert.

Get out your tupperware containers, cooler bag, picnic basket, ingredients, and your smartphone, because these four titles are perfect for drifting away while drilling through your picnic-prepping tasks.

Buckle up and dive into the complicated but enduring friendship of Funmi, Enitan, and Zainab.  Funmi stole Zainab’s boyfriend and became pregnant, only to have an abortion and lose the boyfriend to police violence. Enitan was seduced by an American Peace Corps volunteer, but is culturally so different from him that raising their daughter together put them at odds. Zainab fell in love with her teacher and ruptured her relationship with her father. Now, some thirty years later, the three women are reunited for the first time. The complexities of the mothers’ friendship—and the private wisdom each has earned—come to bear on a riveting, heartrending moment of decision. Dele Weds Destiny is a sensational debut from a dazzling new voice in contemporary fiction. 

Sam and Elli were inseparable, identical twins and B-list TV stars as children. As an adult, Elli became the perfect homemaker. Sam, however, never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or her debilitating addictions. When her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil. She’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? As Sam works to connect the dots, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew. I’ll Be You shows Janelle Brown at the top of her game: a story packed with surprising revelations and sharp insights about the choices that define our families and our lives—and could just as easily destroy them.

Author: Jon Krakauer
Read By: Scott Brick

In Under the Banner of Heaven Jon Krakauer shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this “divinely inspired” crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith.

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he is exiled from polite society. He enters the forest, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal. Two centuries later, writer Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When detective Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend of his own like himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe. Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.