The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Contemporary Picks (February)

Estelle here! Wishing you a happy Thursday! It’s a new month and time for another round of The Big Kids’ Table, a feature I started in hopes of focusing on some new adult contemporary reads! As if we all need another book to add to our to-read list… because if you are anything like Magan and I — we are drowning in books. Although, we really wouldn’t have it any other way. Truly. So that being said here are a few (new) books that caught my eye.

Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Why I want to read it: Best friends, old boy friends… recipe for a good book, I’d say.
Summary (from Amazon): For Willa Jacobs, seeing her best friend, Jane Weston, is like looking in a mirror on a really good day. Strangers assume they are sisters, a comparison Willa secretly enjoys. They share an apartment, clothing, and groceries, eking out rent with part-time jobs. Willa writes advertising copy, dreaming up inspirational messages for tea bags (“The path to enlightenment is steep” and “Oolong! Farewell!”), while Jane cleans houses and writes poetry about it, rhyming “dust” with “lust,” and “clog of hair” with “fog of despair.” Together Willa and Jane are a fortress of private jokes and shared opinions, with a friendship so close there’s hardly room for anyone else. But when Ben, Willa’s oldest friend, reappears and falls in love with Jane, Willa wonders: Can she let her two best friends find happiness with each other if it means leaving her behind?  ( Goodreads | Amazon)


The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Why I want to read it: Who can’t relate to the time after college when they just had no idea what they were going to do with themselves?
Summary (from Amazon):

What to do when you’ve just graduated from college and your plans conflict with those of your parents? That is, when your plans to hang out on the couch, re-read your favorite children’s books, and take old prescription tranquilizers, conflict with your parents plans that you, well, get a job?Without a fallback plan, Eshter Kohler decides she has no choice but to take the job her mother has lined up for her: babysitting for their neighbors, the Browns. 

It’s a tricky job, though. Six months earlier, the Browns’ youngest child died. Still, as Esther finds herself falling in love with their surviving daughter May, and distracted by a confusing romance with one of her friends, she doesn’t notice quite how tricky the job is … until she finds herself assuming the role of confidante to May’s mother Amy, and partner in crime to Amy’s husband Nate. Trapped in conflicting roles doomed to collide, Esther is forced to come up with a better idea of who she really is. (Goodreads | Amazon)

Broadway Baby by Alan Shapiro
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Why I want to read it: Um, did anyone say Broadway? And who doesn’t like an intriguing mother-children dynamic?
Summary (from Amazon): As a little girl growing up in Boston, Miriam Bluestein fantasized about a life lived on stage, specifically in a musical. Get married, have a family—sure, maybe she’d do those things, too, but first and foremost there was her career. As a woman, she is both tormented and consoled by those dreams in her day-to-day existence with her family, including a short-tempered husband, a cranky mother, and three demanding children, one of whom, Ethan, shows real talent for the stage.

It is through Ethan that Miriam strives to realize her dreams. As she pushes him to make the most of his talent, the rest of her life gradually comes undone, with her husband becoming increasingly frustrated and her other two children—Sam, a mass of quirks and idiosyncrasies, and Julie, hostile and bitter—withdrawing into their own worlds. Still Miriam dreams, praying for that big finale, which, when it comes, is nothing that she ever could have imagined. (Goodreads | Amazon)

A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Why I want to read it: A grand tour of Europe sounds pretty good to me any day.
Summary (from Amazon):  On her thirtieth birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea’s Sudoku and Mah-jongg Club. The prospect isn’t entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting — an engagement ring from her boyfriend — doesn’t materialize, Gwen decides to go. At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it’s the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and stunning vistas of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment: skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre, and taste-testing pastries at a Marseilles cafe. Revelling in every new experience — especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor — Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within…
(Goodreads | Amazon)

Spring: a Novel by David Szalay
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Why I want to read it: Well this sounds like an interesting love story.
Summary (from Amazon): James is a man with a checkered past—sporadic entrepreneur, one-time film producer, almost a dot-com millionaire—now alone in a flat in Bloomsbury, running a shady horse-racing-tips operation. Katherine is a manager at a luxury hotel, a job she’d intended to leave years ago, and is separated from her husband. The novel unfolds in 2006, at the end of the money-for-nothing years, as a chance meeting leads to an awkward tryst and James tries to make sense of a relationship where “no” means “maybe” and a “yes” can never be taken for granted.  (Goodreads | Amazon)

7 thoughts on “The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Contemporary Picks (February)

  1. VeganYANerds says:

    I really like this feature, Estelle! It’s good to have a break from YA every now and then, I used to read more adult contemp. when I was a teen than I do now, so it’s time to get back into it.

    I really like the sound of the first book, Friends Like Us, it’s going on my list!

  2. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    The first two have really peaked my interest! However, I am always scared of reading adult books now b/c I am so used to the quickness of young-adult. I get bored too easily when they describe scenes for 5 pages. You know what I mean??

    • Estelle says:

      Ginger, I totally feel ya on that sentiment. I’m staring at the one I’m going to read and I’m just scared it’s not going to match up to all I have been reading and I would have wasted my time. Sometimes YAs are just so quick that it almost doesn’t matter if your time was wasted because it was only a day or 2, ya know? But I know I know I have to get my head out of the YA high school world sometimes or I’ll just personally go nuts.

  3. Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl says:

    I think I buy something new every time I read this feature! You are no good for me, Estelle! Or, well… my bank account. I just bought “A Summer in Europe”! We all knew that as soon as I saw the title, it pretty much didn’t matter what happened in the book. Thanks for the recommendation! I love this feature. (Or I hate it. :P)

    • Estelle says:

      Jana, when I was writing about A SUMMER IN EUROPE, I immediately thought of you because you love travel so much. 🙂 Glad to know that I’m doing bad things to your wallet. What are friends for? 😉

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