Jane Recommends Book Picks for May 2024

Jane Recommends Book Picks for May 2024

Bedside Reading 
By Jane Ubell-Meyer, Founder, Bedside Reading

Spring is here and Mother’s Day is around the corner! Indulge yourself and perhaps your mom in our May offerings! 

Read More at BedsideReading.com/JaneRecommends

Here’s what they’re reading at Hotel Yountville , CA

About the Carleton Sisters by Dian Greenwood  

A Las Vegas showgirl, a diner waitress, and a heartbroken alcoholic—three sisters—are called into an obligatory reunion in California’s Central Valley in the late 1990s as a prelude to their mother’s impending death. Inside Diego’s Diner on Highway 99, Lorraine, the eldest of the sisters, attempts to convert the truckers and regional farmers to her religious beliefs while managing the counters and booths. Becky, the youngest, lurches into this scene after a night’s drunken romp. Meanwhile, middle sister Julie is en route on a bus from Las Vegas, where she’s just ended a long career as a Riviera showgirl. Overshadowing the longstanding tensions between the three women is the unexplained disappearance of the sisters’ long-absent father from their lives. Julie is reluctant to return to River’s End, but she makes a valiant attempt to jump-start her life again once she gets there, even as she confronts the loss of the beauty she’s long used to mask her insecurities and failed relationships. Meanwhile, Becky struggles to stay sober and out of jail—and Lorraine throws herself into cheating her sisters out of their inheritance.​

Here’s what they’re reading at The Ven at Embassy Row, Washington DC

globalization and politics book

Age of Revolutions by Fareed Zakaria 

Populist rage, ideological fracture, economic and technological shocks, war, and an international system studded with catastrophic risk―the early decades of the twenty-first century may be the most revolutionary period in modern history. But it is not the first. Humans have lived, and thrived, through more than one great realignment. What are these revolutions, and how can they help us to understand our fraught world? In this major work, Fareed Zakaria masterfully investigates the eras and movements that have shaken norms while shaping the modern world. Three such periods hold profound lessons for today. First, in the seventeenth-century Netherlands, a fascinating series of transformations made that tiny land the richest in the world―and created politics as we know it today. Next, the French Revolution, an explosive era that devoured its ideological children and left a bloody legacy that haunts us today. Finally, the mother of all revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, which catapulted Great Britain and the US to global dominance and created the modern world. Alongside these paradigm-shifting historical events, Zakaria probes four present-day revolutions: globalization, technology, identity, and geopolitics. For all their benefits, the globalization and technology revolutions have produced profound disruptions and pervasive anxiety and our identity. And increasingly, identity is the battlefield on which the twenty-first century’s polarized politics are fought. All this is set against a geopolitical revolution as great as the one that catapulted the United States to world power in the late nineteenth century. Now we are entering a world in which the US is no longer the dominant power. As we find ourselves at the nexus of four seismic revolutions, we can easily imagine a dark future. But Zakaria proves that pessimism is premature. If we act wisely, the liberal international order can be revived and populism relegated to the ash heap of history. As few public intellectuals can, Zakaria combines intellectual range, deep historical insight, and uncanny prescience to once again reframe and illuminate our turbulent present. His bold, compelling arguments make this book essential reading in our age of revolutions.

Here’s what they’re reading at Nautilus Sonesta , Miami Beach, FL

Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction book

Alchemy’s Air by Stacey L. Tucker

Skylar Southmartin is not the naïve girl she was a short year ago. She’s made some mistakes and learned a few secrets to life, all the while clinging to the faith her mother instilled in her as a child . . . in herself. And now that she has discovered her life’s purpose within the pages of the ancient Book of Sophia, she knows what she must do: restore a vital memory to the Akashic Library, located deep within the Underworld of Earth. This library is sought after by many who are aware of its existence, for they know the future of human potential rests at its core. Meanwhile, Devlin Grayer has been elected as the 46th President of the United States and his wife, Milicent, is miserable in her new role as First Lady―especially because the Great Mothers have asked Milicent to use her new status to help their cause, and she has no interest in tackling that task. With the help of friends in the unlikeliest of places, Skylar’s journey reveals the significance of the darkness within all of us, and its potential to save or destroy the most precious part of us all: our soul.

Here’s what they’re reading at Conrad Nashville-, TN

Dark Fantasy book

All the Dark Voices by Philip Myles Dane

The awakening of a modern day nomad, guided by three powerful women, charts the course to peace in the contemporary world amidst all the madness and hate. Someone must save humanity from the insanity.

Here’s what they’re reading at Baker House 1650, East Hampton NY

Mothers & Children Fiction book

And Now There’s Zelda by Carolyn Clarke

Dealing with a controlling, manipulative, and self-absorbed mother-in-law can be a challenge. But when your child brings home a fiancé who’s completely unworthy, and the shoe is suddenly on the other foot, do you take the high road, or get down and dirty? It’s been five years since Allison Montgomery’s beloved father-in-law, George, passed away and her cantankerous mother-in-law, Margaret, moved in. After nearly killing each other during their initial adjustment period, Allie and Margaret have finally buried the hatchet and have even launched a thriving home staging business together. Today, Allie is enjoying life. That is until her twenty-two-year-old son, Cameron, unexpectedly brings home Zelda, his new fiancé. The problem is, no one has ever met or even heard of her. And when Zelda’s first impression raises more than a few red flags, Allie finds herself in unfamiliar territory. Facing the prospect of becoming a mother-in-law far sooner than expected, and to someone unworthy of her darling baby boy, Allie’s protective instinct kicks in. And who better to turn to for guidance and support than Margaret, her former nemesis and master of the mothers-in-law’s dark arts. Allie and Margaret launch Project Zelda, an intervention of sorts designed to show Cameron who Zelda really is and to prevent him from making a catastrophic mistake. However, with Zelda’s ingratiating behavior, Margaret’s occasional disappearances, and Allie’s doubts about turning into her own mother-in-law, will Allie find a way to reconcile her protective instincts or will history repeat itself?

Here’s what they’re reading at Mill House Inn, East Hampton, NY

 Contemporary Fantasy Fiction book

Butter, Sugar, Magic by Jessica Rosenberg

Embracing a midlife transformation has never been more delicious. At best, she’s expecting a kitschy candy dish, at worst a beloved taxidermied pet, so when Cassie-newly divorced, single mom with zero prospects-discovers she’s inheriting a fully stocked bakery along with a beautifully furnished apartment from a great aunt she’d never even heard of, she’s convinced she must be dreaming. The apartment bizarrely adapting itself to her whims and the friendly neighbor floating fireballs in the air aren’t helping. Cassie has two choices. She can hightail it out of this bewildering town and figure out another way to support her pre-teen daughter. Or she can stay and live the life of her dreams in this unsettling place where the rules of physics don’t seem to apply, and people are suspiciously friendly and welcoming. When Cassie and her daughter agree to give this new place a trial run (the fantastic pet shop next door is a helpful draw), she’s not convinced they’ve made the right choice. That hesitation just might cost her the fantastic life she and her daughter deserve.

Here’s what they’re reading at Conrad New York Downtown, NYC

Jewish Historical Fiction book

The Good at Heart by Ursula Werner

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border. When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village. But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts. Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.

Here’s what they’re reading at Pierre New York, NYC

Historical Fiction book

The Guest by Emma Cline

“Alex drained her wineglass, then her water glass. The ocean looked calm, a black darker than the sky. A ripple of anxiety made her palms go damp. It seemed suddenly very tenuous to believe that anything would stay hidden, that she could successfully pass from one world to another.” Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome. A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city. With few resources and a waterlogged phone, but gifted with an ability to navigate the desires of others, Alex stays on Long Island and drifts like a ghost through the hedged lanes, gated driveways, and sun-blasted dunes of a rarefied world that is, at first, closed to her. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.

Here’s what they’re reading at River House at Odette’s , New Hope, PA

The Palace at Dusk by Angela Terry 

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Palace at Dusk explores the complexity of love in an illicit office romance. Harvard-educated corporate attorney Jasmine “Jae” Phillips promised herself that she wouldn’t date anyone at the office. She’s too focused on the job, and her meh dating history can be summed up with a shrug. Then came Brad Summers. When Jae’s colleague Brad enters her office—boyish and handsome with his tousled hair and sparkling green-gold eyes—and asks if she’d like to grab a drink, she’s flattered. Their conversation makes her feel alive, fascinating, and fun, and the lonely Jae can’t help but bask in Brad’s attention. Soon Jae is breaking her never-date-at-the-office rule. And when she later discovers that Brad has a wife and child, she finds herself breaking a much more serious rule. After Jae spends years in love with a man who isn’t hers and jeopardizes her career in the process, a series of unexpected developments shake her awake and force her to confront the cost—and the future—of their affair. She needs to make a choice, but love stories are rarely black and white, and the right path isn’t so clear. With her head and her heart pulling her in opposite directions, Jae must somehow chart a course between them in order to find her happily ever after.

Here’s what they’re reading at Royal Sonesta Benjamin Hotel, NYC

20th Century Historical Fiction book

The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl

Stella reached for an oyster, tipped her head, and tossed it back. It was cool and slippery, the flavor so briny it was like diving into the ocean. Oysters, she thought. Where have they been all my life? When her estranged mother dies, Stella is left with an unusual inheritance: a one-way plane ticket and a note reading “Go to Paris.” Stella is hardly cut out for adventure; a traumatic childhood has kept her confined to the strict routines of her comfort zone. But when her boss encourages her to take time off, Stella resigns herself to honoring her mother’s last wishes. Alone in a foreign city, Stella falls into old habits, living cautiously and frugally. Then she stumbles across a vintage store, where she tries on a fabulous Dior dress. The shopkeeper insists that this dress was meant for Stella and for the first time in her life Stella does something impulsive. She buys the dress—and embarks on an adventure. Her first stop: the iconic brasserie Les Deux Magots, where Stella tastes her first oysters and then meets an octogenarian art collector who decides to take her under his wing. As Jules introduces Stella to a veritable who’s who of the Paris literary, art, and culinary worlds, she begins to understand what it might mean to live a larger life. As weeks—and many decadent meals—go by, Stella ends up living as a “tumbleweed” at famed bookstore Shakespeare & Company, uncovers a hundred-year-old mystery in a Manet painting, and discovers a passion for food that may be connected to her past. A feast for the senses, this novel is a testament to living deliciously, taking chances, and finding your true home.

Elisa Fershtadt
Elisa Fershtadt