“My bedside table has some 15 books scattered on it, and in defense of the clutter, I am 81 and read before I turn off the light each night and again before getting up every morning. But I have one on top of the pile to tell you about that I’ve just finished and most highly recommend.

“I’ve been a fiction reader for 60 years, and during that time, I have read all books that I happened upon written by some 50 favorite authors. Occasionally, I stumble upon one that has escaped me over the years, and that is the case with my current read — “The Girl from Venice” by Martin Cruz Smith, published in 2016. Well-known for “Gorky Park,” “Polar Star” and countless others, he has exceeded my expectations in his story of Cenzo, a relatively young, dry-witted Italian fisherman, his more outgoing brother Giorgio, an even younger Jewish girl Giulia, and a cast of others, including Mussolini, set during a chaotic time in Italy at the end of World War II.

“As he does so well, M.C. Smith has blended interesting history, a bit of mystery and highly challenging family dynamics, this time into a love story that is a quick-moving tale that will long stay with the reader. And in this case, this enjoyable novel will remind you that there is a period of history that demands more of your attention.” — STEVE KLUG, Owl’s Head

Mainers, please email to tell us about the book on your bedside table right now. In a paragraph or two, describe the book and be sure to tell us what drew you to it. We want to hear what you are reading and why. Send your selection to [email protected], and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.

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