I'm only a week late in getting my act together on this one, but, my blog, my rules, eh? April brought us lots of showers and some pretty incredible reading, not least of all because Readathon continues to be one of my favorite reading events of the year.
The Fishermen, by Chigozi Obioma: Obioma's debut novel is a heartbreaking, at times mystical, always emotional story of four young brothers growing up in Nigeria. They battle with their parents; with tradition; and, perhaps most grievously, with each other. I struggled to find adequate words to describe this one, but here's my full review in Shelf Awareness if you're interested in more.
Orhan's Inheritance, by Aline Ohanesian: Another heavy novel, another powerful story. Ohanesian's tale of the Armenian Genocide opened my eyes to a story I knew little about. My full review.
Find the Good, by Heather Lende: Lende is an obituary writer in a remote town in Alaska, which, I would argue, gives her a fairly unique perspective on life--and death. The essays in this short collection are a reflection of that experience, with life lessons encapsulated in anecdotes and personal stories.
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler: Given my current obsession with all things Parks & Rec (this is my current computer background), it should come as no surprise that I quite literally squealed in delight when my hold came in on the audio of this at the library. And it didn't disappoint. Poehler is smart and funny and kind and her stories of SNL and UCTB and Parks & Rec (P&R?) were a delight to listen to. Special guest appearances by her parents, Patrick Stewart and Carol Burnett didn't hurt, of course.
Our Endless Numbered Days, by Claire Fuller: Stop what you're doing and go read this book so we can talk about it endlessly, ok? Seriously, though: Fuller's novel of a young girl and her father living on their own in the woods is so well crafted and thoughtfully composed that it will leave your head spinning long past the last page, even if you don't actually like the book (which I think you will, whoever you are). I've already pressed this into the hands of my best friend and my local book club, and I doubt they'll be the last to hear me prattle on about it.
Added bonus: The Socratic Salon discussion of Our Endless Numbered Days is excellent reading once you've finished the story.
The Secret Place, by Tana French: As expected, watching French take on the complicated, terrifying and utterly strange world of a boarding school was just as wonderful as I thought it would be. It took me a bit longer to get into this novel than her previous works, with its alternating storylines, but once I did, I was hooked. More thoughts on my love of Tana French. And please keep telling me what to read now that I've read all of her novels...
Hammer Head, by Nina MacLaughlin: I'm not always a memoir fan, but I loved this one so much that I left a little note in it for the next person to check it out of the library (on a Post-it, of course; I'm not a monster). My full review.
Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O'Nan: I read this entire novella in one sitting during Readathon, and loved how it captured the strange camaraderie of awful/wonderful workplaces. More thoughts to come.
The Underground Girls of Kabul, by Jenny Nordberg: Another pick for the Curious Iguana Our Women, Our World book club series. I expected this to be an interesting exploration of Afghan culture, which it was. But it was also a thought-provoking exploration of marriage, gender identity, sexuality, feminism, and so many other things that it's hard to believe that Nordberg was able to pack it all into one book. One damn good book.
Stay tuned for thoughts on The Library at Mount Char, Loving Day, and Bell Weather as we get closer to pub dates.
So far this year:
- I've read 45 books in total (not including the 5 DNFs of the year so far)
- 20% of my reading selections have been by non-white authors
- 25% of my reading selections have been by non-US authors
- 10 of my books have qualified for the Read Harder challenge
- 3 of my books completed have been from my TBR 2015 Challenge list
- Leah at Books Speak Volumes has a great tutorial on what to pack for Book Expo, if you're headed there later this month.
- Catherine from The Gilmore Guide to Books is posting about her renovation projects in her new house, which is absolutely worth following if you are even half as obsessed with HGTV as I am.
- In case you might have forgotten, just for a moment, how strong a community of people who have never met in real life can be: this support of Sheila from Book Journey after the loss of her son is truly incredible.
- Emily at Books, the Universe and Everything has officially added "Visit Peru" to my bucket list with her photos of her condor-watching day there. So beautiful.
- Over in Readerly, I'm talking about five short story collections I've loved lately. (If you don't subscribe to this thrice-monthly newsletter, here's where you fix that!)