Sara Baume's Spill Simmer Falter Wither has been on my to-read list since it came out (thanks to one Nathan Dunbar's recommendation), but I never quite remembered to read it. So I leapt at the opportunity to review her sophomore novel, A Line Made by Walking, which is a quite rumination on mental illness, young adulthood, art, death, and life. Though it is fiction, the writing reads like a memoir, or a collection of personal essays--a compliment, I think, to just how real Baume's story is. Full review to come in Shelf Awareness, though I think this just about covers the highlights of it. (On sale April 17th.)
I read (and enjoyed) Among the Ruins back in January, though I started it without realizing it was the third in a series. Since then, I've gone back to revisit the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series from the beginning, starting with The Unquiet Dead, and I'm really loving Khan's work. The series (at least the two I've read so far) couches thoughtful ruminations on war, peace, violence, feminism, family, international relations, and criminal justice inside what are otherwise rather straightforward whodunits. It's a perfect balance of plot and philosophy, and Khan's got a way with words. Highly recommend.
Other books that have managed to hold my (admittedly limited) attention of late include Behind Her Eyes, which, while not highbrow literature by any stretch, had the perfect mix of "whodunit" and "what the fuck is even happening here" to keep me glued to the page. John Lewis' March: Book One was unsurprisingly wonderful, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. And guys. The Underground Railroad. It's as incredible, inspiring, harrowing, etc. as everyone says it is. Go read it right now, if you haven't already. And if you're a Sherlock Holmes fan (why wouldn't you be?), Lyndsay Faye's newest collection of Holmesian short stories is a sheer delight (The Whole Art of Detection, on sale March 7th).
Coming Up Next:
Oh, this is the hard part. There are so many amazing-looking books on the horizon that I barely know where to start. I can say that for vacation, I'm excited for some recent Book of the Month picks: Marlena and All Grown Up among them. I'm also eying The Teeth of the Comb and Other Stories (another April book) and just picked up a digital copy of The Fifth Season for some airplane reading. Continuing the comfort reads trend of February, I'm chipping away at Carry On Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton, and plan to start The Golden Compass this week.
From here, there, and everywhere:
February was a slooooow writing month for me, but here are some things other people wrote that I think are worth highlighting:
- Stephanie continues her coverage of the Readers Workshop book club in Frederick with this installment on Philip Roth's American Pastoral. (Side note: While I really didn't love this book, I fully appreciate Roth's incredible way with words, and love the way this book club is making me think about reading and writing.) Also of note in Stephanie's blog is this excellent set of book and movie pairings--not book-to-movie adaptations, mind you, but more interesting pairings that draw on common themes and settings to bring the mediums together.
- The book blogging community lost an incredible voice recently. In remembrance of Heather, here's the last book review she shared on her blog: The German Girl. Who else will be reading this one soon?
- While we're all teary anyway, why not move along to this New York Times piece by author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who, on learning she was dying of cancer, wrote a personal ad on behalf of her husband. Fair warning: This will make you cry.
- Moving from sadness to fury: If you haven't been following along with the #AroAceJugheadorBust discussions, hop on in. While I don't watch Riverdale myself (we're a cable-free household here), erasure of an identity is never good--and needs to be recognized. What's more, allies need to understand why that erasure hurts individuals and communities. You can see the discussions on Twitter under the #AroAceJugheadorBust hashtag, and here's a recent Book Riot piece that summarizes some of the discussions.
- And for more book recommendations, did ya'll see the Millions Great Book Preview for the first half of 2017? There are some fine looking books on here, people. Let's get reading.
And don't forget, the Social Justice Book Club is reading Enrique's Journey for March. It's not too late to join us for online discussions and a chance to submit questions to the author. If you'd like an invite, just fill out this quick form!