Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What I'm Reading: 1st Day of Kindergarten Edition

Today is the day -- the day I've waited five and a half years for: KINDERGARTEN!  Yes, folks, we made it.  And I am totally rocking staying awake and staying in my chair working.  (Mostly, anyway.)  But enough about school; I'll write more on that once we've made it through an entire day.  Instead, let's talk about BOOKS!

I've been reading so many good books lately.  And really much of this is due to some really amazing suggestions from one of my favorite podcasts, All the Books, a Book Riot podcast.  They cover everything from literary fiction to YA to memoir to romance, so regardless of your reading habits, they've got you covered.  Here are some of my favorite recent reads:

Saint Maize, by Jami Attenberg

I am so in love with this book.  It's difficult to put my finger on why I loved it so much, but I just didn't want the story to end.  Great female protagonist who is beautifully flawed, set in one of my favorite time periods/places to read about, and the story is revealed though various "historical documents" (such as diaries, news clippings, interviews), which is a conceit that I love.  Can't say enough good things about this one.

The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma

This one has made the Man Booker long list, and it's obvious why.  Though it is set in modern Nigeria, something about this story feels almost fable-like, and I loved the voice of the narrator.  While this is a tragic story of family love and loss, I never felt depressed or manipulated.  Just a really beautiful story.

Music for Wartime, by Rebecca Makkai

This is probably the best short story collection I've read in a year or two.  Could not put this down.  Never have I read such an eclectic group of stories that maintain such unity of theme. These were beautiful (and sometimes heartbreaking) stories with just the right amount of whimsy thrown in (mini-Bach crawling out of a piano, anyone?) for the perfect balance.  Read this even if you don't usually like short stories.  Actually, read this especially if you don't like short stories.  It just may change how you feel about short fiction.

In the Country, by Mia Alvar

This is what I'm reading right now, and so far I'm loving it.  I've read some comparisons of this to Jhumpa Lahiri's short fiction, and while I hesitate to label her book as the Filipina version of Lahiri, I will admit to parallels in theme and style.  This is a collection about being in the margins, an outsider, sometimes even in the main character's own country.  The settings are modern and recognizable and the characters are real and surprising.  Can't wait to finish this one.

So, that's all I've got for today.  Of course, I've been reading lots of other stuff, but these are the current standouts.  Now back to lesson plans and reveling in the perfect silence of my house.

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