Saturday, September 5, 2015

What I'm Reading and What You Should Read NOW (plus TBR)

So it's been a busy reading season lately.  I don't know if it's all the books I picked up at Wonder Book in Frederick or all the BookTube I've been watching or what, but I've been plowing through the titles in August/early September.  I've already talked about some of my favorites here.  But I've managed to squeeze in several more since that post, with one standout in particular, but first:

The Reader, Bernhard Schlink

I'll admit that this was not on my must-read list, but I found it at Wonder Book (a bargain) and decided to pick it up. It was not at all what I expected.  Actually, I don't really know what I expected, but this was a fascinating look at an entire nation's ability/struggle to deal with national sins and personal culpability.  So many more thoughts were swirling in my brain after I finished this, so many more questions -- in my accounting a sign of an excellent book. 

The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

This was a local used book store find.  I was excited to read it as I'd heard so many good things, and everything about this book seemed to line up with my taste.  I wanted to love this book.  But I didn't. I didn't hate it.  But it felt like a bit of a slog to get through it.  Something about the shuffled narrative (which I usually love) just didn't work for me in this book.  The way details are doled out in seemingly random doses aggravated more than intrigued me. Much of the book is written from the limited perspective of very small children, but rather than trusting the reader the to see beyond their childish understanding, we are given sections that explain; we're told how everyone feels.  I was awash in so many human emotions that it nearly drowned out the narrative.  Maybe if I had read this one in another time and place, I would have loved it.  But alas, I read it this year, this season, and I just didn't.

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Cue the music.  Cue the gushing.  Just finished this book last night, and I cannot say enough good things about it.  Toni Morrison's blurb on the front, "This is required reading," is not hyperbole.  I have never read or encountered in other media a more honest and powerful discussion of what it means to be black in America.  I cannot imagine how anyone could read this book and remain unchanged or unaffected.  This is one of those books that after the last sentence I felt like I needed to immediately read it again with highlighter and notebook to catch all the things I missed the first time.  Read this and you will be moved and convicted and changed.  I guarantee it.  Just read this book.

My current read is Jonathan Franzen's Purity, the fiction new release with all the buzz right now.  It is a monster doorstop kind of book, so I'll be reading it for a while, but here is a glimpse at my TBR books-in-waiting:

Note the assemblage masterpiece courtesy of Kiddo and an entire roll of scotch tape.

So lots of good stuff taunting me from my dresser.  Of course, there are also piles of lessons to plan, papers to grade, and writing to be done, so it may be a while before I get to some of these.  Maybe I can even make my Wonder Book haul last me though the end of the year? Or not.

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