Monday, July 29, 2013

Some lovely books to recommend

Since I have stopped blogging about every single book I read, a ton of stress has been alleviated.  On the other hand, however, I don't feel I'm doing my job.  So let me give you a few recommendations based on some of the books I've read recently.

  1. The Ocean at the end of the lane- Neil Gaiman.  I had to start with him, right?  This is a really lovely book by my favorite author.  It is short, but doesn't feel like it is missing anything, so you don't really notice that it is not his usual 400+ page heft until you get to the end, and you realize you read it all in a day.  This sweet story has the perfect meld of what I love about this author's style- a little longing, a little other-worldliness, and a lot of personality.
  2. Broken Harbor- Tana French.  I've read three by this Irish mystery author now, and have really enjoyed each one.  This one, however, has a really great twist that builds carefully through the novel.  It is better than your typical crime/mystery novel, with an Irish flair and some returning characters from another one of her books- however you don't need to read the other one first.
  3. The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao- Junot Diaz.  In Denver, I stepped into a used book store, and while looking at the shelves, overheard a young lady mention this book, so I decided to pick it up, and read it on the plane ride home.  It is a beautifully told story of Oscar, a Dominican "Ghetto Nerd."  Not only is it told through multiple perspectives (of Oscar, his sister, his mother, and his friend), it is also told interchangeably in English and Spanish.  My Spanish is a little rusty as I've not needed to use it daily in a number of years, but context clues made it come back pretty quickly.  In addition, the author makes frequent references to nerdy ideals, such as Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and graphic novels.  All in all, this was a refreshing, interesting read that kept me on my toes.
  4. Joyland- Stephen King.  I've ended up reading a few by King this summer, and really enjoyed this, his pulp homage novel.  It contained everything I like about King- including unrequited love, adolescent longing, some ghost stories, and a little human evil.  Nothing too gory or scary, a fun read.
  5. The Watermelon King- Daniel Wallace.  I got on a kick for this author, and read everything he's written that is still in publication this summer.  His biggest novel was Big Fish, which became a Tim Burton movie, but I think I liked this one the best.  Wallace incorporates the weird and surreal in his stories in such a seamless fashion, it seems like anyone could relate.  In this story, the oddities and rituals of a small rural town are put to the test when a prodigal son (literally) returns home.
  6. The dreams of my father- Barack Obama.  I initially read this book a number of years ago, but picked it up from the library as a sound recording with the POTUS narrating his own book.  That really brought it to light, and was interesting to reflect on with more discussions of race in America as of late. 
Keep reading!  Currently I'm reading The Map of Time by Felix Palma, and I just started Stephen King's Cell which Rob is about halfway through with.  I've got about 10 more books I want to read this month, but that may not happen, as it's the 29th....

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