I thought it would be fun to (occasionally?) post a few recent reads… sort of like a mini review? (We’ll see how this goes?)
Anyway, two recent faves were:
Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore: Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure where instead of choosing you can see all (most) of the choices. This is the movie Sliding Doors (which side note is an old favorite) times two… or five? In short, Jane, a somewhat aimless umbrella-maker comes to the famous Tu Reviens with her friend and former tutor to spend the weekend. While there she explores the very different ways her life can go. I loved that the story functioned in every iteration (was interesting, engaging, and “believable” – ok this is a story that in one iteration features space pirates so believability is sort of… relative, but still) but at the same time is so informed by all the iterations. In addition to exploring Jane’s personal future and destiny, this story asked interesting questions about anyone’s life choices and the road(s) not taken. Really interesting and one of the most different books I’ve read this year.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan: What can I say about a Pulitzer-prize winning author that hasn’t already been said elsewhere (and better), but I really enjoyed this book. It was so different from A Visit from the Goon Squad, not only in subject matter but in form and scope and although VERY different it reminded me just a little of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (another old favorite). Probably because it too is set in Brooklyn, features a largely father-less family, and a war (WWII in this case) plays a prominent role in the plot. I also enjoyed Anna’s quest to become a diver in a world that was just barely letting women into the workplace (and only because the men were at war). I found both Dexter (a small-time gangster) and Eddie (Anna’s father who vanished when she was 14) to be interesting perspectives as well.
These two books could not be more different but I really enjoyed them both. Highly recommend.
Coming soon: recommendations for the year? Old favorites everyone should read? All of the above?