Hi! I was able to knock three books out of the park last month–mostly thanks to being able to read on my phone as I nurse the babe in the wee hours of the night. Now that I have a little more energy than I did a month ago, my time is being split in different directions, but I’m still keeping a book close by at all times! Do you ever read on your phone? It’s not my favorite, but it definitely works in a pinch.
So what did I read last month? I started the year off great with three books that I’d recommend!
Salvage the Bones
In Short: In the days proceeding Hurricane Katrina, 14 year old Esch and her three brothers help their father prepare their coastal Mississippi home for the storm. More than storm preparations, though, Salvage the Bones is about the familial relationships as well as the community relationships and how each person fits into the whole. This is especially evident after the storm arrives and the characters fight to pick up the pieces of their lives.
“Suddenly there is a great split between now and then, and I wonder where the world where that day happened has gone, because we are not in it.”
Bottom Line and Recommendation: What a book! Salvage the Bones is told from Esch’s point of view and the writing is at the same time haunting and poetic–it’s been a long time since I’ve read such a beautifully written book. It wasn’t always an easy read–there are a lot of tough subjects and even some graphic descriptions of pit bull fighting, but at the same time it was impossible for me to put down.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
In Short: When Harold learns that Queenie, his good friend from the past, is dying from cancer he accidentally sets off on a journey by foot to see her. His hope is that as long as he is walking, Queenie will continue to hang on in her fight. What he doesn’t realize is how his journey will touch the lives of so many others.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: After reading Salvage the Bones, I felt I needed something a little lighter to cleanse my palate. I’m not sure I got that with Harold Fry but it was a touching story and grew on me more and more as I turned the pages. Often Harold’s journey felt like a long one, but behind the journey were bits and pieces about Harold’s life and his relationship with his wife and son that compelled me to continue on. I’m glad I did! I laughed a few times and even shed some tears. While this won’t be my favorite book of the year, I do recommend it–it’s a nice read with a worthwhile message.
Interpreter of Maladies
In Short: In this slim collection of nine short stories, Lahiri explores the everyday lives, wishes, desires, fears, and emotions of everyday people both in America and in India. I loved the little snippets Lahiri provides of Indian history and some of the cultural aspect and it made me realize that I want and need to know more about South Asia.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: I’m not usually a fan of short stories (rather sink my teeth into a longer novel) but I really enjoyed reading Interpreter of Maladies and Lahiri has convinced me to give this written format another chance. Often I get to the end of a short story feeling unsatisfied but I rarely felt that way with this collection. Each story perfectly captured a certain feeling of want or belonging–whether the desire for another person or trying to find footing within a community and the final story “The Third and Final Continent” somehow brings together all of the different aspects of the collection into a satisfying finale. Also, it’s really tough to write about short stories. :)
Have you read any of these? What have you been reading lately? Anything noteworthy?