A while ago I reported that I was in a reading slump. Now I’ve got so many I’m excited to read that I wish I could read faster! So today’s blog is an update on a few of the amazing books I’ve read lately. I don’t know that any of them would appeal to everyone, but they all “spoke” to me. It’s a subtle thing — where every sentence is a joy to read, where you love the feeling of sinking back into the story, where every aspect from characters to twists to word choice makes you smile. And for me, it’s when the adjective that keeps coming to mind is “beautiful.”
This collection of short stories will definitely appeal most to fans of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If you’ve never heard of either of these books, I highly recommend both. Susanna Clarke has a gift for both writing and storytelling, as I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post, and reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu was a fabulous treat. Even the least significant character is made interesting by her skilled pen, and every twist is subtle and perfect.
This is a gorgeous look at what it might be like to be left behind. What if you were an only survivor? And what if you were in a coma facing the choice of following the others or staying on your own? It’s an unusual book in that the main character really can’t do anything, the way normally an MC is expected to propel the action, but I loved the glimpses of her life and her choice. It’s a look at what makes life worthwhile even at its most difficult, which is also sometimes the most beautiful.
This book is almost epic. It’s a thick, 400+ page tome that took a while to plow through. But I loved it. I loved the parallels to Don Quixote, especially, and the way that what the reader knows to be reality the character supposes is a dream, flipping the two and ultimately asking what is real. And of course the book is tragic. The main character is dying of mad cow disease. There is no cure. But Libba Bray turns that into a wildly hilarious road trip about the meaning of life, and I couldn’t help laughing out loud. Constantly. And the ending is beautiful.
This is a novel about a seventeen-year-old boy with autism, and I’m three quarters of the way through it right now. I love this book. I love its perspective on life. I love Marcelo. I love Jasmine. I wish I could articulate everything that’s captivated me about this book. The complexities of it are a huge part, maybe. Like when he asks the rabbi why Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness when God created them naked and God declared them good. It’s beautiful in its questioning of life.
What books have spoken to you lately? What’s the most important ingredient for you to love a book, or do you want it all — every aspect perfect?