Monday, March 26, 2012

Books I've Read Lately

I've been reading a ton, but not blogging about it--or starting posts and not finishing them and posting them, which is the same as not blogging about it, really--but lately I've read:

Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, for book club--which I really liked, though my blog post only got as far as me typing in this passage from p.255:

"I will tie the glass and stone with string, hang the shards above my bed, so that they will flash in the dark and tell the story of Katrina, the mother that swept into the Gulf and slaughtered. Her chariot was a storm so great and black the Greeks would say it was harnessed to dragons. She was the murderous mother who cut us to the bone but left us alive, left us naked and bewildered as wrinkled newborn babies, as blind puppies, as sun-starved newly hatched baby snakes. She left us a dark Gulf and salt-burned land. She left us to learn to crawl. She left us to salvage. Katrina is the mother we will remember until the next mother with large, merciless hands, committed to blood, comes."

Holding Fire, by Elissa Wald--and my unfinished blog post got a little farther along:

I don't read enough adult fiction--I read so much YA--but that's partly because YA often pulls me in faster and harder. But this was a novel for adults that I loved--and not just because of the author's awesome first name. Though her name is why we're now Facebook friends (I think she friended me--we have--wait, let me check--five mutual friends).

If I hadn't liked it, I just wouldn't've posted about it. Instead I had to go to Powell's and buy her first book, because the public library doesn't have it! Ooh, and she has Mariette in Ecstasy listed as one of her favorite books on Facebook. I love that book so much. (It's on my "Fifty Favorite Books List".) Anyway.

Holding Fire has a lot of people in it, and a shifting POV, but it works.

See? I didn't really get far enough for this to be a helpful blog post about the book. But it's about firefighters in Brooklyn, and she handles place beautifully. It's also not only about firefighters in Brooklyn, though she does a great job with the characters and, like I said, with the place. Places.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs, had already caught my eye, but when a student I like a lot said, "Ms. Nelson, you have to read it"--well, that moves a book way up my list. So I read it, and I did really like it, but I remember thinking, "I hope there isn't a sequel, I hope they just let this weird book and weird world stand on its own." But of course there's going to be a sequel. And in the press release, the "president and publisher" of the publishing house, Quirk Books, refers to the new book as "the second installment." Oh well. You know I'll read it.

I just finished Walter Mosley's All I Did Was Shoot My Man, which was a fabulous spring break book. I like Mosley a lot. I first read and loved Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and Walking the Dog--two collections of short stories about the same characters, focusing on Socrates Fortlow, an ex-con trying to build a life now that he's served his time and he's out. I love how important place--LA, actually, though a very different LA than the one I'm visiting--is in these books, and really in all of Mosley's. All I Did Was Shoot My Man is a very recent novel, a mystery, which is what he's known for--though I've read almost all his other books, and only a few of the mysteries. I'm not so into mysteries. But it was fun. I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters, but I think that's me and not Mosley.

So there's some of the stuff I've read lately. Now I have two more choices for the rest of spring break: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, or I Am J by Cris Beam. That's what I brought with me.

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