I saw somewhere recently that this has been a big shelter-in-place book. Have you read it, too? My first Ann Patchett novel, I listened to the audio version, which was narrated by Tom Hanks. It’s a family story that centers around the house where the narrator and his sister grew up (and were asked to leave by their stepmother, once their father died). It meanders over decades and memories and reads like real life. I couldn’t help wondering how someone plans a book with so many moving parts.
British author Karen McCrombie kindly sent me copies of her Little Bird books a few months ago. As I was working on May B., she was working on the second book in the duology, Little Bird Lands. Set on a fictional Highlands island, Bridie and her family are driven from their Scottish home by a cruel new laird — and ultimately arrive in America. I interviewed Karen last month on the blog. Click through to learn more!
I’ll say up front this was not an easy read. Ever since learning the story of Victor of Aveyron, I’ve been fascinated with stories about children who have lived apart from society. The stories in this book are tragic but many offer hope. A study on what it means to be human and our responsibility toward others (and the complex motivations behind and limitations of those caring for these children).
Rebecca Behrens is a master at writing tightly plotted middle grade. Like her 2019 novel The Disaster Days, Alone in the Woods (publishing this fall) is a survival story, this time set in the Wisconsin wilderness. The deeper readers go into the woods with Joss and Alex, the more they’ll be rooting for the girls’ survival — and the salvaging of their friendship.
This book has been on my shelf forever, and when stay-at-home orders were first issued, my mom told me she couldn’t stop thinking of it. Year of Wonders is the story of an English town that self quarantines during the Black Plague to further stop its spread. It’s beautiful and tragic and hopeful. I’m so glad I waited to read it until this very moment. Book 6/15 for my Clear Your Shelves Challenge.
I picked up this quirky, funny book written in the thirties for a book club read. It came along just when I needed something light. Flora Poste, orphaned at 19, goes to live with her strange relatives, the Starkadders, at Cold Comfort farm (where the cows are named Graceless, Pointless, Feckless, and Aimless). I Googled the title as I was reading and learned it was meant to be a send up of English romantic novels. I found myself highlighting dozens of humorous lines, like this one:
Mrs. Smiling’s second interest was her collection of brassieres and her search for a perfect one. She was reputed to have the largest and finest collection of these garments in the world. It was hoped that on her death it would be left to the nation.
What have you recently read?