Here’s a quick glimpse into a few current reads. All links are affiliate.
Marilla of Green Gables — Sarah McCoy
I loved this look into Marilla Cuthbert’s world long before Anne Shirley. As a writer, I was impressed with the courage to take on such a beloved and well-known world. Sarah McCoy did so marvelously and with such reverence. There are well-placed nods to the Marilla we know from LM Montgomery’s books — her friendship with Rachel Lynde, her amethyst brooch, her need for order, her headaches, her connection to the orphanage in Nova Scotia, and the small mention of a girlish romance with Gilbert’s father, John. I was especially struck by the roles of regret and loss in Marilla’s story, and their working toward redemption that is most fully discovered in a red-headed orphan girl. A lovely tribute to a well-loved series.
A Circle of Quiet — Madeleine L’Engle
I’d been meaning to read this book for ages and finally dug in last month when I learned L’Engle would have celebrated her 100th birthday on November 29th. The first of her Crosswicks Journal books, it reads like a letter / journal / stream-of-consciousness collection of observations during a summer at her Connecticut home. L’Engle writes about motherhood and marriage and writing and teaching and faith. Some parts were odd and others were dated, but I found L’Engle’s observations and thought processes interesting and encouraging, such as this: I try to remember…when I dump an entire draft of a novel into the wastepaper basket. It isn’t wasted paper. It’s my five-finger exercises. It’s necessary practicing before the performance. My favorite is still her Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness — Austin Channing Brown
I picked this up one evening and finished it the following afternoon. It’s just that compelling. The book opens with young Austin learning her parents named her “to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man” so she’ll have equal footing with other candidates. It’s her first glimpse into the reality of racial injustice. I learned a lot from this book. I found corners of my heart and mind that I didn’t know existed, corners that need examination and change. Awareness isn’t enough. Transformation is what’s needed. I’m grateful for this important read.
The Likeness — Tana French
This was my second Tana French book (the first was The Secret Place). In this one, former undercover officer Cassie Maddox discovers a woman who looks just like her has recently been murdered — and has an ID with the name Lexie Madison, the same name Cassie had used undercover. Lexie’s friends, whom she lived with and who are now suspects, are told Lexie was injured but didn’t die. Cassie goes undercover as Lexie, returning to their communal home. I enjoy books where readers know things other characters don’t and was fascinated by all the ways Cassie could have been tripped up or uncovered. The story held plenty of great storytelling murkiness once Cassie stepped into Lexie’s world and developed connections with her friends.
The Bigfoot Files — Lindsay Eagar
It’s no secret I’m a huge Lindsay Eagar fan. I’ve read all her books, interviewed her here twice and have included one of her titles in a Quick Lit post before. Her newest is just as strong as the others. Seventh grader Miranda Cho no longer believes in Bigfoot. She finds her cryptozoologist mother’s obsession disruptive, irresponsible, and embarrassing. Miranda agrees to one final trip to the woods to show her mother what’s true and what isn’t, only things don’t go as planned. As always, Lindsay’s books read like love letters to storytelling. Her work inspires me to write great things!
I was a huge fan of the Guiness Book of World Records as a kid, so when I saw this book about conjoined twins Eng and Chang Bunker listed on NPR’s Best Books of 2018, I knew I had to read it. What fascinating lives these men lived! Brought to the US at eighteen after signing a contract that essentially left them as property, their curiosity shows took the world by storm. Eng and Chang eventually gained their freedom, became southern landowners, married sisters, and had twenty-one children between them. I’m intrigued by all things nineteenth century, and pairing that interest with a childhood fascination made this a wonderful read.
What have you been reading lately?