Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Reading List

If you're going away for spring break, hopefully you will have a chance to read on your flight, or on the beach, or wherever you're headed! We're going to Disney World next week (with both munchkins!!) so I know I will not have the leisure of reading... I'm even leaving my kindle at home. But these are some great books I've enjoyed in the last month, and a couple that are on my list to read next.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell may seem like a young adult novel, but just because it's about teenagers doesn't mean it's just for teenagers. I really enjoyed this witty, emotional novel about an off-the-beat romance between two kids who fall for each other on the bus ride home to school. Eleanor is new to the neighborhood, and with her wild red hair and funky outfits, she is having trouble fitting in. She meets Park, a comic lover who is the outcast of his sports-heavy family. Their bus rides home together are the start of this somewhat awkward and intense pair's love story. Reminiscent of the all consuming weight of a first love, difficult teenage years, and the hopeful but confusing time of adolescence, this book has so many universal themes that are relevant to all of us who've survived high school. Plus, the banter and dialogue is perfect:

"Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we're 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be."

I just started The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, but am so far intrigued by the mysterious writing and I love that it's set in New York. This novel is about two unlikely friends who have a soul-centered, mystical connection. This is a fantastical story but also historical fiction, if you are into that. My review coming soon. 

Still Life with Bread Crumbs is by Anna Quindlen, author of One True Thing, which I enjoyed very much. Similarly, this book is written with a quiet but powerful voice, kindling many emotions in the reader - from empathy to comfort, as the protagonist is a very real and likeable woman. Rebecca Winter, a divorced woman, must re-invent herself at age 60. Previously a famous photographer, she is no longer able to earn money as she did in the past, and has to give up her Manhattan apartment to move to a cottage and care for her aging parents. Her outlook on life, great energy and new love story are inspiring and refreshing to read about.

Lastly, I'd highly recommend The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd. I finished this book last weekend and have found myself repeatedly thinking about it as days go by. This book is told from the voice of two young women -- a wealthy white girl named Sarah, who has dreamed of becoming a lawyer and ending slavery, and her slave girl, Handful, who pays a steep price when she is taught to read. This is a historical fiction, but truly told as a story that unfolds with so much sorrow, passion and inspiration, that it will leave you hanging and breathless on every page. Kidd is an excellent writer, and every woman will see herself in both main characters -- one struggling for freedom from slavery, the other struggling for freedom from oppression and sexism. Beautifully written and fascinating all at once... this is a must read.

“All things pass in the end, even the worst melancholy. I opened my dresser and pulled out the lava box that held my button. My eyes glazed at the sight of it, and this time I felt my spirit rise up to meet my will. I would not give up. I would err on the side of audacity. That was what I'd always done.”

If you want some more ideas, take a look at my other reading lists herehere and here

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