As the new year unfolds, I’m trying to make better habits. Be more productive. Do the dishes more often. Figure out how to schedule a few miles on the treadmill into my week. And of course, commit to sharing more of the great books I’ve been reading with you all here. So, here’s to (hopefully) updating this blog with a bit more regularity. But for now, I’ll tell you about some of the latest books I’ve read or am currently reading. Also, if you want to follow along on goodreads, you can find me here https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/37032698-laura-kendall
The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
It’s a little premature to say this is one of my favorite books of the year, but I’m inclined to say I might still feel that way when the year closes. I loved the initial concept of this book: four siblings visit a woman who predicts when they will each die. The book is written in segments with each of the four siblings as the primary character, and it explores how knowing when they will die effects how they live their lives. There is romance, and magic, and a very real portrayal of sibling relationships. This book will break your heart and put it back together so many times. I give this one five stars for sure.
The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert
Although I’m not constantly read Young Adult books, I like to keep my finger on the pulse and read some now and then. I mean, how else can I know what to recommend to my customers? This fantastical novel is a bit further from reality than a lot of the YA books I read (I adore John Green, for one), but I was curious about it after hearing a ton of buzz from other booksellers. Plus, that beautiful cover beckoned. In the story Alice romanticizes her grandmother, an eclectic fairy tale author whom her mother has never allowed her to meet. She’s never even gotten to read the book her grandmother wrote aside from a few stolen lines. But then her mother goes missing and a page from the book appears on her bed. This book was full of adventure and mystery, and I am now quite excited for the other books in the series, which are set to be published in the next few years. (this one releases on January 30th)
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
This is a book that I’d heard about for years but somehow never read, so I finally took the plunge. It’s a quick read as it’s just over a hundred pages, and it’s a collection of short vignettes not more than a few pages each. Cisneros brings the life a low-income Latino neighborhood in Chicago. The narrator Esperanza is young and somewhat naïve, so doesn’t always see the ugliness of what is happening around her. The vignettes in this book illustrate the inconsistencies across race and income lines.
They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, by Hanif Abdurraqib
I’ve had the please of seeing Hanif read twice in the last year, and if you ever see his name on a poster, GO. Although Hanif has a poetry collection, this latest is a collection of essays, at least according to the publisher. Hanif likes to describe these essays that intertwine music and race as “longer poems.” Although the language is poetic, they are formatted in a way that’s not alienating for those who aren’t fans of poetry. What I love about this book is the vast array of music that is analyzed through the lens of Black identity. Hanif writes about musicians like Prince and Bruce Springsteen, but also ones like Carly Rae Jepson. Often the essays seem tangential, but somehow he always brings things together to bring you his message, and every piece ends with a line that makes your heart beat harder in your chest.