It has been awhile since I have written about books so this post will be dedicated to several books that I recommend.
The first novel is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Oh my, is she a good storyteller! This is Patchett’s most recent piece of fiction, and in my opinion, timely in the sense that she deals with medical ethics in the story. Patchett has a way of drawing the reader quickly into her stories and creating believable characters. This novel has plenty of surprises so be prepared for the ride! (Bel Canto was this way too.) My one complaint about this novel is a scene near the end of the book. It involves sex ( not why I am complaining), and without giving away the storyline, I found myself saying, “Really?” as I read the scene. It felt contrived and lacking of any real consequences that I think would occur in a situation such as this. Read the story and see what you think.
The second novel is Maine by J Courtney Sullivan. This story is full of strong women characters and the Catholic Church plays prominently in several of the characters’ lives. In my experience, novels that that deal with the Catholic faith have characters who feel a lot of guilt. There is certainly this dynamic in the book, but Sullivan does a nice job of showing another side—one where the Church is a life-saver and a safe haven and genuine faith exists. This is especially true for the matriarch in the story. I found myself wanting to shake some of the characters for the choices they were making—a sign for me that the characters are portrayed as real people. I liked the complexity of the characters and their lives.
I am currently reading Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb, which a friend recommended a few years ago. It reminds me of Cutting for Stone (see June 8 post) in that part of the book is set in Ethiopia and the turmoil of that country is also evident in Sweetness in the Belly. I am not far enough along to say much more, but so far so good.
If you are looking for a great read-aloud, here’s a laugh-out-loud story of redemption. Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton has lovable characters with plenty of quirkiness. Set in modern-day, rural North Carolina, the novel tells of the hilarious ventures of 78-year-old Mattie Riggsbee. Although it has a few spots where parents will want to edit out foul language, the book is family-friendly. The moral lessons of the story are evident, such that nothing has to be explained to younger listeners.
Anyone have a good book recommendation?
I’ve read one of those! Sweetness in the Belly. I liked it a lot. My memory for detail in books is very short-term, unfortunately, so I’m not sure I could say more about *why* I liked it.
A more recent book I’ve read (although a few years old) and would recommend: Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. I learned about it from a book review lecture done by Robert Adams on TVO’s Big Ideas podcast (http://bigideas.tvo.org/): http://feeds.tvo.org/~r/tvobigideas/~3/ezWB4Ld7PHY/BI_Lecture_20091100_003411_RAdams_0x0_40k.mp3