I’ve been on a book-reading fiasco lately. It’s so ridiculously wonderful. I’ve been reading and writing for my thesis, which is about Toni Morrison (and food, what else?). I love Toni Morrison, but her work is certainly not light reading. And the critical work that surrounds her? My brain needs a break.
Here’s what I’ve been reading that I think you’ll like, too:
After the wedding, I got into The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I’d seen it in the bookstore for months, but finally stopped and looked at it. When the blurbs praised it for being reminiscent of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, and Harry Potter, I knew I had to have it.
The second and third Benedict Society books are really good, too. 4 orphaned genius-kids brought together by a kind, eccentric braniac to save the world from an evil twin. It’s mystery, it’s puzzles and clues, it’s adventure, and good old fashioned friendship stories.
Then, I found a whole huge stack of the American Girls books at Goodwill. I still have my Felicity books that I got when I was, oh, I don’t know, 9? 10? I’ve treasured them, and always wanted the other sets. I may be 25, but I’ve finally got a large part of the other sets. I went through Kirsten’s books on a rainy, cozy, Sunday afternoon.
Dustin and I went to the library just a few days ago, and I left with nothing but YA books and cookbooks. I think it’s all the academic reading I’ve done for the past 7 years–I want to read nothing but books that bring pleasure. Among the books I checked out, 3 of them were by Laurie Halse Anderson. I’ve heard really good things about her lately, so I started with Fever 1793. So good. I mean, there’s a lot of death by yellow fever (and the vomit that comes with it), but still. This is the kind of book I would have devoured with a kid (and definitely devoured as an ‘adult.’ I read it in a total of maybe 3 hours). It’s historically accurate, from the broad strokes of 1790s Philadelphia, the events surrounding the yellow fever epidemic, and right down to the narrow details, like what a 14-year old girl’s role would’ve been in a fatherless household, to what freed-slave families’ would’ve probably looked like. Love this book. It’s got a feminist-inspired message to it and lots of good history and science without beating kids over the head with a didactic ruler.
While at the library, Dustin and I read It’s a Book by Lane Smith together. It’s a picturebook, but it’s not the kind of picture book my mother would’ve bought me–the last line is (spoiler!) “It’s a book, jackass,” spoken by a book-loving bear to a technology-addled, well, jackass. It’s a pun, it’s whimsical and fun, but my mother drove me out to a dam the first time I said “damn,” so this book isn’t for everyone, I guess. There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding it–teachers who have brought it into the classroom only later to actually read the thing and get in trouble. Seems like reading it first would’ve been obvious, but apparently not.
I’m currently halfway into Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes and I’m totally digging it. It’s about a smart-as-a-whip 10-year old girl, her grandmother Mama Ya-Ya, and their 9th Ward New Orleans community right before and during Hurricana Katrena. It’s got mysticism, love, and a whole lot of heart. Haven’t finished it yet, but I know it’s going to be good.
What have you been reading?