Monday, January 11, 2016

January Reads

To be perfectly honest, I did not read all three of these books in January. Otherwise, I would have had to read three books in ten days, which is simply not possible. At least not for me! These three books comprised my holiday reading list, and I have to say that I was not disappointed. 

The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
I selected this book on a whim from our local library, intrigued by its author's credentials (Iowa Writer's Workshop, a Fulbright scholarship, all the spectacular whistles and bells). Jackson's colorful  portrayal of life in Barbados is reminiscent of one of my favorite writers: Zora Neale Hurston. Set in the late 1980s, the novel follows two young girls who leave New York to live with their grandmother in Barbados. Their coming-of-age story explores some hefty topics: mental illness, culture clashes, American identity, family, and young love to name a few. I completely agree with all of the newspapers and critics singing Jackson's praises; it's a spectacularly well-written book. 

Dead Wake by Erik Larson
I cannot stress how much I enjoyed this book or how highly I recommend it. The story of the Lusitania is one I thought I knew but wow was I mistaken. In my middle and high school history textbooks, the significance of this regal ship was relegated to a stingy paragraph, glossed over as America's impetus for entering the First World War. No glossing over in this book. Instead, Larson dives into the story-- bringing to life a world of finery and gallantry that clashed against the modern, terrible machines of war. This book had me gasping out loud one second, crying in another, and sputtering in outrage the next-- it's an amazing story that will boggle the mind. Easily one of the best books I've read lately. 

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
I had some mixed feelings about this book. I've always been a huge fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, I mean who isn't? So I was both excited and nervous for Lee's illusive other novel. While decent in its own right, to me, this novel wasn't as well-executed as the classic To Kill A Mockingbird. Although I did love getting a glimpse into grown-up Scout Finch's life and enjoyed Lee's honest, bare-knuckles handling of the South during the Civil-Rights era.

What's on your reading list? 


  1. Oooh, I'm so glad to see Star Side of Bird Hill getting more love. I loved that one, but feel like I haven't seen many people talking about it! I might have to look for Larson's for my next nonfiction pick... just as soon as I finish the 800 page behemoth that is Hamilton (which is also incredibly, surprisingly detailed and readable).

    1. Wasn't the Star Side of Bird Hill so good? I was very impressed. It reminded me somewhat of Hurston but I'm such a Hurston fan I may be biased! Thanks for reading!


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