Saturday, March 10, 2012

What We're Reading at Our House - 6, part 2

In my last post I mentioned my youth lit reads. I also plucked some adult lit to mix things up a bit. Here's what stood out.

First up, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. I totally forgot that Patti mentioned it during the ALA Youth Media Awards chat and said she put it down because she knew it would be too sad. Patti, I think you should reconsider!

I loved it. It takes place over 12 days surrounding Hurricane Katrina and the lives of a 15 year old teen and her brothers who live in a Mississippi swamp. We know the devastation of Katrina and that just added to the tension. Forget food - get out! Esch and Skeetah are a sister/brother team that will stay with me for a long time. Check this one out. I read it in a day.

An excellent choice for a 2012 Alex Award Winner. *below for a slight spoiler that could be the Patti deal-breaker.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan earned this Pulitzer Prize this past year.  Two people, a music executive and his assistant, are the common thread in the multiple stories of other people that build this novel. We don't get the story in chronological order and sometimes it takes until the next chapter to figure out how the previous chapter's character fulfills his/her part of the larger story. It's a fun ride with lots of rock and punk references. I liked this one better than Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. The section of the novel with the most striking impact for me was the power point presentation by the tween daughter. (Go figure.)

Now State of Wonder by Ann Patchett involved a bit of a leap for me. Yes, I thought it was excellent. It was my first Patchett novel even though friends have suggested her for years. I checked it out after seeing it on some Best of 2011 list and without much knowledge of its plot. Turns out it's about doctors developing medicines in the Brazilian rainforest. Huh. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I quickly became engrossed. Rather fascinating.

Finally, I'm trying to add more contemporary poetry to my reading. This month I read Kay Ryan's The Best of It. Kay Ryan was our poet laureate from 2008-2010. She was recommended in an interview with Sherman Alexie so I took that as another good sign. The poems are short and I found them very accessible. Here's a NYT review with a copy of the (excellent) title poem included.

*P.S.  re: Gordon Korman's excellent YA novel about the animal on the cover. But it's sooooo good.


joanna said...

Thanks to e lockhart's tweet, I almost forgot the Tournament of Books. Salvage the Bones was in yesterday's round. Swamplandia! and The Marriage Plot are also part of the discussion. Check it out here:

Patti said...

Ahhh! I just don't know if I can do it! Maybe when I can concentrate better.

were you referencing No More Dead Dogs?

joanna said...

Yes. And there's Pit Bull dog fighting which isn't pretty either. But it is so good! Did I mention that enough? This is my state of mind: there is a giant white dog on the cover and I thought 1/2 way through reading it, "Oh, it's a dog book." HELLO.