The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This was the monthly selection for Book Club 1 and my “best of” this month. I loved it. As you might have heard, I’m not a pet person. Narrated by a dog, this story doesn’t seem like my kind of thing. But Garth Stein uses the dog to provide great insights on relationships and loss and the courage to carry on.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This was the monthly selection for Book Club 2. It had been raved about by friends, so it suffered a bit from my unrealistically high expectations. I liked, but didn’t love, this book about the end of the world as we know it after a pandemic kills 99% of the world’s population and sets technology back several decades. Certain characters – and a renewed dedication to hand washing – stuck with me long after the final page.
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak
This collection of 50+ short stories, ranging from super short to modestly long, is delightful. Read it! But, be warned: the essays in this book are like potato chips. You only plan to indulge in a few but then you “just one more” your way through more than you intended. Not every story was a win for me but there were far more winners than losers. Novak has that thing all great comics have – the ability to draw humor and truth and insight out of a scene in equal measure.
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
I read this book aloud to Son (8 years old) and his love for this artfully written story was contagious. I love any book that has my kid asking to squeeze in a chapter during every free moment. I was surprised how much he liked it since the plot was slow to develop and complex in parts. But, Oscar and Callie are lovable characters that carry the weight during the slow parts.
Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman
Assigned reading for my memoir class, this book alternates between the author’s voice and his incarcerated brother’s voice to tell a powerful story of a family, a crime, and the system we call “justice.” There is lots to celebrate in this book but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the typeface in which this impressive book is printed is brutal to read.
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
An exploration of people and place, and the physical damage inflicted on both. While I preferred the people sections to the bird sections, Terry Tempest Williams’ prose is beautiful in all sections.