Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/2/13

I am excited to be a part of the conversation at #IMWAYR! Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting this meme.

I read some "big" books this week - Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things was massive in scope and heft and Elizabeth Wein's Rose Under Fire tackles some of the most difficult human experiences and emotions imaginable. I love books that ask questions that I can't easily answer.

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles by Tanya Lee Stone is a stunning nonfiction narrative about the first African American paratroopers who fought in World War II.  Stone combines photographs, primary sources and interviews with members of the Triple Nickles to tell a pretty incredible story that has not been told in its entirety before. I was riveted from start to finish. Detailed endnotes and a fascinating foreward by Ashley Bryan round out this unique offering.

Sally Gardner's Maggot Moon is startling, disturbing and beautifully written.  At first it feels a lot like The Hunger Games - Standish Treadwell lives in Zone 7 in a world that is tightly controlled by the "Motherland."  His parents and best friend have been disappeared and it seems that he will be the next to go.  Standish has dyslexia and two different colored eyes, making him an outcast and extremely vulnerable in this harsh society.  When he discovers a deeply troubling secret behind a concrete wall, he must make a decision that will forever alter (or perhaps end) his life.  What's unusual and genre-defying about this book is that it reads like dystopia, but actually takes place in the 1950s.  Standish is no Katniss - he is not powerful or heroic in the traditional sense, but the choices he makes are heartbreaking in their altruism.  This is a very thought provoking read and would make for a great book discussion title.

Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity was one of my favorite books last year, so I was beyond thrilled when I scored an advanced reader copy of the companion novel, Rose Under Fire, through NetGalley.   Although Rose Under Fire isn't as shocking and surprising as Code Name Verity from a literary standpointit is equally (or perhaps more so) affecting.  The narrator, Rose, is an American pilot who has been captured in German territory.  Sent to Ravensbrück, she survives because of the friendships she forges with other prisoners.  The concentration camp scenes are truly horrific and one is left with a deep sense of sorrow at the close of this book.  

Finally, I'll keep it brief about the two adult books I read this week.  Thanks to my friend Sally for the loan of Margaret from Maine, a modern-day home front war story with a moral question (which was surprisingly easy for me to answer) and Elizabeth Gilbert's new, sweeping saga The Signature of All Things.  I never would have guessed that this was written by the author of Eat, Pray, Love, but in retrospect, both books transported me completely to their settings.  If you love massive, all encompassing historical fiction, The Signature of All Things is for you!

Happy reading to all!

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