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October Book

Happy Fall, everyone! As I write this the Midwest is sweating under 90 degree heat, even though leaves are starting to fall. Let’s hope while you’re reading this it’s more fall-like out there, and hopefully a more perfect setting for our spooky October book: The Night Bird by Brian Freeman. A Chicago native, Brian Freeman worked in Marketing and Public Relations before becoming an author. He made his debut with the crime thriller Immoral in 2005. Since then he’s written over a dozen thrillers following the stories of different investigators; Jonathan Stride, Cab Bolton, and Frost Easton. And the first (so far only) of the Frost Easton series is The Night Bird. As Freeman describes it: “Frost Easton is a Homicide Inspector in the dramatic locale of San Francisco. He’s young, with a sexy shock of swept-back brown hair, a neat beard, and laser-like blue eyes.  He’s unattached, except for his cat, Shack, who patrols the city with him. Think Justin Timberlake with a gun, and you’ve got Frost.” It seems like a bit of a stretch. …

The Perfect Diary

I read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in three sittings and probably three hours. It is a FAST read. Fast enough that when I reached the end I thought I couldn’t possibly be finished. Not that the ending wasn’t satisfying, because it was. But there was something that felt incomplete to me. I liked how it ended, but I wanted more. In fact, I felt that way about the book overall. I wanted a little something more than what I got. I frequently felt like I was missing something. Sometimes it was details that seemed to be eluding me. Sometimes it felt like I was making huge leaps in time without anything in between. At the end of the book I was pleased, but also felt like so many areas were left open. All the plot points weren’t tied up in a neat little bow. And then…. And then I thought about the title again. The Absolutely True DIARY of a Part-Time Indian. And then I thought about who was writing this diary …

The Underdog

I really didn’t know what to expect with this book. As someone who judges books by their covers, I’ll say that the cover art set my expectations fairly low. But I was intrigued by the mixture of novel and illustrations. At exactly 230 pages I FLEW through this book. Between the pacing, illustrations, quick-read story, and short chapters, I think I read it in under 48 hours. I loved Junior, the main character. He was the epitome of underdog. And his outlook on things, beautiful. Despite all the shit, he ended up hopeful. The luxury that it might be, it was nice to read a book for a change that left you feeling hopeful. Sometimes I feel like a lot of the fiction out there is the dark and scary type. And with the state of the world as it is I don’t feel like I need to spend all of my reading time further depressed. I can’t say I’d recommend this book to my peers (30 somethings) as a must read…  it’s not tremendously …

September Book

September marks a change in pace. New weather (so glad fall is almost here!), and a new school year. So we’re changing it up, too. This month we’ve picked something that’s been on many schools’ required reading lists (and taken off many) since it’s publication in 2007: The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney, this young adult novel follows the story of Arnold Spirit Jr., a unique protagonist. He’s a 14-year-old amateur cartoonist living on the Spokane Indian Reservation who goes by “Junior.” The story begins when he makes the controversial decision to venture off the reservation to go to an all-white high school in a border town. The son of two alcoholics, a victim of bullying, and the epitome of awkward; Junior’s story is endearing, brave, funny, and a coming of age story for the ages. This is the first YA novel by Alexie, who’s had careers in stand-up comedy, screenwriting, film production, songwriting, and other fiction genres. The Absolute True Diary of a …

Real and Raw

Brit Bennett can certainly craft a story. I was sucked in to Oceanside almost immediately and then spent the next few days reading while tears pricked the back of my eyes. It wasn’t that the book was sad, per se, though elements of it were heartbreaking for sure. It was more that each person’s story felt so real and so raw. I felt for Nadia, Aubrey, Robert, and Luke… even when they were making decisions that were frustrating or awful. I think the narrative voice Bennett used had a great deal to do with it. As a reader, I knew enough about the characters to understand their motivation, even when their literary counterparts couldn’t. {SPOILER ALERT} Even during Nadia and Luke’s affair, an act I generally have absolutely no sympathy for, I could see how it happened. While I wasn’t rooting for them, I wasn’t as angry with them either. I also thought that having an abortion be the driving force of the story was an interesting choice. Mostly because as much as the book …