As I mentioned at the end of June, I was ready to begin a new month by reading something non-fiction with less of a death-and-destruction theme. This humorous and self-deprecating memoir about marriage fit both criteria! This one has been on my Kindle for many months, but I felt the time was right to be reminded about how God’s gift of marriage can be both frustrating and hilarious at times, and ultimately rewarding as you live life with your best friend.
I have LOVED Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing ever since I experienced her Pulitzer Prize winning book of short stories Interpreter of Maladies over 10 years ago. Her three other novels and books of short stories have been ones I’ve loved as well. This short memoir, which also sat on my Kindle for many months, was a departure from her typical fiction writing, as she describes a long and devoted journey of learning how to read, write, and speak Italian. Her ultimate decision to move to Rome to fully immerse herself with the language and culture was met with ups and downs, and this memoir was crafted from these experiences. The novel was written fully in Italian, translated back into English by Ann Goldstein, and even though Lahiri has returned to the U.S., she continues to pursue Italian, her chosen third language.
Had I not already known her writer’s voice, this would have been a tough initiation for a first-time read, but I applaud her adventurous pursuit and publishing something new, different, and vulnerable.
I love John Green and would venture a guess that most librarians have equally strong devotion to this wildly popular young adult author. The term “young adult” didn’t really exist when I was a teen, except for authors like Judy Blume and Lois Duncan, whom we now view as trailblazers in defining and opening up a door for content like this to become a genre.
That being said, in my teen years I did a pretty good job of self-censoring what I read and Looking for Alaska would have definitely fallen into this category. I’ve previously read Paper Towns (so far my favorite of Green’s) and The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, there’s foul language, teenage sex, and use of underage substances, but the award-winning Mr. Green also paints his characters with complexity, angst, longing, and desires to be known. Two decades removed from my teens, I can now read stories like these and appreciate how these universal themes draw not only adolescents, but readers of all ages to his writing.
Stories about the love of books and reading are hard for me to resist. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikery by Gabriella Zevin being another. However, I found it difficult to connect and immerse myself into this one. The overall plot was sweet, the characters quirky and likable, but the flow of the plot was slow and it took me longer than usual to finish this debut from Swedish author Bivald.
It’s safe to say Rachel Hauck is my new favorite inspirational fiction author. I most recently read the standalone novel The Wedding Dress in May , along with her Songbird Novel Series (trilogy) a year or so ago. Her plots feature sweet characters who live ordinary lives, but have some kind of special, divine encounter along the way. She weaves together earthly love stories with God’s eternal love for his children. I look forward to working my way through the remaining three books that follow in The Royal Wedding Series!