Recent Reads / 09

I’m back! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and especially awhile since I’ve done a Recent Reads post.

We’re 4 months into 2019, and I’ve got lofty reading goals. I hit the ground running, and I’ve already read 25 books using mostly my Libby and Audible accounts for ebooks and audiobooks. Of the 25 books I’ve experienced so far, here are 6 that stand out.

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The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
Denis Johnson

A book of short stories that made it on so many of last year’s best lists. I loved it, and it was fun to experience a contemporary work of literature with high literary merit.

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On the Come Up
Angie Thomas

Bri is 16 years old and the daughter of a rap legend who was murdered years ago. While working through her family trauma and managing her workload as a student, she’s also trying to break into the music industry on her own merits.

Bri is a complex protagonist who is at times a bit frustrating, but Thomas is so good at letting her character struggle in a realistic and redemptive way. It would have been easy for Thomas to coast or follow a similar framework for The Hate U Give, but she didn’t. She wrote a killer stand-alone novel that is just as good as her first. Read it!


Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
Dani Shapiro

Shapiro decided to take a DNA test on a whim after her husband had taken his. Why not? But once she received her results, her whole life changed.

These increasingly-frequent stories of genealogy tests gone wrong fascinate me. How can you move on? What do you do once you find out? Shapiro’s account is contemplative, reflective, journalistic, and incredibly intimate.


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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Loved this. An epistolary novel set just after World War II about the island community of Guernsey and its fictional literary society.

It’s definitely better than the Netflix version, although both the beautiful scenery and characters helped me picture the setting.

The background on the author also captivated me: Mary Ann Shaffer started writing the novel but grew too ill to complete it in her lifetime. Since she knew she would be unable to finish, she asked her niece Annie Barrows to see her novel to completion and publication.


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Parker: Selected Stories by Dorothy Parker
Narrated by Elaine Stritch

Dorothy Parker read by Broadway legend Elaine Stritch! So much fun and one of the best audiobooks ever.

Parker’s stories are works of high literary merit, wit, and humor, mostly about high society New York women, their men, and their men’s mistresses. She makes Betty Draper’s desperation seem amateur.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman

Weirdly wonderful and surprisingly touching.

A man returns to his childhood home for a funeral and remembers a friendship from his early years. It’s fantasy, so be prepared for that. It reminded me of both Big Fish and A Wrinkle in Time.


Looking for more great book recommendations? Here are all my past Recent Reads posts.

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