Between my commute on the train and our week spent in Hawaii, I’ve been able to plow through more books than usual lately. I know I’m always on the look out for good recommendations (that don’t resemble Jane Austen), so i thought I’d share some of my favorite reads as of late.
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
“The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky. It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths.”
I studied some of Hurston’s short stories in an African American Lit. class just before I graduated. Needless to say, some of the dialect in this piece is tough to get through at first but after a few chapters you begin to get the hang of it and the language makes it more than worth it.
The Fault in our Stars – John Green
“Isaac kept attacking the trophies, jumping on them with both feet, screaming, breathless, sweaty, until finally he collapsed on top of the jagged trophic remnants.
Augustus stepped toward him and looked down. ‘Feel better? he asked.
‘No,’ Isaac mumbled, his chest heaving.
‘That’s the thing about pain,’ Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. ‘It demands to be felt.”
This was definitely an entertaining story about a dark topic–cancer (which is probably how it ended up on the New York Times bestseller list). But… I think I struggled with it a bit because the author is a young guy writing from a young girl’s perspective and refers to things like t-shirts as “blouses.” I’d definitely borrow this one from the library.
Okay for Now – Gary D. Schmidt
“On Saturday mornings during deliveries, I’d practice picking out new words in Jane Eyre, sounding out the ones that needed sounding out–and I’m not lying, there were plenty. ‘A new servitude! There is something in that, ‘I soliloquized.’ I mean, who talks like that? Do you know how long it takes to sound out a word like soliloquized? And Even after you do, you have no idea what the stupid word means except that it probably just means ‘said,’ which is what stupid Charlotte Bronte should have said in the first place.
Schmidt is incredible. I hadn’t read anything this pithy yet emotional in quite a while. I think I even bought this one for my grandma for Christmas and when you’re recommending books to Grandma–you better mean business.
Peace Like a River- Leif Enger
“Once in my life I knew a grief so hard I could actually hear it inside, scraping at the lining of my stomach, an audible ache, dredging with hooks as rivers are dredged when someone’s been missing too long.”
Good friends recommend good books and this is one I was recommended and have since been recommending to people I’ve known for five minutes. Literally. Peace like a River was quite a surprising read actually. It mixes a world of fantastic faith, the extraordinary, and western outlaws into something truly beautiful. If you’re in the market for your next read, I’d put this one at the top of your list.