Sometimes you read a book because someone you love wants you to read a book ... and this turned out to be really fun. (Which is a good thing because I have now read the whole series!) Imagine The Bachelor meets Cinderella meets The Hunger Games, although Cass says her real inspiration came from Queen Esther of the Bible: she married a king, but what if before she met him she was in love with the boy next door? Cass's stories have great narrative drive—they keep you turning the pages and were excellent beach/travel reads for my daughter and me. More info →
I've been meaning to read this essay collection since it came out last September, and picked up my own copy at Politics and Prose in April. It's a keeper. McPhee is a masterful narrative nonfiction writer. He's been working for decades; I first encountered his work in the 2013 New Yorker piece Structure, which appears in this collection. As a reader and a writer, I found these behind-the-scenes glimpses of how he researches, assembles, and edits his work absolutely fascinating. More info →
I called this one of the 20 books everyone will be talking about this summer, and yep, it's everywhere. As it should be. Twelve different Native American characters of different ages and backgrounds are all headed to the inaugural Big Oakland Powwow at the Oakland Coliseum. Orange says he wrote this novel to capture the contemporary urban Native experience and to "try to honor and express fully all that it entails to be Native and be from Oakland," and I'm amazed at how each distinct voice (all twelve of them!) rings true, and how he weaves the disparate storylines together. This book is so well done. It was also a TOUGH read for me, with triggers galore, and it gave me actual nightmares about gun violence. More info →
I've been following Silas House's career ever since a friend raved about his YA debut Eli the Good. I would have loved to have heard him speak at his big launch event here in Louisville, but alas—I was out of town, and took this book along. The story centers on Asher Sharp, a Pentecostal preacher in rural Tennessee. When a flood devastates his community, he offers shelter to two gay men—and his congregation's reaction prompts a crisis of faith, and a public meltdown, the video of which goes viral. In the aftermath he flees to Key West (hence the title) to deal with unfinished business from his past. Warm and reflective, with House's familiar beautiful prose. More info →
When I told you I finally read my first Elinor Lipman novel, you all chimed in with your Lipman favorites—and this was the winner (though you warned me it's not a book I would pick up based on the cover!). The story centers on three former high school classmates, now in their early thirties, who move back to their small hometown and struggle to find their place in the world—something they were sure they'd have figured out by now. This book is 25 years old, but its themes still feel fresh. More info →
What have YOU been reading lately? Link up your post below, or tell us all about it in comments!