Sunday, July 1, 2018

June Reading Wrap-Up

In the month of June I covered four states- Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. Through Bread Loaf, a quilting retreat, Disney and a few days here and there at home I always brought my books along. Always the same books, because I was busy and didn't have a lot to read, but always with the books.

In May I was in California and picked up Her Mother's Mother's Mother & Her Daughters, by Maria José Silveira. It's a kind of history of Brazil told through a multigenerational story of the women of a family that starts with first contact between indigenous people and the Portuguese and continues to the modern era. It's a series of interrelated character sketches, heavy on exposition and light on an overall narrative apart from the narrative of Brazil and its growth and development. I started it in a hotel in SF and finished it at a hotel in Orlando about a month later. It was a wonderful travel companion. Translated from the Portuguese.

Hideo Yokoyama's crime drama Six Four was a long long book but ultimately rewarding. It's not so much a crime novel as a novel about crime if that makes sense. Mikami, a police press spokesman, tries to wrangle police department politics alongside an unofficial investigation into an unsolved killing while struggling to hold his marriage together after his own daughter disappears. I liked it but it was more character-driven than most crime novels. The characterizations were rich and what kept me reading was how involved I got with Mikami's point of view. Translated from the Japanese.

I finally read Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared; he's one of my favorite writers; his books are just so uniformly good. He is particularly good at drawing young people and this book was as terrifying as it was mundane; a young boy out playing finds another boy, a kidnapped child being held prisoner by people who are closer to him than he thinks. Dealing with this secret occupies the majority of the book, which is slender and ends in tragedy. Translated from the Italian.

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, is coming out in August and has the potential to be a big book. It's both a long book and a gripping murder mystery. The mystery at its core isn't so much about the killing as it is about the protagonist, Kya Clark, a young woman growing up in isolation and ostracism in 1960s North Carolina. The narrative shifts between Kya's childhood and adolescence and later, the death of a man she knows. Owens plays with the reader's expectations in different ways and delivers a crazy-good read. Look for it soon.

I didn't finish any audiobooks in June but I probably will finish my current read, Code Girls, before the next month is out. I'll keep you posted!

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