What Strange Paradise – Boats filled with migrants continue to land on an unnamed tourist resort, supposedly somewhere in America. Amir, a young boy, survives, and a young girl from the island makes it her mission to get him on another journey, so he doesn’t end up at the migrant camps on the shore. Each chapter is either “before” Amir gets to the island, or “after’ he does. Scathing view of America from the eyes of the boat people at the helm. Great read.
Somebody’s Daughter – Ashely Ford’s father has been in jail for over twenty years, most of her life. Ford shares her personal coming-of-age story having relatively zero connection with a man who was always the elephant in her room growing up.
The Tastemakers Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America – Great book. Really well-researched book threading together these seven women whose impact is felt in our daily life. Great read.
We Are Not Like Them – A young Black man is gunned down by a white policeman. The policeman’s wife is best friends with a Black female reporter covering the story. It is about race, relationships, friendship, achieving, and a litany of things. I could be tightened up, and I am not sure I liked the characters, but the storyline should be written and read more often.
Lemon – Kwon Yeo-Sun is a renowned author in Korea. Lemon is her first book translated into English. It is a bit confusing, but it kept turning the days until the end. A story of a young girl murdered but not forgotten.
Foster Mom: A Journey of Self-Discovery – I get Francine’s weekly email, and she commented on the book she wrote. I immediately picked it up. Nothing is shocking, but Francine wanted to save these kids. No matter what she did, she couldn’t save them from themselves. All she really could do was be there and love them. The baggage that comes with many foster children from their birth parents’ homes is not pretty. Not sure what the answer is, but the circle mostly continues no matter who tries to save the youngsters.
Crossroads – Jonathan Franzen could be the best write of our times. This is the first of a trilogy. Nobody else can write as in-depth about characters as he can. Epic family dysfunctionality. This book has the same feeling as The Corrections, another winner. I can hardly wait for the second installment to come out. I put everything down to read when Franzen’s books come out.
The Pessimists – Quick read. Thought about putting it down at one point but persevered. Life in the burbs, unhappy marriages, children finding themselves, private school whackos, and just life in general.
Taste: My Life Through Food – Stanley Tucci is amazing. I loved it!
The War For Gloria Atticus Lish – Corey, a 15-year-old boy’s single mother, Gloria, is diagnosed with ALS. As Corey accelerates into adulthood and Gloria gets sicker, the reader is pulled into their world. Their world is about people living on the fringes and how the cycle continues. I wanted a fairy tale ending but don’t we all?
Damnation Spring – Novel set in a small logging community in Northern California 1970. A dwindling industry, an industry wreaking havoc, and the communities we never heard about. Stellar debut novel.