NOS4A2

Author: Joe Hill Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2013 I read it: December 2017 NOS4A2 pushes nearly 700 pages, and yes, it’s possible to get through it between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Joe Hill is truly his father’s son, writing with a propulsive confidence while dropping just the right amount of plot crumbs to keep you eager…

The Mouse and His Child

Author: Russell Hoban Artist: David Small Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1967 I read it: November 2017 It’s strange which books enter into a canon, and which drift away. I don’t know how I heard about The Mouse and His Child—probably just while perusing Goodreads—but it struck me as one that flew under the general radar…

Kindred

Author: Octavia E. Butler Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1979 I read it: November 2017 There is a brilliant conceit at the center of Octavia E. Butler’s classic novel Kindred, and it’s not necessarily the time travel. Even though you can find the book on the sci-fi shelves, Butler prefers to call it a “grim fantasy”…

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017

Editor: Sarah Vowell (introduction) Type: Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, poetry, memoir Published: 2017 I read it: November 2017 If 2016 was the volume that felt like a last big inhale before American politics crashed down at the end of that year, then this year’s BANR collection is the painful exhale, reading like a…

Wishtree

Author: Katherine Applegate Artist: Charles Santoso Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2017 I read it: October 2017 “We grow as we must grow, as our seeds decided long ago,” goes one clever aphorism delivered by the protagonist of this book, who happens to be a red oak tree named, you guessed it, Red. (The other talking species…

In the Garden of Beasts

Author: Erik Larson Type: Non-fiction, single subject Full title: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin Published: 2011 I read it: September 2017 This book kept calling to me from the shelf, staring me down with its grand and stern coloring, complete with swastika right on the spine.…

The Gift of Stones

Author: Jim Crace Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1988 I read it: August 2017 Before visiting Iowa City, I flipped through a little book I have called Read This!, which puts together a bunch of favorite book picks from book store owners across the country. Something that stuck with me was a man from Prairie Lights proclaiming his…