My reading list for our January cruise to Hawaii and Mexico was longer than my ability to stay “awoke.” Cruising on the Westerdam with Holland America is way too relaxing! Did manage to read a few books:
Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, the author we are studying in my workshop with Fred Shafer. Lots of characters, lots of poignancy.
Half of Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, an intricate and intimate portrait of middle class intellectual Nigeria during the creation of Biafra and the subsequent wars. Well drawn characters and interesting story lines on a subject I knew next to nothing about.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture by J.D. Vance, a Yale Law graduate from Ohio. Not sure I fully understood his ultimate point, but nonetheless an interesting perspective and well worth reading.
And my favorite, Britt-Marie Was Here, by Fredrik Backman. I’d worried that as much as I’d enjoyed A Man Called Ove, Backman’s style couldn’t sustain another novel without becoming tiring. But it is sufficiently different, and the character so lovable–despite her rigid idiosyncracies–that I liked Britt-Marie even more than Ove. On this list, this is the Must-Read.
And I started, and am still reading, The Little Friend: A Novel, by Donna Tartt. A quarter way in and still not sure where it’s going, but I’m willing to go along for the ride. Again, it’s the character–so uniquely herself–that keeps me going.