What We’re Reading: April 2012

Welcome to the first monthly installment of What We’re Reading. On the first Friday of each month, we’ll share what we’re reading, which may include everything from magazines and blogs to novels and books for work or pleasure.

I am somewhat obsessed with the Orange Prize, a British literary award given to the best novel written by a woman in English each year. I’m currently making my way through the twenty titles on the 2012 longlist, which was announced in March to coincide with International Women’s Day. So far, I’ve read eleven of the twenty and am currently enjoying Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg, a debut novel set on the St. Kilda islands in 1830. The six-title shortlist will be announced Tuesday, April 17th.

Currently, I have been burning my way through Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. The 5th book is being released on May 8th, and anticipation is running high among my teen readers.  An intense series featuring demons, angels, vampires (not the sparkly kind), werewolves, and more, it is easy to see the appeal. Clare has a deft writing style, and each story is packed with action and drama, filled in with likable and realistic characters. I’ve also been brushing up on the Vampire Knight manga series by Matsuri Hino. Lush illustrations and an intriguing vampire mythology make this a series not to be missed! Of course, since its storytime season, my reading roster is filled with picture books, too.  Most recently, The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson and Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig have charmed me- both are great reads with wonderful rhythmic story lines and delightful illustrations.

I’m reading Wendy Wasserstein’s Shiksa Goddess: Or, How I Spent My Forties (2001). In this collection of essays, the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright earns her reputation as “a vicious dumpling,” thrusting the private lives of friends and family into the spotlight, to reveal the humor, sadness, and injustice of the human experience. Wasserstein’s personal essays confirm the thesis of Julie Salamon’s poignant biography, Wendy and the Lost Boys (2011): Though Wasserstein was quick to share the secrets of others, she worked hard to disguise herself, both literally (she hid her pregnancy) and figuratively, from the many people with whom she shared her bizarre, compartmentalized life.

I read mostly non-fiction (albeit with a weakness for good YA novels).  Right now, I’m nearly finished with The Information Diet by Clay Johnson.  Johnson makes an interesting comparison between nutrition and information consumption, arguing that poorly-chosen media consumption has negative effects on the mind and body (similar to eating a diet based on junk food).  He makes a case for what librarians would call information literacy skills without mentioning the concept by name (so far).

I just started reading the novel Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner. It’s been on my to-read list since Nancy Pearl put it on her “7 Books with Personality” list on NPR’s Morning Edition in December.  I’ve also been geeking out over Pew Internet’s “The rise of e-reading” report.

Now tell us: what are you reading this month?

One thought on “What We’re Reading: April 2012

  1. Fiction: Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Years of Rice and Salt (2003 Locus Award for best SF novel).

    Non-Fiction: G.J. Meyer’s The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty

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