What We’re Reading: November 2012

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

After spending much of October reading 2013 releases (keep your eyes out for Tracy Chevalier’s new novel about the Underground Railroad and Quakers, The Last Runaway in February 2013), I’m devoting November to reading some backlist titles I’ve been meaning to read for years. First up: The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCrackenl. McCracken herself is a librarian, as is the novel’s main character. I’m only about fifty pages in, but so far I’m thoroughly enjoying the writing and characters as much as I am the library and librarian references. –Carrie

This month, I was delighted by David Levithan’s Every Day. Each day, A wakes up in a new body, lives a new life just for that day. A lives from moment to moment, day to day, always living in the present, and never dreams of the future. For A, there is no future, just an endless string of single days in new lifes. Yet, remarkably, in one day, in one life, A falls in love. Suddenly, A sees a need to look towards the future and live beyond just the present. Levithan’s writing style is warm and embracing, his characters gentle and realistic, his world insightful and thought provoking world. Every Day was an enchanting and wonderful read. –Heather

Around 8pm last night, I opened Amanda Choplin’s The Orchardist, reading one page and then the next, and so forth until it was long past midnight. That I am almost finished with the book should be no surprise to those of you that read Emily’s review of Choplin’s tense novel on September 7. Earlier in the month, I enjoyed Jane Smiley’s biography, Charles Dickens (2002). Although I wouldn’t describe it as an up-all-night page turner, Smiley writes a highly readable, streamlined narrative of a very famous man with a kinetic work ethic. It’s part of the fantastic Penguin Lives series. –Amy

I just started reading In America by Susan Sontag. I’m only 100 pages into the novel, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it. So far the book is as much about the creating of stories as it is about the story Sontag is telling, something Sontag pulls off beautifully. Maryna, the main character, is a famous Polish actress in the late 1800’s. Plagued with restlessness and fame, Maryna is desperate for change. I’m looking forward to seeing what unfolds for Maryna. –Emily

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