Thanks to yet another snow day, I was able to finish another book before writing this post. Hooray. I guess. I'd rather be reading in June.
As Barb, who recommended this book, said the title character of this novel is "one mean SOB." On the surface, this is the [fictional] story of the murder of a young black girl in the post-WWII south by a white man and how white class and privilege reacts to that. But it's more than that, because Paris Trout isn't *just* a bigot (and I use the phrase just lightly, obviously). He's a man who truly, deeply believes that he's in the right to take a life, and he cannot fathom why anyone would think otherwise. Beyond that, as the book unfolds, Paris Trout becomes a truly vile human being, at times committing acts and thoughts that are painful to comprehend, all in the name of what he believes is his own personal righteousness. I really enjoyed this book, though it is, truly, not a happy book. The voices of the different characters are strong and well-written, each telling a different tale and showing the ripple effects of Paris' careless act.
The Wind Is Not a River
I love it when historical fiction enlightens me to something of which I was previously unaware. This book is about the Japanese takeover of the Aleutian islands during WWII and the subsequent relocation of the native islanders, which was an actual event in our history. One more, a journalist, sets out to investigate the takeover which has been all but censored by the US government. Unfortunately, while on a plane over one of the islands, he is shot down. What follows is his attempt to survive and his wife's attempt to head north into Alaska to make her way to the Aleutian islands to find the husband that she still strongly believes to be alive. This was one of those slow stories that really gripped me and was full of details of not only their relationship but of war and survival. I thought of for quite awhile after I finished reading.
Carthage: A Novel
I am a Joyce Carol Oates fangirl. One of my biggest regrets is not seeing her years ago when she spoke at a local university, but it was at night and no one wanted to come with me and I was at a very anxious stage in my life. So. I'm still sad about that. Anyway, what I like about Oates is that she doesn't gloss over the ugliness of humanity. It's there. It's real and she writes in a way that readers can say, "Yeah. That's not a Hollywood reaction, but that's a HUMAN reaction."
Zeno Mayfield has two daughters: Juliet and Cressida. Julie is the pretty one. Cressida is the smart one--and the homely one, who lives awkwardly in her sister's shadow and her own insecurity. Cressida goes missing and the #1 suspect is an Iraq war veteran and Julie's ex-fiance, Brett, who struggled with the demons of PTSD. This is a difficult book to review without giving away spoilers, but suffice to say, it's not a murder mystery novel. It's more complex than that, but within the layers of Cressida's disappearance lie many issues: Brett's mental instability, sibling relationships and how hard it is to love someone who can't love herself. I loved this book, especially the ending, which I read twice because it was so real and honest.
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)
This is the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, which I've been waiting for FOREVER (not exaggerating). It did not disappoint. If you haven't read Miss Peregrine, do so now! Best is the author's use of vintage, bizarre photographs to enhance the story. Hollow City continues where Miss Peregrine left off. I enjoyed this one even more than the first, actually, because you explore so much more of the peculiar world and Jacob learns more about himself. And with another cliffhanger ending, I wonder how long I have to wait before the next book?!
What are you reading?