Revival: A Novel
Like most readers, I have a love-hate waver between old Stephen King and new Stephen King. As a child, Jamie Morton is covered in a shadow while playing in the yard. The shadow turns out to be that of the new minister, Charles Jacobs, in his town--seemingly harmless. Yet that shadow follows him his whole life, irrevocably changing him. The reverend leaves suddenly, after the death of his wife and child, but Jamie encounters him later down the road, Jamie himself a damaged adult battling his own loss and a drug addiction. What grabbed me about this story is that it led up to a quiet but still very terrifying conclusion, as Jamie and Charles Jacobs danced a dangerous dance around one another.
The Happiest People in the World: A Novel
If you believe statistics, the happiest people in the world live in Denmark. In this book, the people of Denmark also make questionably racist or not politically correct cartoons, leaving one cartoonist in the witness protection program where he is relocated to the sticks of New York. Jens, who becomes Henry in his new life, settles in to his job as a guidance counselor at Broomeville HS. As the story unravels, it seems everyone in Broomeville is pretending to be someone else. This was one of those books that began with the ending, then started over and wound back to the end. I loved almost all of it, but the ending fell apart a little for me. The writing and humor was still completely worth it, though.
Let Me Be Frank With You: A Frank Bascombe Book
I love Richard Ford. Frank Bascombe is a recurring character, but you need not have read any previous books to read this one. In four stories with one connecting thread (Frank), you get glimpse of the world through Frank's eyes. Like most Richard Ford, this is not an exciting cliffhanger. It is full of exposition and full of life through a perspective that may or may not be one we share. The stories are slow and illuminating and very enjoyable.
What are you reading?