Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

Take This Man: A Memoir
I think I've said this before, but I'm really only interested in memoirs if the writer's life has something that is unequivocally unique from mine. If you're a normal person who went on a journey or something, I'm not super interested because let's be real. I could go on a journey if I felt so inclined to put down my book and get off the couch. At any rate, Brando Skyhorse definitely had a story to tell, one that is thankfully unique from my life. When he was three years old, his father abandoned him and his mother. His mother seized the opportunity to reinvent their lives and told Brando he was son of Paul Skyhorse Johnson, an American Indian activist. However, Paul is in prison, so Brando lives his life with a rotating cast of fathers and his acerbic, verbally abusive mom and sometimes overbearing grandma. It takes thirty years for Brando to untangle the web of lies his mom wove and attempt to find his father, whether biological or the man who was willing to fill that role.
What was really gripping about this story was the extent of Brando's mom deception and the long-lasting effect it had on his life. I was definitely pulled in to his story and his pain.

The Book of Unknown Americans: A novel
Arturo, Alma and their daughter Maribel come from Mexico to America, after Maribel suffers a tragic accident and is left with brain damage. They believe that in the land of opportunity, Maribel can get what she needs. They move into the same apartment complex as the Toro family, a family from Panama. Mayor Toro, the son of the family, falls in love with Maribel at first sight, despite her limitations. Interwoven amongst both families are stories of others who have come to America, seeking prosperity and opportunity. This was a beautiful, rich story that reached in depth to humanize those that we may sometimes overlook.

Natchez Burning: A Novel (Penn Cage)
At almost 800 pages, this book consumed most of my reading time this week. This is the first installment of a trilogy and was definitely captivating. Set in Mississippi and told from the perspective of Penn Cage, a mayor whose father was just accused of murder, the book chronicles race relations and decades old murders in this southern town. Penn's point-of-view is balanced with that of Henry, a journalist set on exposing the horrific crimes of the Golden Eagles, a KKK splinter group who claimed to be behind the assassination of MLK Jr and RFK. With the length of this book, this is not one you sit down and breeze through. There was a lot going on and a lot of plot shifts and points to remember, so it definitely took me awhile to make my way through it, but it was an enjoyable, interesting read.

What are you reading?


InTheFastLane said...

One of my favorite parts of my week....
I also read The book of Unknown Americans, this week. I really enjoyed it and felt like it did an amazing job of showing that everyone has a story, especially the people leaving everything for an attempt at something better.

I read bittersweet: a novel. Blech. Don't bother. I only finished it because I was over halfway done before I realized how much I hated it. Luckily I read this before The book of Unknown Americans so I felt better after having read something really good.

I just started Astoria, last night.

One crazed mommy said...

I finished The House of Bathory - it was an interesting ready, going back and forth between 1610 and 2010 - weaving the past and present together.

Think I'm gonna read something light next - Three Wishes

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

I agree about the memoirs, while I do like to be able to relate in some way. I found that with Rules of Inheritance- I couldn't relate to the character's closeness to her mom at all, so that part was most intriguing to me. Same with Wild- read last weekend and enjoyed it. I read Invisible Girls (another memoir- compelling story, choppy chapters), and Tell The Wolves I'm Home (loved it). I'm currently reading The Dinner. Yay for summer reading!


Barb Ruess said...

Well I only read one book last week because it was SO long: Written in My Own Heart's Blood. I think it suffers from a case of poor editing but I still like the overall story.

Up next: Frog Music!

Theresa Mahoney said...

I haven't sat down and read a real novel in a few weeks. We made a trip to the library yesterday. I had full intentions on leaving with some good books, but ended up leaving with about 10 cookbooks and that's it lol.

Unknown said...

I read Wild and The Dinner in the past. I liked Wild but LOVED The Dinner. As for recent reads, I just finished Reconstructing Amelia, and it was okay but not the best thing I've ever read. Glad I got it through the library and did not buy it. Now I'm waiting for about 5 library holds to come through anytime so I can start a new book.

Molly said...

I'm reading The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell. I really like it. Great detail and description!