Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

This extended weekend was beneficial to my reading time! I could use more of those.

Front Lines
I love this whole theme of re-writing history from the "what if" point of view. In this case, what if women were allowed to fight on the front lines during WWII? Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman all sign up to fight, all for different reasons. Rio signs up with her friend Jenou, Jenou hoping to escape a horrible home life situation, Rio to honor her sister who was killed at Pearl Harbor. Frangie signs up to get money for her family, in a heavily segregated world where black girls don't have many other options, while Rainy signs up because she's Jewish and the disturbing lack of contact from her Jewish family in Europe gives her the drive to kill as many Germans as she can.
Each story is well told and leads up to the moment where all intertwine. I definitely enjoyed this one!

After Tupac and D Foster
Neeka and her best friend (our unnamed narrator) are growing up at a time where Tupac is very much alive and very much an icon. When the girls meet D Foster, the three create a bond that transcends their issues--the narrator and her single mom trying to make ends meet, Neeka's brother in prison and her crowded home, and D's foster situation in which she hasn't seen her mom for years. This was a short book, but thematically heavy. Prison among African-American males. Homosexuality. Abandonment. Racial and societal pressures. It was a powerful read for any young reader.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
I held off on reading this book because I feel like I always struggle with books translated from Swedish. However, I fell in love with this book and the characters pretty quickly. Sara travels all the way from Sweden to the tiny town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet up with her penpal Amy. When she arrives, she discovers that Amy has died of a not entirely unexpected illness. As Sara stays in Broken Wheel and begins to know--and love--the people in the town, she decides to open a bookstore, although it is arguably the last thing Broken Wheel could use. This book was written in a tone similar to Fried Green Tomatoes or other books about small town nuances where you fall head over heels for the characters. I couldn't put this one down, so much wanting to know what would happen to Sara and Broken Wheel.

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel
Lucy Barton is hospitalized following what should have been a routine appendectomy. Her mother, who she hasn't seen in years, comes to stay with her in the hospital and keeps her entertained from stories of those they knew in their small Illinois town. In the midst of this, Lucy weaves together glimpses from her past, the poverty and abuse that surrounded her, as well as flashes forward to the future she will have beyond her hospitalization. There were points where I wasn't sure if Lucy was an unreliable narrator or if her mother was unreliable, but it was a great narrative.

What are you reading?


Corrin said...

I actually took The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend off my reading list because the cover is so bad. I'm going to have to put it back on!

Barb Ruess said...

Isn't it funny how much of an influence cover art has? I've done the same thing, Corrin!

This week I read Her by Christa Parravani - that makes two nonfiction books in a row for me, very uncharacteristic. The story of a woman's relationship with her twin sister. It was heartbreaking and beautifully written.

I also finished listening to Yes Please by Amy Poehler - it was a very entertaining way to distract myself while running.

Theresa Mahoney said...

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend grabs my attention. Small town living. Pen pal from Sweden. Both I had when I was younger. I'll be adding that one to my read list.