These past few weeks, feeling like there was a lot on my plate both personally and in the wider world, has definitely affected my choice of reading matter.  If this sounds familiar, read on!  My sustaining reads this month have been Home, My Stroke of Insight, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Art of Racing in the Rain…and The Good Thief (I’m in the middle of that one).

Home by Marilynne Robinson is a deeply reflective novel about two siblings who come home to live with their dying father in the small town where they grew up.  Secrets are exposed and tensions rise as they grope for grace separately and together.  Through it all runs Marilynne Robinson’s signature dry humor.  A book to savor.

Next came My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte-Taylor’s remarkable story of her recovery from  a massive stroke at the age of 37.  She was able to use her skills as a neuroscientist to bring me closer to the inside of this experience than any other author I’ve read on the subject.  Her courage and spiritual journey that resulted made this a book to treasure.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society’s title sounded a bit goofy, and I had put it further down the pile.  Now I’m sorry I didn’t start it sooner.  Set in post-war WWII, Mary Ann Schaffer’s novel chronicles the adventures (and romance) an author finds on Guernsey island.  Written entirely in the form of letters to and from these characters, it also details quite a bit of the unfortunate history of Guernsey during the war, and the strength of the inhabitants.  Funny and sad by turns, it was entirely satisfying.

The Art of Racing in the Rain was another such satisfying read.  The tale of a young family pulled apart by death and vengeful relatives and their fight to be whole again is leavened by the point of view of the narrator, who may be the quirkiest dog ever. Yes, I said dog; his inner monologue is priceless, when funny he’s not cute, and when sad he’s not maudlin. A delicious read.

So this has been a lucky month, with reading that kept me afloat and then some.  The Good Thief is great so far, a Dickensian novel about an orphan that fills and then breaks that mold.  Next, I‘ve got my eye on Per Petterson’s new book, To Siberia, Saramago’s new novel, Death with Interruptions, and Indignation by Phillip Roth.  That trio should fill some empty moments in October nicely!
Yours from the bookshelf,
Andi

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