Happy New Year, fellow book nerds!
Here’s what’s been happening in my reading life this week.
I couldn’t choose between these two books from this month’s Book of the Month club. Girls in the Moon has similar themes to my NaNoWriMo 2016 novel, in which a teenage girl also struggles with what it means to have famous(ish) parents. And The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel is about rich kids’ high school drama — at the intersection of many of my reading interests.
I also requested a lot of advance review copies over the Christmas holidays, and publicists coming back to work were quick to approve me for these four. Very exciting! (And not good for my resolution to read more backlist this year.)
Love in Lowercase, by Francesc Miralles
I started my reading year with this delightful gem of a book. I wish I’d known it was translated from the Spanish, because it’s exactly what I look for when I look for something to read in my favourite foreign language: short, not difficult, not too plot heavy. Still, I really enjoyed it. I love that what sets in motion the whole (love?) story for this quirky loner of a German language professor is the unexpected arrival of a cat into his life.
All Tomorrow’s Parties, by Rob Spillman
I loved this memoir. It helps that I know Rob a little, or at least have been in his orbit, at the wonderful Tin House summer writing workshops. I know his wife, Elissa, better, because she led my workshop. She is fabulous fun, and formidable, and it was so fascinating to learn about their past amd their and early married life travelling in Europe. (I never wanted them to leave Portugal — I was a little mad at Rob for dragging Elissa away from that paradise.) Rob Spillman grew up in Berlin during the Cold War and his stories related to crossing and being near the Wall are chilling and interesting; his constant longing for the home where he grew up is something that is very familiar to me. I grew up in Brussels and always wanted to go back. As Rob eventually did, I too found myself when I moved back to Belgium, but not at all the way I was expecting to. The contrast between the Berlin of the ’60s when Rob was a child living with his musician dad (another thing we have in common) and the Berlin of 1989, post-Wall but pre-reunification, was gripping stuff.
In the Queue:
Finding myself very uncertain about what to read next, because I’m waiting for my BookDepository order, and I’m going away on Friday so would prefer to have any hardbacks finished before then or to be in the midst of an easily transportable/not easily damageable book. I have a book that was sent to me by a very persistent publicist which I want to read but probably wouldn’t be my choice to read next, but I need to get a move on. I need to get going on my Brit lit resolution and my backlist resolution and I want to read shorter/quicker books so I can stay ahead of my Goodreads goal. There are a lot of factors. It’s all very complicated. Really it could be any of these.
I’ve also launched a new project, the Brit Lit blog, which will be a place for news and views from the words of British books and publishing and for recommendations of British books. Give it a follow if that’s your thing!