Who'd have thunk it? ME - with not one but now TWO blogs! Unthinkable! ME who, just six months ago had nary a Powerpoint presentation to her name. And while I'm on the subject of things remarkable, have you noticed how often the exclaimation point is used in daily life?
How are you!
This kind of punctuation has traditionally been reserved for words like Fire! Stop! Help! and now, perhaps in an attempt not to come across as hostile in email, we are maniacs with the Shift key.
Anyway...I have some excellent books to recommend (somehow I have managed to read a number of terrific things in the recent weeks) but first I want to tell you about my new (additional) baby blog. In truth, I am only the facilitator of this second blog: Cactus People/Chronicles of a Western Pennsylvania Cactus - see the link on the margin. The real author is my cactus. Please check out this new site and consider clicking the 'follow' button to track Fred's adventures and inner thoughts.
Now for the books: (or as an Irishman might say, the Bukes - which rhymes with Lukes)
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. A National Book Award Finalist, this very short novel reads like a beautiful prose poem. Told from the collective 'we', Otsuka follows the lives of several Japanese women from their first boat ride to the U.S. through their forced exodus from American society during WWII. Unfortunately, you will likely find this book on a table at Barnes & Noble labeled 'New Releases' among other paperbacks featuring handcuffed women in negligees. Book Store design and layout is only one of the many careers I wish I had time to pursue.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. A non-fiction account of one family's Hurricane Katrina nightmare come to life. Dave Eggers is a new hero of mine.
Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. A truly wonderful collection of linked short stories. In a world where so many authors misuse the comma, Ms. Bynum is ever-faithful to the correct form. She gets a gold star for grammar and for her intelligent, heart-felt tales of a seventh-grade teacher.
Other People We Married by Emma Straub. Another collection of short stories - unlinked. I didn't love every story, but overall, a solid debut by a woman who works at an independent book store.
Reviews forthcoming: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward; When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams, and Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. If you've read these or if you run out and buy them right now and want to chime in, please drop a line. I'd love to have a chat about the bukes.