What We’re Reading Nov/Dec 2017

What We're Reading


Just in time for your holiday vacation, or to try out this neat Christmas Eve tradition from Iceland.

Carol (Willow St. Site Director): I just finished Stephen and Owen (Stephen’s son) King’s book, Sleeping Beauties. I’m a big fan of Stephen King and really enjoyed this one. When women all over the world go to sleep, a cocoon forms around them and they cannot wake up. If someone tries to peel the sinewy wisps away from them, the women lash out in a murderous rage. Fear and tensions mount as men are left to rule the earth and the few women left awake try desperately to stay awake. All except a mysterious woman Evie, who came to town, murdered two men and now sleeps and wakes in the women’s prison without issue. As the men plot to find out more about Evie, the women appear in an alternate world with no men and begin to live their lives again. They thrive and enjoy their new lives immensely. I won’t give the ending away but let’s just say it’s very interesting and insightful. I especially loved the way the King men addressed issues of sexism from a woman’s viewpoint. Very thought-provoking!

Fiona (Assistant Director): I have been reading a great series with my third grade son called Race the Wild by Kristin Earhart and published through Scholastic. Imagine a mix of The Amazing Race, Survivor, and nature programs for kids. It is the story of a team competition for kids who have to work together to solve clues related to animals and nature from the perspective of one team. The narrator changes with each book so you get that kid’s perspective. They travel around the world competing in this competition and the action is interspersed with facts about animals and their habitats. My son LOVES this series and we have been having a lot of fun reading it. We are about to start book 5 and there are six books (so far) in the series and it looks like more are coming soon.

Jess (Willow St. Asst. Site Director): I just started reading Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and it’s amazing! I’m only about 75 pages in right now, but it’s about a 13-year-old boy named Jojo who has a pretty rough home life. His mother is African-American and his incarcerated father is white. Jojo is essentially being raised by his grandfather, who serves as Jojo’s role model, being the only man consistently in Jojo’s life.The book is told from both Jojo’s perspective and his mother’s, and I’m just learning a bit more about his mom, Leonie. She had a rough upbringing as well, losing her brother in a ‘hunting accident.’ Like I said, I haven’t made it very far, but each character is already so well-developed and I cannot wait to see where the story goes. From the first page of this book, I was hooked. Highly recommend!

Keri (Outreach Coordinator) & Victoria (Book Bank & Operations Director): We just read The Power by Naomi Alderman and were completely blown away. It’s a dystopian novel in the vein of Margaret Atwood that explores what would happen if teenage girls gained the power to conduct electricity. Told through the perspectives of four characters, three female (an American politician, a British mafia head, and a cult religious leader) and one male (a Nigerian journalist),  this story does not go where you think it will.

Kirsten (Executive Director): Manhattan Beach (by Jennifer Eagen, who wrote Pulitizer Prize winning A Visit From the Goon Squad) is an extraordinary story filled with beautifully described characters.  A young woman  comes of age in Manhattan during WWII and it describes her interactions with her disabled sister, disappearing father, mobsters, and becoming the first female diver on the Brooklyn docks. Anna is an inspiring and intrepid heroine. A great read!

Rebecca (Kindergarten Teacher): I just finished Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill and it was the best book I read this year (sorry, Jesmyn Ward). The book tells the story of a husband and wife in Brooklyn through a nontraditional, fragmented format, stitching together small, unrelated observations and conversations. I found the book hilarious in some parts and heartbreaking in others. I’m also reading Cold New World by William Finnegan. The non-fiction book follows four working-class teenagers in America in the 1990s. Finnegan reported the book in the 1990s by living with these teenagers from four different economically struggling cities, one of which is New Haven. As a recent transplant to the city I have really enjoyed learning this side of the city’s history and considering the ongoing effects of generational trauma in our communities. I highly recommend both books!

Categories Book Bank, What We're Reading | Tags: | Posted on December 12, 2017

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