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After visiting and falling in love with New Orleans, I read several books about and set in that amazing city. Published in 1976, Coming Through Slaughter was Ondaatje’s first novel, and never have I seen such an astounding debut. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of New Orleans jazz musician Buddy Bolden and the last months of his sanity. The style of the writing beautifully mirrors the subject matter – it’s like listening to a great jazz song with all its idiosyncrasies.
“I just finished The Spinning Heart and I thought it was excellent. It does what all great fiction does – tell a specific story to explore what’s universal. Each character has a distinct voice and what I found most interesting is how each perceives themselves and one another. These perceptions reverberate to create a whole picture of this Irish village at a very particular moment. So good.” --Consuelo
”Her words and her family’s words are very inspiring. I think it will reach a lot of young people, reading this story of another teenager who did so much and lived life to the fullest with the people around her in the face of her own mortality. I cried.” --Consuelo
This is my second time reading this book. The first time I read it was maybe ten years ago. It’s interesting to read it again older, as opposed to a younger, more impressionable version of myself. I remember reading it before and being all, ‘yeah! right on!’ I still think that, but now I’m able to see the extreme bias in his words. It’s fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading the Pulitzer Prize winning biography that was written about him. Before, I didn’t understand why they would bother with his autobiography being out there. This time, I see how complicated of a man he really was. There has to be more to what happened than just his side of the story. We are going to have a lot to talk about at book club. --Consuelo
“John Green is ridiculously good. Looking for Alaska is his first book, and people shouldn’t be allowed to write this well when they’re just starting out. He finds this way to make characters engaging in a way that makes you care about these people even though they’re teens (I didn’t even like teenagers when I was one!) With this book in particular, I love the way that its structured with a mysterious countdown at the top of every chapter. You’re just sitting in anticipation to find out what big thing is going to happen that changes this kid’s life forever.” --Consuelo
"A lyrical and heartfelt story, Guthrie’s only complete novel was published this year. I couldn’t have been more blown away. Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to make a home in the Texas Panhandle during the depression. Guthrie uses this back drop to tell the story of two people in love, and dare I say, it’s as sexy as the dust bowl can be. More than that, he captures this place (which happens to be my home place) with such hardship and exposes its beauty. It reminded me of where I came from." --Consuelo
"As a lover of both literature and New Orleans, I had procrastinated reading this for so many years because there was too much hype, too many expectations. Despite that, as I read the first few pages, I quickly realized I had had no idea what I was in store for – thought provoking, outrage inducing, head scratching, laugh out loud hilarity. As a character, Ignatius J. Reilly’s voice will stay with me forever. His ridiculousness mirrors the world as he stumbles through it. Painful, funny, endearing – this book’s audience is everybody." --Consuelo
It’s hard for me to explain why I love this novel so much because it feels so personal. There isn’t a reason it should be – this story is about a specific time and place and I am not a black man from Harlem trying to become an actor in the 1940s. But I am always drawn back for more Baldwin because his writing is so extraordinary that I somehow feel like he is telling my own story. There’s a paragraph that’s been repeating in my mind like a song that gets stuck in your head. I don’t think a book has gotten so under my skin like this one, at least not in a very long time. It’s like a great Russian novel in that it tackles all the heavy-hitting subjects – religion, violence, sex, race, injustice, love – except, of course, it is uniquely American.
Summer & Bird is a fantastic children’s book, a lot due to the fact that it doesn’t follow the conventions of most children’s books. There is something new to discover on every page. It follows the story of two young sisters searching for their parents in a fantastical underworld full of birds, but ultimately, they each take a journey to find their true selves. Katherine Catmull is an Austin author, and it’s fitting that she’s written a story that marches to the beat of its own drummer. For more reasons why I love this book, grab a copy of the BookPeople holiday catalog!
This is what summer reading is all about – an edge-of-your-seat adventure story. A government experiment gone wrong unleashes a bunch of vampiric monsters, and civilization is altered forever. This is no ordinary vampire story, though. Cronin’s inventive storytelling and human insights elevate this story above the rest of the genre. Just when you think you have the story figured out, he advances decades into the future to tell of the aftermath. The sequel is slated for an October release, so the summer will give you plenty of time to read it and get excited for the follow-up.