Last month for Spring Break, I brought out the crazy: I walked all three kids across three neighbourhoods to the nearest library to load up the stroller with books. Despite my doubts, my seven year old did just fine walking that far on her own two feet, and my four year old was content to ride it out in the stroller. My three month old stayed snuggly wrapped against my chest, but only as long as I didn't bend over. Subsequently, all my book choices came from the top shelf of the first wall of general fiction, chosen mainly for their titles and brightly coloured spines. In the Russian roulette of reading choices, I think I won. Next visit I'll start on the back wall, and show some love to authors from another chunk of the alphabet.
Here's what I've read:
Bone Worship, by Elizabeth Eslami
A mesmerizing tale of an Iranian-American college dropout, piecing together who she is and where she came from by writing out every story her father had ever told her about himself - from growing up in Iran to his adult life in the States - while actively trying to prevent him from arranging her marriage. I loved the weave of the narrative from present to past and back again, and all the glaring inconsistencies that come from half-remembered tales, a cultural divide, and a generation gap. Beautiful, funny, and cleverly written.
When in Doubt, Add Butter, by Beth Harbison
This was pure chic-lit indulgence. A butter-cream sweet story about a private chef juggling her quirky clients, keeping her business afloat, making peace with her past, and finding love in the process (including one scene that will keep you from handing it to your twelve-year-old). Engaging, easy-reading, laugh-out-loud fun.
Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder, by Ken Greenberg
I picked this tome off the librarian's recommend shelf over a year ago, and found everything I love and hate about cities right there in the introduction. Being a marathon of a memoir, it wasn't something I could read through without racking up a fortune in library fines, so I returned it half-read and ordered my own copy from Amazon. Unfortunately, literary brain-death was setting in, so my order shipped and sat on my bookshelf, uncracked, for months on end, while I told everyone who'd listen how wonderful it was. It was still a tough slog, but I'm so glad I finally finished it. It opened my eyes to how cities work - and don't work - the importance of public space, and hope for urban life after suburban sprawl. It made me want to sit in the nearest park, walk my neighbourhood, bike downtown, and send a copy to the mayor. If you've ever wanted to see Jane Jacob's thought in action, pick it up. If you're Western Canadian, however, brace yourself for an onslaught of Torontonian mentionitis. Greenberg spent the majority of his career in the self-proclaimed centre of the universe, and it shows.
That's it for this month. Do check out Modern Mrs. Darcy for this month's array of short(ish) literary reviews here.