Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quiet time in January

In the midst of all of the hustle and bustle around the holidays, it's hard to find a quiet moment to breathe, let alone read.  That's why for me, January is the ultimate time to recharge and get caught up on my reading, especially some of the deeper reading that I just can't slow down enough to enjoy in December.  Here are a few of the titles on my list of books you slow down to savor.  (As a bonus, any one of these titles would be a fantastic choice for a book club to read and discuss!)

Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience and redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand.  Best-selling non-fiction author Hillenbrand (of Seabiscuit fame) returns with the beautifully told tale of Louis Zamperini, delinquent turned athlete turned airman, who was involved in an Army Air Forces bomber crash over the Pacific in May 1943.  Zamperini, the plane's bombadier, was the sole survivor, and endures a number of harrowing dangers while adrift at sea.  Hillenbrand has a gift for writing non-fiction in such a way that the tales of the ordinary turned extraordinary stick with readers for years after reading.  Unbroken is such a tale.  If you haven't read it already, you're missing out. 

The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht.  This novel was a total sleeper hit in 2011; staff and patrons alike raved about it.  Natalia, a young doctor in the Balkans, is determined to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding her grandfather's recent death.  In the process, she comes across his old, worn copy of "The Jungle Book" and recalls the stories he told her over the years of his time spent traveling with "the deathless man."  But the most extraordinary story is the one he never told her--that of the tiger's wife.  Moving, beautifully written, and deeply imaginative--this is a gorgeous, unique novel that deserves all of the praise it has garnered.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer.  While this was also a critic's darling when it was published back in 2005, this novel is finding a new surge of popularity with the film version (featuring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock) hitting theaters tomorrow.  After the death of his father in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, nine-year-old Oskar Schell is on a secret mission across the five boroughs of New York City to find the lock for a mysterious key that belonged to his father.  Tender, humorous and healing, Oskar's journey is one no reader will ever forget. 

I hope you get the chance to enjoy some quiet reading this month.  I'm back next week to talk more about hidden gems in your library!

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