Thursday, March 13, 2014

Meg's Picks: April 2014, part 1

There's nothing like a good book.  From the anticipation of turning to the first page to the satisfaction that lingers after you finish the last sentence, there are few things that make me quite so content.  A stack of new books waiting for me to read them?  Thrilling.  Yes, I'm a woman of simple pleasures.  And because I'm also a sharing kind of person, here are a few of the titles that I'm eagerly anticipating getting my hands on next month.

Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue.  Donoghue won the hearts of readers with 2010's deeply moving Room, but I've been a fan of her work since reading Slammerkin way back in 2001.  Which means, obviously, that I am very much anticipating this newest novel, which follows Blanche Beunon, French burlesque dancer, over 3 days in the scorching San Francisco summer of 1876.  Her best friend, Jenny, has been shot and killed in a saloon, and Blanche's search for Jenny's killer leads readers through a city of arrogant millionaires, desperate paupers, and free-loving bohemians.  It's also a city filled with secrets, including what Jenny herself had been hiding.  If this is half as good as the critics are claiming, it is going to be stellar.

Love and Treasure, by Ayelet Waldman.  During World War II, Jack Wiseman had been in charge of storing the possessions found on the "golden train", which contained the accumulated wealth of the Hungarian Jews who had been shipped off to the concentration camps.  Decades later, Jack is dying.  The only thing he has ever asked of his granddaughter, as he hands her an enameled locket, is to find the rightful owner of the necklace.  Waldman leads us back to the aftermath of the war, then to the years proceeding, pitting complicated politics against the idea of one's ability to control personal destiny.  I'm very intrigued.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin.  A.J. Fikry's life is not turning out the way he'd expected.  His wife has passed away.  Sales at his bookstore are dwindling.  And his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen.  Slowly but surely, A.J. is withdrawing from everyone and everything in his small community.  Even the books in his store no longer hold pleasure for him.  Until the arrival of a small but weighty package one day, its contents requiring A.J. to reevaluate his life and find joy again.  This is, I think, going to be a book for all book-lovers.

I'll be back with the last of my April picks next week.  In the meantime, happy reading.

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