Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meg's Picks: April 2014, part 2

Yes!  And that's just why I do what I do--for this librarian, there are few greater satisfactions than recommending a book and having that reader come back and tell me that they loved it.  I'm human, I don't always hit the mark, but when I do, it's a great feeling.  Here are a couple more titles I'm recommending ahead of time.  I've got them on my reading list--do you?

In the Light of What We Know, by Zia Hader Rahman.  Rahman's debut novel is making quite a stir among the critics, and that has my interest piqued.  One day in September 2008, an investment banker approaching forty, his career in collapse, opens the door of his West London townhouse to a surprise visitor--the man who had once been his college friend, a mathematics prodigy who had disappeared years ago under mysterious circumstances.  Now he has resurfaced to make a confession, one with powerful repercussions.  This is being billed as a novel of love, war, betrayal, longing, and money.  This has been called the first truly great book of the new century.  High praise indeed, and worth checking out, to be sure.

Astonish Me, by Maggie Shipstead.  Shipstead won the Dylan Thomas Prize with her debut novel, Seating Arrangements (which I loved, by the way).  Joan is a ballerina whose life has been shaped by her connection to world-famous dancer, Arslan Ruskov, whom she helped defect from the Soviet Union to the US.  However, she finds that as Arslan's career takes off in New York, her own slowly declines, ending when she becomes pregnant and marries her longtime admirer, a PhD student named Jacob.  She gradually settles into her new life as mother and teacher in California, watching her son, Harry, become a dance prodigy himself.  When Harry's success brings him into contact with Arslan, however, a powder-keg of secrets is touched off, forcing Joan to confront her past and make peace with her present.  Shipstead showed a deft hand both with satire and interpersonal relationships in her debut--from the advance praise, I believe it's safe to say she hasn't lost her touch.

I'm currently reading something I just can't put down--I'll be sharing more details on Thursday!  In the meantime, happy reading.

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