Five for Friday.

That thing where you write an entire blog post and then you accidentally close the tab and your draft hadn’t auto-saved? Yeah. That’s where your intro is. It was great! It was about Fall and the renewed rigor and vigor of reading and how great the feelings of coziness and all the bookish things – Dewey’s Readathon and blankets and new Fall releases – all helped you tuck yourself into a corner and just chill. Turn inward and think. Read. Take a breath after the crazy hectic summer.

Instead, I’m just going to throw you cold into five more books from what will be known as my Ridiculously Awesome Book Streak of 2015:

  1. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, by Isabel Quintero. (Cinco Punto Presses, 2014, 284 pages. Library book.) My first version was better, but here goes: Gabi was a random book I’d heard about through goodness knows where, but it ended up on my TBR list and I ran across it in the library. I’m so glad! Gabi is our high school protag who has to navigate some pretty grown-up issues: her best friend gets pregnant because she got drunk at a party, her other bestie comes out as gay to his parents and his dad kicks him out, and her own mom is convinced she’ll get pregnant as a teenager (like she did) and so acts pretty rotten towards her. It’s a very shades-of-gray book and I love how Quintero never boiled it down to an After-School Special. I’m definitely going to try to get Gracie to read this. 4 of 5 stars.
  2. Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby. (Balzer & Bray, 2015, 368 pages. Library ebook.) So many of my bookish fairy godmothers on Book Riot would not shut up about this book. They didn’t give it as much lip service as they did The Martian, but enough that I added it to my TBR just to see. When the title popped up as available for ereading when nothing else was, I sighed and checked it out. And never looked back. It’s Southern Lit meets Shining Girls, with enough Stephen King backwoods-town descriptions to keep my heart happy. The tone is incredible, the characters are memorable, and there’s travellin’. Be still my heart! I loved it so much that I splurged on a hardcover, you guys. It was for my sister’s care package, but still! So good that I couldn’t wait for her to read it. 5 of 5 stars.
  3. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. (Pantheon, 2000, 160 pages. Paperback.) This graphic novel is on all of the Best Of lists. So many of my book buddies rave about it. And my Read Harder challenge called for a graphic novel. I’m so glad! I devoured the autobiographical story of Marjane’s childhood in Iran at the time of the revolution. Her story is simply told, but it resonates, and the comic illustrations are dead. on. Bee begged to read it when I was done, and she loved it nearly as much as I did. Buy it, buy it, buy it. I’d give it 6 stars if I could. 5 of 5 stars.
  4. The Star Side of Bird Hill, by Naomi Jackson. (Penguin Press, 2015, 306 pages. Library book.) This was the summer book I was most looking forward to. I barely held of buying, and I’ll definitely go back and get the paperback when it comes out. I loved how my heart broke for the two girls, Dionne and Phaedra, coped with summering on Barbados with their grandmother when their mentally ill mom could no longer care for them. Truth is, their mom hadn’t been for awhile, and it was hard for the girls to grow back down just to grow up all over again. It was a complicated story of first love, That Summer that everyone has as a kid, loving family – warts and all, magic, community, and race. In other words, the story hit all my buttons, even before the gorgeous voice of Naomi Jackson lulled me into that magic place where stories can take you. 5 of 5 stars.
  5. Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Harper Perennial, 2005, 307 pages. Library ebook.) This was another story I picked up for the Read Harder challenge (A Book Written By An Author Under 25-Years-Old). I’d read Adichie’s Americanah and loved it; I’d read Half a Yellow Sun and hated it. So I was a little wary of where Purple Hibiscus would fall. I was afraid it would fall into the latter category and Americanah was a singular experience. I’m so glad I was wrong. The voice was back to gorgeous, simple prose – I was never once bored with Hibiscus, something that happened with Yellow Sun quite often. The circular story of a picture perfect Nigerian family that wasn’t both entertained my story-self and broke my heart all at once. The themes of family, faith, culture, immigration, and modernization all wove a tight and multi-colored basket, carrying the characters around and through the story. There was real growth in the characters in a believable fashion. It still wasn’t Americanah, but given that that books was my very favorite one of 2013, could it have been? 4 of 5 stars.

So there you have it. Five more excellent books in this unprecedented book run. I haven’t read so many good books accidentally strung together since…well, I don’t even know since when! Enjoy your weekend, you guys. I hope the very right books find you and make you sit down and relax for awhile.

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One Response to “Five for Friday.”

  1. Care Says:

    Goodness. Sigh. Will tbr these (one might already be there and I have actually read one!

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