Recent Reads / 01

Hello!recent-reads-october-2016What a long time it’s been! How are things? Keeping busy? I can’t wait to catch up; senior year has been absolutely wonderful thus far, but I do crave more time to devote to blogging. Nevertheless, I’m trying to squeeze in some Ciao Bella upkeep this morning before I dash off to my tech rehearsal for this year’s fall play – I’m so excited to see how the production comes together!

In other news, today’s post, “Recent Reads,” was born out of a sad fact: with school taking first priority, my reviewing schedule has unfortunately fallen to the back burner. I love to talk books, but I needed to be creative should I want to continue the conversations throughout the school year. Perhaps you’re in need of a book recommendation, or, perhaps, you’ve read a few of these novels yourself; either way, I hope this serves as a fun substitute for the traditional book review! What have you been reading recently?

1 / I read The Mother-Daughter Book Camp on a trip to New York City in the late summer, and I have no shame in admitting to tearing up on the bus as the book came to a close. In the seventh and final installment, author Heather Vogel Frederick sends the girls to summer camp as counselors, a heartfelt conclusion to such a powerful series. I was first introduced to these characters when I was little, and now, Cassidy’s off to Boston University, Jess and Meg are heading to New York for Julliard and Parsons, Emma’s making the trek to the University of British Colombia, and Becca has plans at the University of Minnesota – and I only have a year left until I go to college myself. Trust me, I’ll be packing all seven books to take with me, regardless of where I end up.

2 / I love me a strong historical fiction, but I’ll be the first to admit that the genre doesn’t nearly capture the spectrum of history. Case in point: when was the last time you saw a YA historical fiction novel set in the ’70s? They’re few and far between. It’s a shame, for if Meg Medina’s book, Burn Baby Burn, is any indication, the period is rich with potential stories. Using the hot and dangerous summer of 1977 in New York as the backdrop to her narrative, Medina crafts a vivid depiction of life for teenager Nora Lopez. The detail Medina infuses in the story lends a genuine voice to book, and the family storyline – Nora’s brother Hector has a violent history – is particularly interesting. It’s an ambitious work, but it pays off; I’ve been recommending it left and right as of late!

3 / If you’re ripping your hair out due to the current political scene, fiction, I believe, can provide a welcome respite. Jennifer Lynn Barne’s The Fixer is a fun, suspenseful read, reminiscent of shows like Scandal, not in the least because it features a political powerhouse much like Olivia Pope. If the premise doesn’t have you interested {Tess moves to live with her sister in D.C., but she quickly becomes entangled in secrets and mystery at her new school}, I can only hope my words of praise will. I’ve already checked out Book Two from the library!

4 / They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but when it’s as colorful and intriguing as that of True Letters from a Fictional Life, how could you not? I like a good male narrator – it’s a change of pace from my primarily female-centered reading – and I love a well-written coming-of-age story: True Letters, therefore, seemed like a match made in heaven. And that it was: I read it in one sitting, captivated by the realistic growth in the protagonist James, the character dynamics with James’ family members and friends, and the genuine voice that shines through on each page.  It may be too early to say, but I think Kenneth Logan’s debut is the hidden gem of the year. Do pick it up if you see it on the library shelves.

5 / A few months ago, The New York Magazine published an article on how to find quiet in the Big Apple {here’s the link, if you want to read it in full}. As a true-blue introvert, I was fascinated by the paradoxical situation: in a place so crowded with people, what does it mean to be alone? In The Lonely City, author Olivia Laing tackles the question head-on, tracing the pattern of loneliness within the artwork of famous city residents, Andy Warhol in New York, Henry Darger in Chicago, among others. Laing sometimes drifts into hyperbole, and other times, her snippets of memoir seem out-of-place, but as a whole, it’s a fascinating, insightful piece of work worth reading by anyone who strives to understand loneliness in the modern age.

Have the most lovely weekend!

Bella

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