The “Book Hive” art installation created by British art group Rusty Squid (watch it in action in the video above) can be found at the Bristol Central Library. The interactive wall of books is part of an exhibit to celebrate 400 (!) year anniversary of Bristol Library.
1.Longbourn by Jo Baker
Why: I love the premise as described by a Book Riot review
“Even though the premise initially felt pandering to me (A Downtown Abbey take on Pride and Prejudice, the story from the servants’ perspective), I gave it a go because the reviews were good and I liked the cover (valid factors in reading material decision-making!), and I think Jo Baker did Jane Austen’s ghost proud. “Baker does not romanticize the servants’ position. Their work is filthy, grueling, and tedious. Their lives are not glamorous, but they ARE fascinating.”
Why: I’m seeing it on a bunch of book lists but this review on Book Riot got me to finally put it on the list:
“Different readers read this novel different ways, but if you go in expecting to be amused, you certainly will be. Eggers is really funny here (an electronic voting system called Demoxie – Democracy + Moxie, natch), in satirical ways, but also much more overtly. Our main character Mae, at one point, suffers through a viewing of Basic Instinct with her parents, and then soon after, accidentally walks in her mom giving her dad a handy — which, because she has “gone clear” (i.e., broadcasts her whole life on the internet), the whole world sees. She’s horrified. They’re horrified. And we just laugh.”
3. The invention of wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Why: The review from Maximum Shelf
The Invention of Wings ambitiously tackles a swath of issues, including feminism, abolition, religion, activism and relationships between races and genders. This subject matter might be heavy under another hand, but the historical record of Sarah Grimké’s remarkable life and Kidd’s strengths in narrative and in rendering relationships make for a story that is both thought-provoking and engrossing. Strong female characters, solid roots in history, and the compelling lives of two women the reader deeply cares about make The Invention of Wings a thoughtful, moving tale that ends on a hopeful note. –Julia Jenkins
Why: One of my favorite things about my favorite city in the world is the fog. I Saw it in the Kepler’s newsletter:
With each chapter, this splendid book presents 49 different views of San Francisco. Accompanied by pencil sketches, this book has illuminated the specialness of this wonderful city. Kamiya’s writing is fresh, authentic and musing – a perfect match to those same qualities that are the essence of San Francisco.
Why: Saw on NPR’s list – Mixed race reads
When high school senior Asha Jamison is called a “towel head” at a pool party, she and her best friend Carey start a club to raise awareness of mixed-race students that soon sweeps the country, but the hubbub puts her Ivy League dreams, friendship, and beliefs to the test.
Why: On soooo many best of 2013 lists. And Kakutani said:
a fully imagined fictional world that reminds us of the wonderful stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading. The novel is at once a thriller involving the theft of a famous Dutch painting; a panoramic portrait of New York (and America) in the post-9/11 era; and an old-fashioned coming-of-age story about an orphan named Theo who, with his best friend Boris, one of the great recent fictional creations, will enter the pantheon of classic buddy acts alongside Laurel and Hardy, Vladimir and Estragon, and Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon.
Why: Somewhat late to the appreciation of his storytelling abilities, I’ve become a fan of Johnny Cash. Kakutani says:
Johnny Cash’s life was a country song full of love, heartbreak and melodrama, and it’s chronicled in this thoughtful biography with authority and insight.
Why: This book continues to rack up award after award. And Deborah Tannen told me she was hoping to find another collection in the running for the award she was judging, but just couldn’t. Kakutani says:
No one writes more powerfully about disenfranchised Americans — those ordinary folks struggling to pay the bills, make the rent, hold onto detested jobs — than Mr. Saunders.
Why: A recommendation from Times Higher Ed. Supplement:
“The reality of America in the 1800s is spelled out in grim detail. The terrors endured by runaway slaves are painted clearly; so, too is the passion of people stuggling to make a life for themselves.
Why: This has been on my radar to read then Publisher’s Weekly gave it their “2013 Listen-Up” award for fiction. Description below from WorldCat
The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents become and the shapes their lives take.
Have any good books to recommend? I want to read them all.