GOOD READ: Excellent winter reads at Tri-City libraries
It’s a brand new year but there are still plenty of dark winter nights left, giving us all the perfect opportunity to forget those resolutions and hunker down with a good book.
The following are sure to make you forget the cold and rain outside.
Sweet Tooth is a superbly written character study from the celebrated British author Ian McEwan (Atonement) set in moody 1970s Cold War England. The book dabbles in comic spy intrigue, historical romance and political thriller, and with each layer delves deeper into the very human main character: Serena Frome, a young, sexy MI5 operative. Great story-within-a-story plot and brilliant ending.
A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler is a short book set in a small New Orleans hotel about a very intimate set of circumstances but it is this intimacy that makes it so captivating and easy to read in one sitting. Told in reverse chronology, this is the story of a marriage unraveling, where we feel equal sympathy for both people. This novel is beautifully romantic and you get the sense that one’s life’s path can turn on a single gesture or hurtful silence.
Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie is a collection of short stories, 15 classic and 16 new, from the U.S. Pacific Northwest’s premier Native American author. If you haven’t read “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist-Fight in Heaven,” you are in for a disturbing treat. The PEN/Faulkner award-winning “War Dances” is one of the best of the new works, with plenty of Alexie’s trademark humour, anger and hope. Also, “The Search Engine” contains a great riff on library books.
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. A struggling American businessman finds himself in a scorched city in Saudi Arabia trying to avoid foreclosure, keep his daughter in college and find some meaning to his existence in a shifting global economy. A Hologram for the King is a fast-paced ride with crisp dialogue and thoughtful commentary on the loneliness that a technology-saturated world can induce.
Canada by Richard Ford is a slower, more pensive novel that is influenced by the steady, wide-open landscapes of the Montana and Saskatchewan prairie. Dell Parsons is a 15-year-old whose parents have been arrested for robbing a bank. He is sent to Canada, which is foreign to him in every way. Unfortunately, his new guardian eventually brings even more darkness to Dell’s struggle to have a normal life. This is a superbly written tale of survival and grace from one of America’s master writers.
More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby. Can’t decide what to read next? You’re sure to pull some ideas from Hornby’s third collection of his hilarious and meandering book reviews for Believer magazine. While you might not find yourself reading the 600-page Austerity Britain, Hornby may convince you to revisit the works of Muriel Spark. With eclectic and random reading tastes, spending an afternoon with these reviews is like celebrating the joys of reading with a like-minded friend.
Of course, you can also always get great suggestions by visiting your local library — we’d love to help distract you from that new fitness regime.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Anthea Goffe is community librarian at Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Library.