Books recently read

I’m on a reading binge!

The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway: Based on the true story of a cellist who, during the Siege of Sarajevo, played the same piece at a bomb site for 22 days straight to honor the 22 victims of the bombing. Told through the voices of 4 protagonists: the cellist, a young female sniper, a man with a young family going out to fetch water, and an elderly baker who stayed behind when his wife and son were able to escape. A very rich, very sad description of what it’s like to try to hold on to one’s humanity in the middle of war. I think this is a beautiful book.

Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette-Kowal: AKA Jane Austen with magic. Hints of both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. The use of magic (“glamour”) is really neat, described in terms of fabrics and thread. Cute love story. Very light and just the thing to read after the heaviness of the previous book. This is the first of a series, and I’ll definitely read the others.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor: Man, I wish I’d written this one. Starts off with a quote: “Once upon a time, and angel and a demon fell in love. It didn’t go well.” From there we’re in Prague with art school students, one of whom was raised by “monsters.” Really lively characters, lots of angst, lots of art. Head-smackingly good details. Also the first in a series, yippee!

The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert: The most satisfying read I’ve had in a long time. I stayed up nights, I neglected chores, I seriously contemplated calling in sick to work. The whole lifetime of Alma Whittaker and some of her history, spanning the early 1700s to the mid-1800s, with lots and lots of science through the head of a complex, knotty, cantankerous, stubborn, lovable character. This was like a really nourishing, delicious meal. I’m still thinking about it and thinking with pleasure of reading it again.

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