“Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers

Zeitoun is an eye-opening account of the devastating effects of two very different disasters in the United States: As Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc on neighborhoods and lives in New Orleans, religious intolerance toward Muslims becomes more pointed this post-9/11 world. The Zeitouns’ fascinating story of survival in the face of loss and discrimination makes both catastrophes undeniably real to the reader.

“Room” by Emma Donoghue

This is by far the best book I’ve read all year. The book is original, thrilling, captivating, and heartwrenching. At the same time, it is unexpectedly fresh and optimistic, filled with life and hope and wonder.

“Washington’s U Street” by Blair A. Ruble

Washington’s U Street area is a “contact zone”—a place where cultures and peoples exist side by side. Whether black or white, southern or northern, professional or scholarly, residents in the neighborhood have interacted with each other with very few clashes decades. U Street has bred activists, politicians, scholars, educators, athletes, musicians, dancers, calling such famous figures as Duke Ellington and Ralph Bunche sons.

November is NaNoWriMo!

As of yesterday, NaNoWriMo has begun. In 2009, more than 165,000 participants took on the challenge, and even higher numbers are expected this year. In honor of those who undertake this vast but fulfilling project, this month I will be posting reviews of writing-related books.

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book was truly a delight to read, and I appreciated Gaiman’s intelligent handling of complex issues without losing sight of his inventive narrative. I would recommend this book to almost anyone for its fully formed characters, excellent prose, and engaging plot.

“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare

While it was fun to read and act out a play together, perhaps Jack and I chose the wrong work; neither of us particularly liked this one. The entire play seemed very disjointed, like there was a scene or even an act missing.

“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë

Such a powerful story of love and loss ages well, and the unconventional use of an unreliable narrator had an interesting effect upon my view of the characters and story. The supernatural elements throughout the novel only serve to add to the dark, intense feelings between the two lovers.

Halloween Reading

I’ve signed up for the Halloween Readathon hosted by Young Adult Books Reviewed this weekend… that’s right, I’m ready for some more readathon action! It’ll be a spook-tacular weekend!

“Fingerprints” by Joel Church

Fingerprints, Joel Church’s first collection of flash fiction, captures both the enticing and the mundane. Set against the backdrop of Washington, D.C., Church’s characters explore topics ranging from sexuality and drug abuse to childhood and loss. These stories extend from two to ten pages long, and their brevity makes them an excellent read on the metro; I could read for only one or two stops and not feel completely lost the next time I opened the book.

My Mailbox: R. Scott Bakker and Chris Baty

In My Mailbox was begun by Kristi over at The Story Siren. The idea is that I tell you what I’ve received this week, whether for free, from the library, or through a good old fashioned purchase. I’m also including the publisher’s blurb and my reason for wanting to read the book.

Still Reading

Readathon is nearing its end, but I’ve decided to make up for time lost sleeping. That’s right, folks–I’m ready for another day of nonstop reading. I haven’t yet hit my goal, so I’ll keep you updated as I go.