In case we haven’t made it abundantly clear already: We do a LOT of reading here at Scholastic.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It’s a story of a teenage boy trying to break free from cultural expectations and forge his own path in life. More than that though, it’s hilarious and touching. It teaches us about a culture very few of us see, but it also describes many of the highs and lows of teenage life that most all of us can relate to.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I’m not usually a big reader of short stories but Lahiri’s prose is so beautiful, I couldn’t put this one down and often found myself re-reading passages a second and third time to fully savor them. Interpreter of Maladies is an unflinchingly honest look at life, love, death, family, loss, and everything else that makes us human. Plus: it won the Pulitzer Prize for Best Fiction Writing in 2000.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – This was a simple and simply devastating book that stayed with me for days and days and days. It’s a collection of short stories about people in a small town in Maine whose lives and stories intertwine the way they tend to do.
David “Dock” Dockterman (Tom Snyder Productions and “Dock Spot” blogger):
I’ll go with The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-minded America is Tearing Us Apart, by Bill Bishop. The book is a meticulously researched history and explanation of the creation of like-minded island communities across the country. At a time when tolerance for diversity and the dissolution of barriers seems the inevitable norm (at least to some), we find ourselves in increasingly polarized political debates. Why?
I just finished That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. I’m a big fan of Richard Russo’s Empire Falls and his short story collection The Whore’s Child. In this new novel, That Old Cape Magic, Russo revisits his familiar themes of marriage, family and life in academia. I love how Russo seamlessly entwines humor and pain, hitting all of the notes that blend in daily life.
Mark Seidenfeld (Legal department):
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. An incredible story based on a little known event during WWII. Heartbreaking, but beautifully written and completely engrossing.
Andrea Pinkney (Trade Publishing):
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is an exquisitely rendered novel about Minli, a courageous girl with a dream — to change her family’s fate. Minli is inspired by the folktales her father tells her, one of them about the Old Man and the Moon, who she sets out to find in the hopes that he can help her family go from their ramshackle existence to a more abundant way of life. The novel is a multi-layered fantasy filled with Chinese folklore and enchantment. Adding to the book’s beauty are the author’s own spot illustrations, which open each chapter.
Jessica Watson (Library):
The most gripping book I read this summer was Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. It is the story of a totalitarian society that sends a class of 42 high school students to an island ghost town where the population has been sent in preparation for this battle. They must kill each other until one remains. Think of your entire English class from high school being sent away on a field trip where only one of you can make it home.
Previously On Our Minds: