H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is a deeply personal memoir about grief, falconry, and T. H. White. A unique combination for sure, but Macdonald masterfully blends these threads into an engrossing work of art. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by the author herself for a particularly mesmerizing experience.
Audio is also available on Hoopla.
Summer is a wonderful time to pick up a collection of short stories. I recommend Mia Alvar’s knockout debut, In the Country, which has been described by readers as dazzling, phenomenal, and stunning. With a variety of characters as well as settings, these richly detailed stories capture the Filipino immigrant experience in an unforgettable way.
If you are in the mood to read something unique, I recommend Beatlebone by Kevin Barry. In this inventive novel, a late-1970s John Lennon is creatively blocked and sets off to find his private island off the coast of Ireland. I loved the unexpected detours, poetic language, and dreamlike setting. Beatles-fandom is helpful but certainly not required to enjoy this surreal story.
Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is an engrossing novel that follows the ups and downs of New Yorker Theo Drecker. It’s a huge book with generous detail and many thought-provoking themes such as art, friendship, and the chaos and beauty of life. The flawed, charismatic characters stayed with me long after I finished the last page. If you missed it when everyone was talking about it in 2013, don’t worry – you can never be too late to the party with this award-winner.