Thanks to a holiday book swap through the agency of my literary agent and my book club's choice, I have caught up with the reviewers and finished "Firekeeper's Daughter" by Angeline Boulley.  It's labeled YA, but again proves a point I like to make with readers: YA is for A - adults.  Don't skip that shelf.  As a mystery addict, a lover of books in my home state of Michigan, this fit those two categories but so much more.  It's sophisticated tale weaves in Michigan's many cultures -- hockey, the Upper Peninsula "Yooper" state of mind, the Ojibwe nation's heritage here and an 18-year-old biracial teen sharing the tale. Thanks as we end 2021 again to libraries, who pivot and shift but keep us reading and exploring.
With everyone sheltering in place, including my home state of Michigan, I am grateful that I checked a batch of books out of the local library before it shut, and also grateful that libraries offer online reading options to order.
I am part of a library book club that usually meets once a month.  We've been back on Zoom, and grateful to participate. Our last read was challenging (for me) and thank you to those who read Blake poems and gave me insight in the translation of the "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead" by award-winner Olga Tokarczuk.  The winter theme, mystery of a murder and allusions to Blake gave this reader plenty of pages to savor slowly in these pandemic-snow days.
I am a lover of mysteries for all ages and drawn to historical fiction as well. I'm on the list of "holds" for "Four Winds." Meanwhile, I am just beginning our next library selection, "Red at the Bone," by Jacqueline Woodson. I feel lucky that I have heard this amazing author share her stories in person several times at the Detroit Public Library.
Earlier this year, we read Trevor Noah's book from 2016, "Born a Crime."  If you're late to this book, don't neglect Noah's personal memoirs of childhood in South Africa, before picking up his more recent book.
Also reading "The Vanishing Half"  by Brit Bennett -- almost finished this original and revealing novel examining through fiction the American history of passing.  I highly recommend the review in The New Yorker, June 15, 2020 by Sarah Resnick, See author's website, for more interviews and insights, as well as some virtual events.
We are now reading "The Friend" by Sigrid Nunez -- a National Book Award Winner.
But I confess I have plenty of comfort books that I return to at home, including some of my favorite YA books and classics. I am re-reading "Bud, Not Buddy" by Christopher Paul Curtis, a favorite writer, and in between also picked up "Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression" by Mildred Armstrong Kalish -- you may remember this gem.
As we are in challenging times of a different sort, this is engaging reading. I just finished Avi's "Gold Rush Girl," and Linda Sue Park's "Prairie Lotus."  Both are excellent historical fiction and I will expect young readers -- and old -- to be curled up this summer with the flashlight under the bed to read these well into bedtime. For adults,  you will welcome that these open your eyes to narratives not often shared, and more inclusive, and may wake you up.
You may remember a couple of years ago, it seemed everyone was fearful that all the social media would mean we wouldn't be reading -- and especially the experts and analysts forecast gloom and doom for the published print book.  Not the case at all -- print, audio or whatever way the format is presented, we're reading all of them.
Sharing today, in no particular order, after our recent trip to the library and bookstore:
"Sunset Beach" by Mary Kay Andrews -- nothing like a beach read with beach in the title. This Southern writer is fine for any Midwestern lake and beach read, too, and yes, a mystery complete with family tensions, a death at a resort and romance.Re-reading Kelly Barnhill's "The Girl Who Drank the Moon," the 2017 Newbery winner. YA is often perfectly good reading for "A." (Note to Midwesterners, Kelly is a Minnesota writer.)Besides Jennifer Weiner's "Mrs. Everything," (which begins in Detroit), have dug out another favorite mystery by Sara Paretsky and her Chicago sleuth V.I., "Double Indemnity."Back to reading -- who says adults can't read YA or younger books? Not anyone in my house.When last year's Jeopardy winner reminded his excited viewers that his trick to winning -- among his talents -- was to read in the children's section.


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