I have a secret weapon when it comes to books: my wife. She is a voracious reader who can devour books at quite an astonishing clip. I, myself, am not as fast a reader and not as disciplined a reader. Disciplined is maybe not the right word; I just lose interest rather quickly and get distracted by other things.
So Dana vets books for me. Or, more accurately, she just reads books and tells me her assessment of them, and I make a mental note as to whether these books ought to be pursued, either personally or professionally, some time in the future.
Here’s a few of her latest reads:
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
4 stars (out of 5)
Remembered liking it the first time around (a few years ago). Good to read again when you’re feeling a little bit blah because it gives you perspective on how fortunate we are to be living in such an affluent society. Recommended for sophomores and juniors.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Really fun read, but not deep. Compelling but ultimately forgettable. Interesting modern twist on the Anansi trickster folklore. Could be great for middle-schoolers but has a racy thread that might be inappropriate. Juniors and seniors.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Dana read this almost 700 page novel in about a day and a half. A real page-turner along the lines of a Dickensian serial. It did lose steam towards the end when what seems obvious and inevitable to the reader is still lost on the characters in the novel.
Unlike The Da Vinci Code, Kostova can actually construct a sentence and knows how to explain academic material (anthropology, history) in seamless and compelling ways. Made Dana want to learn more about the classical and medieval eras in Asia Minor.
Although Dana thinks a bright middle-schooler could read this book, the byzantine plot structure might be off-putting for their attention spans. Recommended for juniors and seniors.