The Best Book I’ve read in 2018

I asked this question earlier today on instagram, and as always the community had a lot to say. There were so many readers who chimes in to answer this question, which can sometimes be a difficult decision to make. There were a few familiar titles, some that I have been wanting to read, and even a few that I haven’t heard of before. Take a look:

We take our Read a Thons seriously

Getting kids excited about reading books can be a challenge. There are more things than ever that compete for our attention, and some parents struggle to get their children to read a book. One of the things that works well in my house is… essentially bribery. We load up on treats, we find a stack of books, and we pull out every blanket that we own to build “nests” for the kids. They love it!

Our kids are pretty young still: six, four, two, so they are fairly easy to bribe and manipulate. Do you have any tricks to help young children, or older kids to spend time with books?

Books – a great, free source of entertainment

I came across a nice little info graphic on the web that illustrates some of the advantages of reading books.

And all of these are true, or at least they “might be” true. There is one that I can’t relate to personally. (See below). I can never seem to get out of a bookstore without dropping twenty or thirty bucks! Ha.

Friday Black book review

I bought this book at a signing in Boston last week. The author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah read a selection and gave some thoughts on his experience as a new writer. The book is a collection of short stories with deep, impactful themes but told in digestible and entertaining settings. These stories each mix an aspect of fantasy or surrealism with a message that we can relate to today. These stories are significant and meaningful, but easy to read and hard to forget. I blew through the book in less than a week.

Plus the colors are just right for fall. Ha!

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

I had a chance to hear this hot new author read from and sign his new book Friday Black at Harvard Bookstore in Boston.

This writer is exactly the type of person that you truly want to find great success. While the subjects of many of his short stories are dark and foreboding Adjei-Brenyah was upbeat and funny during his discussion of the writing process and while answering questions from the audience.

I have had a chance to read the first 100 pages of his book Friday Black and I am finding it very enthralling. These stories each have a definite edge, and some even have aspects of fantasy or science fiction, but they are each relevant and meaningful for the modern day.

Read Friday Black, and if you have a chance to see Adjei-Brendan in person, don’t miss it.

Cold Weather Cometh

Summer is finally and most definitely over. We had our first snow in the mountains of Utah this past week. We are preparing ourselves mentally for significantly less sunshine for the next six months… but it’s not all bad:

Hot tea and a good book. Although I just can’t seem to get into this particular book. Oh well, there are plenty more on my shelves to take its place.

Hum If You Don’t Know The Words – book review

This is the book that you come across once in a rare while that transforms you. This is a story that opens your eyes to horrible, true events in history and revisits conditions that members of our human race were forced to endure for decades in South Africa. While reading this book it is impossible to ignore that similar circumstances still exist today in locations around the world.

Bianca Marais exposes the reader to tragedy, loss, and hatred but also provides us with characters who overcome personal challenges to fight the same type of oppression that exists today. Central characters Robin and Beauty learn about love, sacrifice, and forgiveness among other things they need to survive the ignorance and violence around them.

You’ve got to read this one, then tell everyone that you know about it! It is that good.

Book recommendations from two incredible contemporary authors – John Boyne and Gabriel Tallent

Here are two of today’s best contemporary authors on their book recommendations for the upcoming months.

First, John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and more recently The Heart’s Invisible Furies) searches his own private library of over 3,000 titles to proudly display his top ten (see comments from Mr. Boyne for each title):

John Boyne instagram

  • johnboyne So what if you wandered around your house for a couple of hours, looking at 3,000 books and choosing the best 10 novels – from the top down – that you’d ever read? You might find a couple of surprises in there !
  • johnboyne from the top down it’s the go between, David copperfield, cider house rules, my cousin Rachel, wuthering heights, Anna karenina, a widow for one year, what a carve up, northern clemency, tender

Follow John Boyne on Instagram for awesome pics, funny stories, and more book recommendations: @johnboyne

You can also learn more about John Boyne on his web page: www.johnboyne.com

 

Our second contemporary author is Gabriel Tallent. His debut novel My Absolute Darling came out just last year. Stephen King called it “one shattering, can’t-put-it-down book. Both shocking and tender.” Talent posted a list of some of his upcoming reads to social media just a couple of days ago:

gabrielle talent

Mona Lisa Overdrive – Men Explain Things to Me – Annihilation – Treasure Island – Love Me Back – Bleak House – The Things They Carried – Kidnapped – Idaho – A Double Life – Sorry To Disrupt the Peace – The Burning Girl

The only books that I have personally read from Tallent’s stack are Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell and The Things They Carried, so I have my work cut out for me.

You can follow Gabriel Tallent on Facebook: @Gabriel Tallent

Or on Instagram, where you will mostly find pictures in the outdoors all around the Western U.S. : @gabriel_tallent

 

 

 

 

Colson Whitehead in SLC- Winner of the National Book Award for fiction

Image result for colson whitehead

I was excited to hear that one of the hottest authors around is making a stop in Utah this week. There are actually three events that you can catch him at around Salt Lake City. See the schedule below. Whitehead has been around for several years and already has a few books under his belt, but his most recent, The Underground Railroad, really brought him into the national and international spotlight. He has been one of the few figures in the world of fiction that has received attention and praise from both literary critics as well as popular media sources. I am happy to call Salt Lake my home, but we just don’t get that many visits from great writers like this. If you are in the area be sure to catch Colson Whitehead at one of these events!

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Colson Whitehead

– Thursday, March 15, noon Q&A and discussion at the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South.
– Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m Reading and book signing at the Main Library auditorium. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. The event is free, but space is limited.
– Friday, March 16, 7 p.m. Q&A and discussion at Finch Lane Gallery, 54 Finch Lane, Salt Lake City.

Colson Whitehead at Salt Lake City Library

If you can’t make the event you can check out this video of Whitehead discussing his book The Underground Railroad. – Colson Whitehead with Oprah

 

The Alchemist

It’s late, but I had to finish! The Alchemist was incredible in achieving a profound account of an epic journey through several years of a young man’s life, but all within about 170 pages. I was amazed by the author’s ability to create a vivid setting and rich environment with simple, straightforward description in just a few words. It reads like a parable, but appeals to a wide audience and a variety of beliefs. “Everything is created by the same hand…”

This was a great book to start off the new year!