It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some favorite books! Being an avid reader I pretty much always have something checked out from the library, or an old favorite from my bookshelf, on hand. I thought I’d share the two books I’m currently reading and maybe inspire some summer reading of your own!
If there is one genre of book I love more than any other, it’s a good piece of thoughtful fiction. I would put Out of Oz on par with The Chronicles of Narnia series or, naturally, the original Oz series by L. Frank Baum. Books that create fanciful worlds that somehow manage to seem incredibly realistic, inspiring the imagination…but which also inspire something deeper within you as well. They ask the big questions of life, ones that we all wonder about but oftentimes can’t ask, or answer, directly.
Out of Oz is the final volume in the Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire. I started this series about two years ago and was completely enthralled with Maguire’s re-imagining of the world of Oz. About the same time, I was reading the original L. Frank Baum series aloud to Zion, and to read the two series simultaneously was especially interesting, and solidified Maguire as a literary genius in my mind! He takes the original characters in Oz and turns them on their heads…was The Wicked Witch of the West truly evil? What happened in the aftermath of Dorothy’s falling house? Maguire takes elements from all 14 of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz books and transforms them into a story that had me laughing out loud one minute and close to tears in the next. I’m on the last 50 pages or so of Out of Oz, and I’m admittedly reading them very slowly because I think I’ll actually be sad when the series is over! It is so easy to get lost in his magical words.
When I need a break from fiction, I’ve been picking up Dave Isay’s compilation of love stories from StoryCorps, entitled All There Is. If you’ve never heard of Storycorps, you can read more about it on their website, but in a nutshell, it’s an initiative whose mission is to record, share, and preserve the stories of everyday American’s lives. Two people go into a recording booth and interview one another for 40 minutes, it’s put onto CD to share, and then archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to preserve for future generations. I just think this is the COOLEST idea ever!
I have really enjoyed reading the short, but incredibly poignant, interviews in this book. Who doesn’t love a good love story, after all? It never ceases to amaze me how the most humble of people can express the deepest sentiments in such simple, yet beautiful, language. Fair warning: I cannot read one of these interviews without crying. To see a heart-wrenching example of one of these love stories, check out one I posted here a year or so ago, the story of Danny and Annie.
So, that’s what I’ve been reading lately! Anyone have some suggestions for what I should check out next? Leave me a comment and let me know!