When National Library Week rolls around, the librarians like to suggest some "fun" reading on ZiefBrief. And the library also serves ice cream to the entire law school on Tuesday, April 19! Here are a few of my favorite books from the last few months of reading:
- The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall. If you like HBO's Big Love, you'll enjoy this book, but you don't need to be a Big Love fan to enjoy Udall's novel. Golden Richards has four wives, 28 children, a lackluster construction business, and way too many things to worry about. In many ways, this is a classic story about a mid-life crisis, but because it happens in the midst of a polygamous clan, it's a lot more complicated and interesting than the typical mid-life crisis novel.
- One Day, by David Nicholls. A runaway summer hit (movie version already filmed) about two college kids, Emma and Dex, who hook up the week that they graduate from college. They continue to torment and preoccupy each other over the next 20 years. A very nostalgic read for Gen Xers, especially the early sections of the book, which include letters that Emma and Dex write to each other. Perfect vacation read.
- Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray. Longlisted for the Booker Prize, this coming-of-age novel is set in a contemporary Irish private school. One of the main characters, Skippy Juster, dies on page five -- hence the title -- and Murray spends the next 600+ pages taking us back in time to figure out what happened to Skippy. Murray's teenagers are perfectly and poignantly drawn. This is one of the funniest -- and heart-wrenching-- books I've read in years.
- The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas. Also longlisted for the Booker Prize, Tsiolkas's novel opens with a shocker of a scene, at least for contemporary readers. A man slaps someone else's misbehaving child at a barbeque, and in the aftermath of the slap, relationships among the partygoers unravel in predictable but also surprising ways. You'll either love or hate this novel, but I found it riveting.
- Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. One of the most absorbing non-fiction releases from the last year. In the late 1930s, Louis Zamperini was an up-and-coming Olympic athlete with big plans for the 1940 Olympics. But World War II intervenes, and Zamperini enlists as a member of the Army Air Force. When he and his crew have to ditch their plane in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Zamperini spends 49 days on a battered life raft, surrounded by hungry sharks. The Japanese capture him, and Hillenbrand's description of Zamperini's struggle for survival in a Japanese POW camp will horrify and enthrall you. A great book to read when you need to get a little perspective on what's important in life.