What I’m Reading Now (5/21/18)
Through the Bookstore Window, a novel by Bill Petrocelli
For some years back in the late nineties and early 21st century I wrote a travel book review column (Bookings) for the San Francisco Sunday Examiner/Chronicle. In it I offered up short reviews of five or six of my favorite travel books for the month. I really miss that column, but I have no reason to miss the books. I have new favorites.
Bookseller Bill Petrocelli’s new novel, Through the Bookstore Window, is a page-turner. Even if you are not, like me, among the book- and bookstore-obsessed, you’ll find plenty to wind you up in this gripping tale about an enigmatic and fascinating woman who is driven to outrun and outwit her tormentors and fix what is broken. Gina, the protagonist, is a feminist for a new era. Add a taut mix of the issues that keep most Americans up at night or shaken by the daily news—gun violence, child abuse, conspiracy, gender issues, war—and a series of shocking reveals, and you have an enthralling book that’s hard to put down. Quick shifts in time, place, point of view, and plot are athletic enough to keep pace with modern readers. No snoozing here.
Song of a Captive Bird, by Jasmin Darznik
This new novel by New York Times bestselling author, Jasmin Darznik, is probably on everyone’s bookshelf, and if it isn’t, it should be. The fictionalized biography of Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokzhad, whose press for freedom in her life and work came at tremendous cost is more than enlightening. It opens up a world that still lies within walls today. From her 1940’s childhood to her tragic death at thirty-two, Forugh epitomized the fierce and truthful spirit of a woman who refused to be constrained or restrained against her will in a world where this was the norm. Just as she did in her first book, The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life, Jasmin Darznik recreates Iran, the place of her birth, in all its beauty, heartache and complexity. She opens a door for her readers—one that exposes without exhibiting, that judiciously and sensitively lays place and characters bare.
Other Reads This Month
Sun Bear, poetry by Matthew Zapruder
To the Boneyard, poetry by Barbara Marsh