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LLA Reads: Into Unknown Territory

At Louisville Literary Arts, we all love to read. But our interests in literature are as varied as hats on Derby Day. Some of us gravitate toward poetry, while others prefer an epic novel. A few of us love reading creative nonfiction. In this space, we recommend recent books we've read, and hope that you'll find something just right for your reading list.

Alice recommends: ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

Genre: Young Adult

"Ari’s life is full of secrets. No one in his family will talk about his older brother, who’s in prison. His dad won’t talk about his time in the war. And even Ari won’t talk about how he jumped in front of a car to save his best friend Dante. With so much bottled up, Ari struggles to know who he’s about to become as he walks the line between boyhood and manhood. The opposite of Ari and his family, Dante is blunt, talkative, and affectionate, but he’s the first friend Ari’s ever had, and the first person Ari thinks might understand what he’s feeling. This story brought me to the inner heart of a teenage boy who understands that he’s different, but isn’t quite sure how or why. It’s beautiful exploration of Mexican American identity, friendship, and loyalty, with a clever voice and an emotional tug that won’t let go."

Kim recommends: THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House, 2010)

Genre: Narrative Nonfiction

"Six million Southern Blacks migrated to the North between 1915 and 1970. They escaped Jim Crow, the terror of lynching, the trap of tenant farming, educational and employment inequities. Pultizer Prize winning journalist, Isabel Wilkerson, condenses the Great Migration into 640 pages, borrowing its title from one migrant Native Son author, Richard Wright, who wrote, that he was 'leaving the south to fling myself into the unknown . . . to bend in strange winds, to respond to the warmth of other suns.' What makes this sociological narrative a delight to read is Wilkerson’s portrayal of three of the 1,200 migrants she interviewed—two men and one woman, all protagonists in this true tale. Wilkerson tells their stories, often using their words and becoming a character herself. All the elements of great nonfiction storytelling are here—vivid scenes and characters, dialogue, conflict and the triumph of human nature. Wilkerson flawlessly weaves exposition into her storytelling. The Warmth of Other Suns entertains and enlightens. "

Amy recommends: THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey (Putnam, 2013)

Genre: Young Adult

"This book takes off like a rocket, and the pace doesn’t let up from there. The fifth wave, a teenager named Cassie tells us, is only the latest attack from aliens who are staging all-out war against the inhabitants of planet Earth. Cassie watches members of her family suffer from the successive alien attacks, until she has to survive on her own. Meanwhile, Ben, a teenager from Cassie’s school, has his own story of being trained to wage war against the aliens. The Fifth Wave is a juggernaut of a book, telling the compelling story of human beings struggling to survive against an incredibly clever and relentless force. Yancey’s lean and dynamic prose will inexorably pull you into this gripping tale."



If you would like us to consider recommending your book, please contact LLA Reads editor Alice, who will let you know how to get your book to our readers.

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