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.
Amy recommends: WOOL by Hugh Howey (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
"Wool is the story of a community who lives in an underground silo. The air outside is poisonous, and the silo was established so that people could carry on. However, the book begins with Sheriff Holston voicing the desire to go outside, knowing that stating this means he will be forced out of the silo to his death. But he still wonders why his wife wanted so badly to go outside three years ago…. This is a powerful tale of individuals who gradually realize that secrets are being kept about the world outside the silo. We spend most of our time in the head of protagonist Jules, a female engineer who knows how the machinery of the silo works, and wonders about Holston’s motivations. Howey’s mechanical background means that we’re given a true nuts-and-bolts description of the silo. In its depiction of a society that’s abided by absolute rules and those who begin to question those rules, Wool is a compelling study of people striving to live together and survive."
Lynnell recommends: GODFORSAKEN IDAHO by Shawn Vestral (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)
Genre: Short fiction collection
"Shawn Vestal's 2014 PEN award-winning collection of short fiction Godforsaken Idaho certainly won't be on the top ten must reads from the Idaho Tourism Bureau, but it's definitely in the top ten collections of short fiction I've read in the last five years. Jess Walter (The Financial Lives of Poets, Beautiful Ruins) calls the collection 'Wickedly funny and surprisingly profound...one of the wryest most, most inventive new voices in fiction' and Vestral lives up to the praise for these stories of parents and children and relationships and, yes, Mormons. Lots of Mormons. In three concluding stories that mine the history of Mormonism in American West, the supernatural and the historical collide as characters scramble to survive in a geographic, spiritual, and emotional landscape that is every bit the definition of godforsaken."
Alice recommends: BELLMAN AND BLACK by Diane Setterfield (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2013)
"If told in another way, Bellman and Black is a simple tale of a man’s life – his successes, tragedies, and final hours. But as in most good novels, the cream of the story is in the telling. This is an eery tale, with a tone somewhere between Grimm and Dickens, beginning with a boy who makes an unlikely shot with his catapult at a rook in a tree, too far away, and kills it. The rook and the swooping (plot-like) arc of the rock follow the boy throughout the rest of his life, perhaps even guide him. While most life stories are told through events of life – holidays, births, marriages, summer trips – Setterfield uses death and funerals to show the passing of time in Bellman’s life, including a mysterious wispy man clothed in black at each event. This bird-like man, combined with the occaisional interuption for a snippet on the history of rooks, has an ominous effect, and leaves the reader with the idea that the rooks will never leave Bellman alone, that the careless and impossible event from his childhood has marked him for the rest of his days."
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.