Monday, February 20, 2012

Misty Day Book Recommendations

These books don't require a misty day to be read, nor do they speak about misty days - it's just that misty days trigger the reader in me more than usual.

I highly recommend a new book from Liz Moore, Heft.  Its characters are so engaging that you may find yourself reading to the end in one sitting.  I did. 

The book tells the tale of Arthur, who was recently a professor of literature but now is a hefty (550 pound) shut-in.  The other primary character is Kel, a high school athlete, who is forced to mother his mother because she has become an alcoholic.  It is Kel's mother, Charlene, who provides the thread between Arthur and Kel, as she was once a student of Arthur's and they dated for a short period in time.  That relationship precipitated Arthur's shut-in life.  Into Arthur's house-bound world comes Yolanda, who comes to clean the house and ends up becoming Arthur's friend who eases him back into the world.

I especially enjoy stories in which people create their own families unexpectedly out of individuals who step into their lives, when perhaps the families into which they were born were less than ideal.  Pick up Heft to see how the lives of Arthur, Yolanda, Charlene and Kel weave together.

While Heft is a newly published book, another book about choosing your own family that I absolutely adore is Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos.

Broken for You is set in a large mansion in Seattle where septuagenarian Margaret lives alone with her antiques, including sets of valuable china.  All of this china, collected by her father, plays an interesting part in the story.  Lonely, Margaret decides to take in boarders and thus arrives Wanda, with a broken heart and little else.  The house gradually fills up with other characters and all of their stories weave together.

I like the notion that our sharing of flaws builds intimacy between us.  This is a book of such beautiful redemption that you will not be sorry when you lose yourself in its pages.

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