Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
What’s it about?
Jende is a Cameroonian immigrant who has come to the United States to make a better life for his family. He cannot believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Wall Street executive Clark Edwards and increases his salary to 35,000 a year. Now his only problem is getting that green card…
What did it make me think about?
This is a very readable novel that examines the immigrant experience in America. The author juxtaposes the lives of Jende and his family with the lives of his Wall Street employer and his family.
Should I read it?
I kind of shied away from this novel because it was another “Oprah Pick”. Not sure why as I usually like her picks…. I was thinking it would just be depressing. I am so glad I finally picked this one up. Mbue does such a good job of portraying the difficulties of immigration in America without becoming militant or preachy. She also deftly handles the pain and humanity present in all the people in America- rich and poor. This is a good one!
“Who traveled to America only to return to a future of nothingness in Cameroon after a mere three months? Not young men like him, not people facing a future of poverty and despondency in their own country. No, people like him did not visit America. They got there and stayed there until they could return home like conquerors- as green card- or American passport- bearing conquerors with pockets full of dollars and photos of a happy life”
If you like this try-
The Reugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Girl at War by Sara Novic
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
Below is an article from my friend Nancy's new blog- champaignbookdiva.com
Please take some time to explore this new site.
Nancy loves mysteries and suspense thrillers so this is an especially good place to look for suggestions on these genres. I am so excited to add it to my list!
Schedule a Cozy Fall Night with these Six New Releases
There's something comforting about Fall reading. As the days get shorter, and the weather turns cooler, there's nothing better than thoughts of curling up in your favorite spot, under a blanket, and getting lost in a great book. You're not outside as much, so you typically have more time to read. Publishers know this, so there are always a lot of great Fall releases. These are the books I'm looking forward to this Fall in order of release date.
Glass Houses by Louise Penny
Release Date: August 29, 2017
I'm only on book five of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, so this is a bit anticlimactic that I won't actually be reading Glass Houses on it's release date. I thought I should include it though, for any lucky Louise Penny fans that are current in the series. Glass Houses is the thirteenth and I'm not there yet, not because I'm not enjoying the series - quite the opposite - I love it so much, I never want to be without a new book of hers to look forward to. I wrote about my love for this series in another blog post. You can read about here:
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
Release Date: September 12, 2017
This is a continuation of the popular Lisbeth Salander series that Stieg Larsson started before he passed away in 2004. It must be very difficult for a writer to take over another writer's wildly successful series, but I'm willing to give this a try. I do enjoy a good Scandinavian crime novel. This time our heroine, Lisbeth Salander and her sometimes love interest, Mikael Blomkvist go up against Islamic leaders, a prison gang leader, and even her long-lost twin sister, Camilla. All the characteristics that make up this Nordic Noir genre seem to be present here - a dark storyline, moody atmosphere, and morally complex characters. Sign me up!
Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
Release Date: September 26, 2017
My first Harlan Coben novel was the standalone novel, The Woods, published in 2007. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to read most of the standalone novels he's put out since then, which come out about once a year. He has been a master of domestic suspense before the genre became really popular with the publication of Gone Girl in 2012. In his newest, Don't Let Go, you have New Jersey Detective "Nap" Dumas who lost his brother to a railroad accident around the same time the love of his life vanished. Fifteen years later when the finger prints of his love interest turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, there are more questions than answers as Detective Nap tries to unravel once and for all the mysteries from his high school days.
Origin by Dan Brown
Release Date: October 3, 2017
The Da Vinci Code is on my list of Top Ten Favorite Fiction Books of all time, so reading everything Dan Brown has written since is a must, and cause for much anticipation! This installment starts out with Robert Langdon attending a major announcement at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain that "will change the face of science forever." Sound familiar? Yes, it sounds like this book has all the elements that made The Da Vinci Code a best seller right out of the gate, and I for one couldn't be happier!
The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
Release Date: October 24, 2017
When this book first came on my radar, it did not have a title or a synopsis. It was listed on Amazon as "New Legal Thriller" and you could pre-order it that way sight unseen. I was ready to jump on that bandwagon, as I'm sure many others were. We now have a title though, and a book cover, and a synopsis. This book is set in Washington, D.C. where three idealistic law students realize they've been duped. They are up to their eye balls in student loan debt when they realize their university is one of a chain owned by a shady hedge-fund operator who is only in it for the money. This book deals with the issue of student loan debt and for-profit universities. With many of John Grisham's books that deal with social issues, this one also has a healthy dose of suspense thrown in for fun! In the meantime, if you want a lighter, fun beach read book by John Grisham, you can read my previous review of Camino Island here: http://champaignbookdiva.com/2017/06/18/camino-island/
Newcomer: A Mystery by Keigo Higashino
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Do you know how fun it is to feel like you're the only one who knows about this secret, great author? Like it's just he and I in on this little secret. That's how I feel about the Japanese author, Keigo Higashino. He is an international bestselling author whose book The Devotion of Suspect X was a finalist for the Edgar Award for best novel, so I'm quite sure I'm not the only one who has discovered his books - it just feels that way. His book, The Devotion of Suspect X, is also on my list of Top Ten Favorite Fiction books of all time. He writes in a way that I rarely experience in a book – it’s like a slow, calculated, step-by-step unveiling of a mystery. I'm just glued to his every word.
Let me know what you're looking forward to reading this Fall!
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!