April’s round-up was somewhat delayed by getting married (Yay!), but here are the books I read in April (4 Non-fiction and 3 Fiction):
Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals about the Mind by Margalit Fox. This book was absolutely, completely fascinating and I highly recommend it (in fact, Jami is reading it now!). Fox follows a group of sign language linguists to a village in Israel with a high incidence of deafness (about 30% of the population), where an indigenous sign language has developed over the past few generations. Interspersed with that story are chapters explaining language, linguists, and the relatively new field of sign language linguistics. It was so neat to read about how our minds work and the ways in which we develop language. Really, really good book.
Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith. This is the second book in the 44 Scotland Street Series, which I wrote about last month. Still engaging and amusing – my favorite new “light” read.
Marriage and Other Acts of Charity: A Memoir by Kate Braestrup. This is Braestrup’s second memoir (I haven’t read the first, Here if You Need Me) and it focuses on marriage – both her own and the marriages she performs as a minister. I didn’t read the first one, in part because it dealt with grief (not my favorite subject, I am definitely an escapist reader), and partly because overt religious discussion makes me uncomfortable, but I’m glad I read this one. When I read the title, I thought “acts of charity” referred to someone who married someone else out of some sense of pity, but the book was more about how we should be more charitable towards the people we marry – that as those closest to us, those that we spend the most time with, we can get frustrated or annoyed with our spouses in ways that don’t with those from whom we have more distance, but that we should be sure to apply that kindness that we often find easier to give to strangers to our spouses. I thought that was a great message to read on the eve of my wedding. It’s a quick read too. Recommended.
Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals by Jamie Oliver. This was a cookbook, so it’s doesn’t totally seem like it should count, but I did read it in April. I’m interested in food and in a shift back to “real” food and healthier food, so I like what Oliver is trying to do, getting folks to cook again. Nothing too earth-shattering in the book or recipes – but it was a reminder that the British do love their curries (I’ve never read a “general” cookbook with a full chapter of curry recipes before).
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. This was a book club pick, and a good one. It took me probably half the book to get into it (I was really worried for much of the book that something AWFUL was about to happen. This is part of the reason why I have a hard time reading “contemporary” fiction.) Once I got into though, I was hooked. Michael Chabon is one of those author’s that I have always meant to read, and I was glad to actually get the chance to do so.
Knives at Dawn: America’s Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d’Or Competition by Andrew Friedman. An interesting, but not brilliant read about the 2009 Bocuse d’Or cooking competition and the American teams preparation for it. One of those books that I grabbed from the “New Books” display at the library.
Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith. Another entry into the 44 Scotland Street series. How McCall Smith manages to publish so many book in such short order (He has 3 series going at the moment!) I will never know. It’s impressive.