I felt really lucky to get this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program. How to Read the Air is the second novel by Dinaw Mengestu. His first, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, was set in Washington, DC, which is why I picked it up. It was also beautifully written, which is why I enjoyed it. This book has no DC connection. It follows the protagonist, Jonas Woldemariam, as he retraces the steps of his parent’s road trip from Peoria to Nashville, trying to make sense of his and his parents lives. It’s not really an uplifting book, Jonas’s parents had an unhappy and abusive marriage and his mother left once he was in college, Jonas’s marriage is falling apart, but as the story unfolds I found myself caring just as much as Jonas about what had happened and how the characters found themselves where they are. Mengestu is a great writer and if you haven’t read him before, I really recommend it.