The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
I LOVED this book. This book is about a promise that a seven year old and her father makes to each other to read together every night for 1,000 nights...which turned into them reading together for 3,128 nights! It recounts the journey of that promise, including the story of her mother leaving, the strain of adolescence, all the way up to when she starts college, when it finally comes to an end. I loved the premise, I loved that her father read the introduction for the audiobook, as well as all of the literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and I thoroughly enjoyed her recounting the books that they read together because it reminded me of my childhood. Something about this book was so familiar - the relationship with her father? her passionate love of books? her personality? - that it almost felt like I was reading a journal of mine, which is a surreal and lovely feeling to encounter while reading a book. If you loved books as a child and still do, I can't recommend this book enough.
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
This one I've read before, a long time ago, but a friend who I did a reading panel with last week told me she is rereading this series and it made me want to do it all over again as well. I wanted to read in chronological order this time and so I started with this one, listening to it on audiobook. It took me right back to when I was a kid listening to it all for the first time - feeling the thrill of learning an origin story and of discovering Aslan. I was captivated every moment, even knowing exactly how it all turns out.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This is one that sucked me in after the first few sentences, which seems to happen rarely these days. The author describes the setting and actions so well that images of the scene immediately rose to mind and stuck there. I trusted her as an author immediately because of this, and so I found myself happily going along with the plot, which is about an epidemic that wipes out the majority of the world's population and a troop of actors roam around in the altered world performing plays. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende
I am a few chapters in and I am just now starting to get immersed in the story. It took a little while to get used to the magical realism and distant tone (I wonder if this is one of those books that would be better conveyed reading off the page rather than listening to on audiobook?) but once I accepted that the ideology was intentional, and started falling in love with the prose, I found myself nestling in for the ride. It's about three generations of a family, post-colonialism, South American culture and politics, the role of women, and the interplay between good and evil. In that way, it reads almost like a fairy tale, to which the magic realism fits perfectly.