This novel is rather a masterpiece I think. Ruth lives on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest and discovers Nao’s barnacle-encrusted diary in a plastic bag, fresh out of the surf–special delivery from Japan. The diary winds the two together inextricably, as if tangled in seaweed, along with the reader. What is the meaning of Nao? And how are we all “time beings”?
If you are looking for an adventure, look no further. Readers can walk every step of the Amazon River with Ed Stafford in his skillful account of his two and a half year, Guinness World Record winning hike down the entire length of the Amazon River. Stafford brings neglected issues to attention, such as the deforestation of the Amazon and the resulting pressures of survival for indigenous peoples. Through Stafford’s excellent travel narrative, readers too can experience these tribulations as well as the grueling demands of raw, untouched nature. Stafford leaves readers with an undeniable sense of how much of the world there really is left to see.
Upon finishing this humbling autobiography, I felt honored that Malala shared her story with me. Malala wisely relates every chilling detail of growing up during Talibanization in Pakistan. It is remarkable how such a sweet, young girl can have such a brave, powerful voice and maintain this voice despite oppression by the Taliban. Her passion for girls’ and women’s education is infectious; this book has only fueled my growing support for female literacy. I hope that men and women alike will dive into this eye-opening story. Malala sends a message that we all can, and should, receive.
The finest novel I’ve read so far this year! Pete Snow is an alcoholic social worker doing the best he can in the almost-Canadian NW corner of Montana. Try as he might to alter the plummeting trajectories in the lives of unwilling, mistrustful and addicted clients, his success/failure ratio is low . . . and his own family struggles are likewise depleting him. Pete faces a most difficult situation in his effort to rescue the young son of a survivalist who is also being pursued by the FBI.
This is a glimpse into a world I never want to see any closer than on a page, but one that’s compelling nonetheless. I’ll be looking for more from Smith Henderson.