Welcome to Picking Books, a book blog bursting with in-depth book reviews and bookish lifestyle articles. There’s something here for every reader including the most reluctant ones, so take a look around!
“The Master and Margarita” is a difficult book to summarize because there is so much going on. It is a conglomeration of subplots loosely tied together by Ivan Homeless, a poet who is admitted into an asylum after Woland (Satan) predicts the decapitation of Homeless’s colleague. Because “The Master and Margarita” is a difficult book, Penguin’s “The Master and Margarita: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition” translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is especially helpful.
The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer resonated with every fiber of my being. Never have I read a book that spoke so poignantly to all the thoughts swirling around my brain. Read my review of The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer to learn why I whole-heartedly disagree with the bad reviews of The Ten-Year Nap on Goodreads. Do not overlook or underestimate The Ten-Year Nap because of the bad reviews.
Some books are meant to be devoured. Others should be savored. I devoured The Great Alone. With ever-increasing stakes and intense themes like survival, love, and abuse, you can’t help but binge read it.
After a miscarriage, Rachel feels the urge to seek out her estranged photojournalist father, Henry, who she learns lived in Rwanda. She travels to Rwanda 10 years after the genocide to meet Lillian. Originally from Georgia, Lillian operates an orphanage in Rwanda that she and Henry built together. During her stay, Rachel learns about her father while witnessing how Rwandans are coming to terms with the genocide. Continue reading my review of In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills for more information about both the genocide and the book.
It’s a new year, and I have an ambitious reading list. In the interest of holding myself accountable and giving you the opportunity to read along with me, here is my “currently reading” list. I’ll share my TBR list and some insight on how I pick books in my next post. Read on for my take on the books I’m reading right now.
I started Picking Books as a book blog inspired by history. I’ve since expanded to include additional cross-disciplinary book reviews that look at how society and culture also relates to the books I read. Showing others how to learn about history through enjoyable books was my original intention though, so let’s talk about how we can learn about history through books and why learning about history is important even (especially) for adults.
Recipe review of Peter Sommer Travels’ ezme. Although ezme is reminiscent of salsa, it’s also bruschetta-like. It’s a simple recipe that tastes like so much more than the sum of its parts. Ezme makes an excellent condiment for Cooks Illustrated’s almost no-knead whole wheat bread, and I enjoyed it more than fresh salsa. Like Sommers says, the flavor is complex.
Pam Jenoff’s quote on the front of Carnegie’s Maid says it all: “Downton Abbey fans should flock to this charming tale.” I’m a Downton Abby fan, and I loved this book. Like pretty much every book here on Picking Books, Carnegie’s Maid contains a wealth of accurate historical information. And within its pages you get a good sense of who Andrew Carnegie was and a loose outline of his rise to prominence. Benedict also touches on the struggles Irish people continued to face after the famine in 1840 and the difficulties immigrants faced both on their way to America and once they got here. What I love most about Carnegie’s Maid, however, is how Benedict delves into Pittsburgh’s rich cultural history.