Gather 'round, Readers, and share your tales! Or request recommendations, if you like. I"ll be doing both!

You know the drill:

What's the last book you finished?

What are you reading now?

What's next in your "to read" pile?

For work, I just finished Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates. I can't recommend it enough. In reading Vowell, you'll laugh, cry, groan, and learn. She makes learning about Puritans fun! How does she do that?! In all seriousness, though, this book got a high compliment from one of my students the other day: he said, "I'm glad we read this for class—it's important to learn this stuff and I see why you included it. But, really, as a person I'm glad I read this. This is important stuff for Americans to know about their own history and I feel like a better citizen for having read it."

For personal reading, I recently finished Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. It's a novel but her writing is so poetic, you'll get lost in the language. Or, at least, I did. :) This one is incredibly descriptive, which might make it feel slow-moving for some readers. I started it once before and put it down because I just didn't have the attention span at that moment. This time, though, I was ready for a slower, more thoughtful read and Housekeeping was just the thing. I'm still thinking about it...

I'm currently reading Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects and, so far, so good. I love compelling thriller stories but, after many years of studying and teaching lit., I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to style. Flynn's able to convey fun, thriller stories in a literary style that works for me. And I definitely can't wait to find out whodunnit.

As far as my "to read" pile, for work, I know we're jumping into Harriet Ann Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl this week. This is a compelling memoir of a woman who was born into slavery in the American south. Jacobs is a skilled storyteller and readers really get a sense of the perils female slaves faced, in particular.

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For personal reading, I don't know what's next but I better figure it out as I think I'll finish Sharp Objects today! I've got a pile in my office to be tackled. I'm thinking maybe The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett. I also have Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan laying around. Any suggestions? Any good books I should check out from Amazon Prime?