Some of us read for plot; some of us read more for characters. But some of us -- maybe many of us, at least at times -- read for the beauty of the language, too. If that's you, all of these books from recent years should be right up your alley.
All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
This beautiful book and sucks you into the worlds of Marie-Laure, a blind girl, in Saint-Malo, and Werner, a super-talented German boy, whose link is the wonder and magic of radio and its role in World War II. The author's next book, Cloud Cuckoo Land, is out this summer.
Come to the Edge, by Christina Haag
No matter how many times you fall in love, Christina Haag writes, it always comes at you sideways. It always catches you by surprise. That’s what it was like for me and this book. I expected, from the reviews I’d read, a maybe-slightly-better-than-average celebrity memoir. What I got was a book that pulled me in with the beauty of its language and of its heartbreaking love story and has refused to let me go. I’ve seen it described as haunting, and I’d say that’s accurate – it’s been years, and I still often think about it and recommend it endlessly.
Contents May Have Shifted, by Pam Houston
This is a beautifully written a memoir/novel in vignettes, with a lot of travelling, a lot of nature, a lot of scary plane moments, and a lot of insight into the narrator’s emotional and relational journeys.
In Our Mad and Furious City, by Guy Gunaratne
The story of three young men growing up in a deprived area of London is both heartbreaking and lyrical, and makes poetry out of the everyday ugliness of life.
Jazz, by Toni Morrison
The writing is simply gorgeous, often echoing what jazz does, with its riffs, repetition, and rhythm. The characters will stay with you long after you’ve read it.
The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
The mothers in question here are the older women in a church, through whose eyes we see a developing relationship and its ensuing fallout, and who have a wise, enticing voice. I loved this book for many reasons, one of which was that I really enjoyed reading about a very recognisable church community in mainstream literary fiction, and Brit Bennett’s writing is deft and eloquent.