The March challenge was to read a book that won an award in 2014. We didn’t specify what award because where’s the fun in that. So, here’s our recap of what we picked and what we thought.
I picked William Kent Krueger’s “Ordinary Grace,” which won an Edgar in 2014 for “best novel.” This is going to be my first pusher book of 2015. “Ordinary Grace” is the answer to the critics who imply that mysteries are somehow not “real” books. It’s lyrical and deep like literary fiction; only at the center of the plot is a young man coming of age in a summer marked with murders and grief. The murders aren’t CSI-evidence filled things, but the circumstances that force the narrator to look at his surroundings and himself. If a writer like Marilynne Robinson were to write mysteries, “Ordinary Grace” is the result. It’s about people and God and small towns and faith and growing up.
Stacie: I read Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews, a Russian spy novel with deep plots, intrigues and a modern day setting. Red Sparrow won an Edgar in 2014 in the “Best First Novel by an American.” This was a stretch read for me as I haven’t read a book like this since I was in high school (I probably understood it better this go around too.) I liked the book, but disagreed with the cover blurbs; this wasn’t a compelling read that I couldn’t walk away from. I frequently found myself closing the book at the end of a chapter. It took me almost a full three weeks to read this title and it was completely worth it. As you could expect, a Russian spy novel has layers and loads of intrigue to build. In the end, all of the loose ends are neatly knotted, or killed. The ending was the very best part, which, of course, I can’t tell you. But trust me — so worth it.
Onward to April: Read a book that you were given or bought for yourself but haven’t yet read.