Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie’s Aya de Yopougon 4
Gallimard, 2008

Read: At the table, because I said that I would use my dictionary to look up all the French words that I don’t know (of course I always say that, but I never do)

Warning: As the fourth book in the series, I can’t imagine deciphering the events of this volume without the benefit of the earlier books (particularly the third, which introduces Innocent’s character — see him in the red jacket)

Loved: The kaleidoscopic sense of community in Yopougon and Paris, as the focus zooms in on one character for two pages, then another, then another: growing up, falling in love, going against the grain, parenting, working, it’s all here.

Would have loved more if…
I wasn’t constantly guessing at the meaning of so many nouns and yes I know that’s my own fault, but I’m hooked on the series and the library hasn’t ordered the more recent volumes in translation yet

Serving suggestions: (Why?)
The two recipes in the notes at the back…and a dictionary

Fave quote:
“Mais comment on peut frapper quelqu’un juste parce qu’il est content?! Ce pays – là est bizarre, dêh!”

Maureen Jennings’ Under the Dragon’s Tail (1998)
Murdoch Series, Book Two

Read: Bathtub reading (what is it about mysteries and luxury?)

Warning: Murdoch is the ultimate in reserve; the TV series might suggest that he’s ready for romance, but he’s keeping that under wraps and going about his business

Loved: The natural sense of historical detail, which limns the prose rather than soaks it, particularly when it comes to matters surrounding women’s social position, reproductive health, and poverty

Would have loved more if… I hadn’t waited quite so long between books. It took me awhile to feel as though I was reacquainted with our reticent hero.

Serving suggestions: (Why?) Semolina pudding, which Mrs Kitchen keeps making for Murdoch, because he’s too polite to say he’s not fond of it

Fave quote: “Sleep was like a warm cocoon she wanted to stay in, and as consciousness returned the memory of the previous night inched closer like a poisonous spider that had been waiting for her to move.”

David A. Groulx’s Under God’s Pale Bones (2010)

Read: Last thing at night, or first thing in the morning, restarting my poetry habit

Warning: Poems like “American History”, “Final Solution(s)”, “Word Gathering”, and “Piece for JJ Harper” are profoundly disturbing, but they should be; they are powerful pieces, with the potential to change the way that you view the world.

Loved: Realizing that many of the poems which read like love poems are written as much with the connection to the Earth as with another person in mind.

Would have loved more if… the copyediting wasn’t so inconsistent. These are beautiful poems and the errors/typos can be distracting.

Serving suggestions: (Why?) Hot tea and bread, as in the poem “Mishoomis” (Grandfather)

Fave quote: “I watch her / cold web whisper / and the leaves are bending / with her hair / making the world” (She Can Touch This Language)

What have you been reading lately?
Have you read on in any series?
Have you been working to change a reading habit?
Have you been reading in verse?