Spring Reads

“The Kite Runner”By Khaled Hosseini

Everyone has done something he or she regrets – it’s a part of life. Some of those things are minor, some are life-altering . but how often does fate offer a chance to atone for the sins of one’s past?

In his first novel, “The Kite Runner,” Afghan author Khaled Hosseini shows us that even the most painful of memories and the most unspeakable acts are not beyond redemption.

Hosseini guides us through the touching and twisted childhood of a young Afghan boy, born into a wealthy family but inextricably intertwined in friendship with a lower-caste servant. Although their days are lived side-by-side, the two are hopelessly separated by centuries of prejudice and acts of unspeakable degradation.

“The Kite Runner,” the first Afghan novel written in English, explores not only enduring feelings of shame and guilt, but also the subsequent healing of the soul that can only be found in family – in all of its meanings.

– Travis Stewart

“The Plot Against America”

By Philip Roth

Philip Roth’s historical mind-bender “The Plot Against America” builds the tension to the last possible moment before releasing it all in the last chapter.

“Plot” follows the Roths, a Jewish family living in New Jersey. When Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt to become president, the United States begins to subversively persecute Jewish families within the country, and relocates them as part of a program to “Americanize.”

It takes a little while to adjust to Charles Lindbergh as president, but the historical bends of the book are what make the read so enthralling. Living in a world where the United States is aligned with Axis Powers makes the reader realize how one man can change the course of history for better or worse.

“Plot” often falls into side trails and meanders where it could be more focused, but the tension and fear the book builds upon before finally breaking loose into a hazy hysteria is nothing short of brilliant.

– Darren White

“Dress Your Family in

Corduroy and Denim”

By David Sedaris

If you’re looking for a light, well-written read, “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” is a perfect pick. “Corduroy” has been in print for a while, but it still may be the funniest book in the last 10 years.

Author David Sedaris blends humor and poignancy through tales of his large, eccentric family. The book is classic Sedaris, with stories about his sister’s parrot, the botched attempt to make his family’s stories into a movie, and the hilarious tale of his foul-mouthed redneck brother’s wedding.

On first read, the book seems to be fluff, but just when the laughs are close to becoming flippant, Sedaris pulls back with a beautiful observation about life, love and family.

Most of the essays in “Corduroy” were first read on NPR’s “This American Life,” and it shows. The stories beg to be read aloud to friends, and as funny as they are, you’ll probably do just that.

– Darren White

“In Her Shoes”

By Jennifer Weiner

The only two things Maggie and Rose Feller have in common, besides sharing DNA as sisters, is their love of shoes, and it just so happens they wear the same size. Rose, a workaholic, is a 30-year-old closet romance-novel-lover who longs for the perfect man to come sweep her away, while Maggie is a 28-year-old, gorgeous, often unemployed, wild child.

“In Her Shoes” is a tale of two sisters struggling with their own insecurities while desperately trying to find happiness in life.

When family secrets resurface, Rose and Maggie are faced with their worst enemies – each other.

“In Her Shoes” was made into a successful film. Although the movie is an accurate portrayal of the novel overall, in this case, nothing is better than the original.

This funny, pull-at-your-heart-strings novel is the perfect book to relax with over Spring Break, whether you are on the beach or staying home.

– Courtney Reese

“The Traveler”

By John Twelve Hawks

Take “The Matrix,” throw in a splash of “Narnia” and a little “1984,” and one has pseudonymous author John Twelve Hawks’ debut “The Traveler.”

Hawks hurls the reader into an alternate version of the present, where an organization called Tabula controls all aspects of society. Using what’s called the “Vast Machine,” the group monitors every person on the planet.

The Tabula’s goal is to wipe out the Travelers, a group of people who send their souls into different dimensions. Travelers pose a direct threat to the Tabula’s power and must be controlled or killed.

The plot follows Maya, a young member of a caste of “Harlequins,” who have sworn to protect all Travelers, and Gabriel and Michael Corrigan, brothers who might have inherited their father’s traveling ability. All three are of interest to the Tabula, but none knows exactly why.

This thrilling, suspenseful and sometimes-bloody novel is a fast-paced, exciting read.

– Brian Wooddell