Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome Ian to our Flagship location in Dallas on Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. for a meet & greet in honor of his new book, Odd Birds. We hope to see you there! In the meantime, we asked Ian to share some of his favorite books with us as part of our Books Authors Read blog series – enjoy!
H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
I blazed through this book, which is shocking considering it chronicles one woman’s attempt at overcoming grief by learning falconry with a goshawk. In some way it encouraged me to write Odd Birds, since Helen MacDonald uses the bird as a lens through which to view her life.
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
I canceled a very important audition so that I could finish this book. Obrecht is a mystery master in that she managed to weave personal history and folklore into the same tale, showing that the questions asked by an entire culture are often the same as the deep questions we ask ourselves.
The Disaster Diaries by Sam Sheridan
I found this book at a time when my life’s path felt increasingly uncertain, and the ensuing anxiety manifested itself in the form of disaster prepping. In a similar fashion, author Sam Sheridan struggles with fears of impending apocalypse (which stem from his worries of being a new father), addressing each of the popular doomsday scenarios by mastering a skill to navigate each one. Though very tongue-in-cheek, it’s actually a very informative read that both comforts and unsettles.
Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
I only recently read this book, though it has been published for several years. It’s the most sensuous story I’ve experienced in recent memory. Alexander writes in such a way that I can both feel the love two people cultivated over almost two decades, as well as taste the cooking of her early departed husband.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I should start by saying that no blurb I write about this book will correctly describe both its impact on me as well as its effect on the many people to which I recommended it. I can say this, though: I read it several times in quick succession, almost living inside it. In the end, I discovered my supposedly enlightened perception of race and privilege had changed, and I felt as though a real education had begun.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I’ve been told this is a movie, but I refuse to watch it. The brilliance of this story is in the thoughts of its protagonist, which I’m guessing are not part of the feature film. I love Ishiguro’s writing since he is able to craft very simple stories with very complex characters and then lead said characters down a road of good intentions to devastating realizations. I relate to his story to a sickening degree, which I imagine a lot of people feel as well: that though we may be living a fine life and playing the cards we are dealt, inevitably we will one day realize through the clarity of hindsight that we’ve missed out on a truly authentic life.
Tenth of December by George Saunders
Saunders is a master. His ability to alter style and genre within the same story is pretty close to genius. As a writer, it’s inspiring to know that one’s voice and style is not something that needs to be discovered, saved and then quickly repeated. Rather, one can try, fail and invent new ways of storytelling entirely.
Katy is the Promotions Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.