8. Unaccustomed Earth by Jumpha Lahiri
*read as part of my book group in May 2008*
This collection of short stories is beautiful, and virtually flawless. Taking the reader from Seattle to Cambridge, Thailand to India, Lahiri explores the complexities of relationships: family, friends, lovers, spouses, etc. in what are simple yet touching narratives. While the whole collection has a tone of melancholy, her ability to pinpoint human interaction and emotion is spot on. I couldn't put it down.
7. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
*purchased in the DFW airport for a flight from Dallas to JFK in September 2008*
I've read a lot of Holocaust fiction but I have never read anything that sucked me in as completely as this book. It tells the story from the other side - a German Studies professor whose mother moved them to the US after World War II (but who never spoke of her life in Germany during the war) comes face to face with the past she never knew. The only clue she has is a photo of herself, her mother, and a Nazi officer. Both a heartbreaking love story and a great historical novel, this one reads a bit mainstream and mother/daughter fiction-y at times but is nonetheless very good.
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