Reading February-March 2018: Born a Crime and The Reapers Are the Angels

I skipped a month of reading recommendations, mostly because I spent the remainder of this long and lingering winter reading light and pulpy books that were entertaining in the moment but hardly worthy of lasting recommendation. I do have two gems from these two months to pass on to you, however.

Continuing my memoir kick, I read Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. Noah is, of course, very funny, but he also tackles complicated and serious issues like race and domestic abuse with both lightheartedness and insight. This memoir forms a portrait of Noah’s mother, an inspiring woman who dared to try to forge her life on her own terms despite living in an incredibly oppressive society. Don’t think this is just another throwaway celebrity memoir–it’s so much more.

Zombie books, too, often fall under the heading of “popcorn reads,” but The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell is unlike any zombie book I’ve ever read. The protagonist, Temple, grew up in a post-apocalyptic zombie world and so views that as the normal world, and her observations of that world are often poetic and insightful. Bell has managed to somehow weave together the tropes of the zombie novel and the Southern gothic here, creating something that is both familiar and entirely new. If you think zombies are tired and played out, here’s a book you should read.

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