Palafoxiana Library in Puebla, Mexico

The Palafoxiana Library in Puebla, Mexico, founded in 1646!


I confess that my favorite reading is mystery novels, but that’s not to say that I don’t partake of other books too. Here are some terrific reads that I’ve recently enjoyed or plan to dive into soon.

Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

This atmospheric tale of a child who seemingly returns from the dead is a lyrical meditation on family, humans’ drive to tell stories, and the mystical quality of a river. It takes place in a small town along the banks of the Thames.

The Overstory, by Richard Powers

The Overstory by Richard Powers

I’ve been trying to get my hands on this one and I finally snagged it at my local library. Weaving together disparate stories of people whose lives are linked with trees, it’s ultimately a plea for saving the natural world. I’ve barely started it, but the writing is gorgeous. To wit, here’s a sentence from page one: “Poplars repeat the wind’s gossip.”

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I read this novel during my Mexican vacation. It’s a sprawling story of family, obsession, cruelty, and compassion, set in Barcelona in the period following the Spanish Civil War. Laugh-out-loud funny in parts, it’s ultimately tragic and transportive.

Sleep, Pray, Heal, by Donna Fado Ivery

Sleep, Pray, Heal by Donna Fado Ivery

I went to Donna’s book launch because I’d met her before and was so impressed by her struggle with a traumatic brain injury and her determination to recover. I haven’t started this one yet, but the first chapter, which Donna read aloud, is powerful stuff.

She’s ordained in the United Methodist Church, whereas I am not at all religious. But her optimism, spirituality, and humor are so inspiring, I’m sure this book will be as well.