A Fault in Our Stars by John Green gets 5 stars from me. This is the same author who wrote Looking for Alaska and I think this book will be equally popular with TZHS readers. Okay, it is a little sad because it is about two teenagers who have cancer. In fact, the two meet at a support group for children with cancer. Okay, this book is very sad... but in my view, very authentic. What is it like to know you will die soon? How do you deal with the sadness you see in your parent's eyes? What happens when your old friends just don't know what to say to you? What if you got a wish? What would you wish for? What if you fell in love?
The last book I read during the power outage was The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich. The main character in this book is, you guessed it -- a drum. This particular drum ends up in the possession of a mother-daughter estate liquidating business in New Hampshire and the women feel compelled to return the drum to the tribe in a North Dakota Indian Reservation where the drum originated. We learn the complicated story of the drum and how it both saved and endangered the lives of the Ojibwi Indians who came into contact with it. I love the way this author paints a picture of the stark and brutal North Dakota landscape and how she describes the relationships between the generations and between the living and the dead. The characters in each story that emerges around the drum are indeed flawed and oh so human, but we learn to understand them and to watch them struggle with both the quotidian and spiritual aspects of being human.