Bibliohio: Recommended Reading from the Heart-Shaped State

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

"All the Light We Cannot See," Anthony Doerr (Scribner, 2014)

Why you'll love it:

Miniature replicas of towns, broken radios, collections of keys and mollusks and gems - Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See" is a puzzle in which these are the gleaming pieces. Set in France during World War II, the novel focuses on two young protagonists: the precocious, blind Marie-Laure and the brilliant Werner, a Hitler Youth recruit. Broken into short, titled sections, and alternating between the characters, this narrative is a compelling catalog of disconnection and longing.

See for yourself:

"He scans the field. Trees, sky, hay. Darkness falling like velvet. Already a few pale stars...The locksmith reties the stone inside the bag and slips it back into his rucksack. He can feel its tiny weight there, as though he has slipped it inside his own mind: a knot."

-from page 90

"Enchantée," Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press, 2013)

Why you'll love it:

"...[A]fter/ he left assisted living, my friend's father/ kept asking, What if my mother dies/ again?" Here is an impossible, heart-wrenching question from a poem in Angie Estes's collection, "Enchantée." Estes places us in richly historical settings like Venice and Paris, but really, we're wandering the Purgatory of loss (specifically, the loss of a parent). You'll be haunted by the poignancy of this book, but will also appreciate that it's gorgeously crafted and full of cameos by great artists (including Dante and Michelangelo).

See for yourself:

"While/ they were reading, medieval monks/ murmured, lips vibrating as if each word/ were a blossom and the world/ around them the amber memory/ of bees."

-from "Dessert"