You will be pleased to know that The Dwarves is no longer on my nightstand. It’s on my friend’s nightstand. Or, at least, somewhere in her house. Yes, I’ve passed it on. Someday I will finish it, and Elliot will be happy.

Mostly what I’m reading these days is stuff for review. I have an enormous pile. I just finished the YA novel The Survivors and the post-apocalyptic The Third, and the reviews for both will be up soon. I’m currently reading, and enjoying, My New American Life: A Novel.

Here are some sample titles from my “excited to read and review” pile:

The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories. Set in a beauty parlour in Ghana, this novel follows the stories of women from Cote d’Ivoire, Malawi, the USA, and Ethiopia. It looks fascinating! The author, Susi Wyss, grew up in the US and Cote d’Ivoire plus she’s lived in Africa for 20 years as an adult, so I suspect she knows whereof she speaks.

Black Milk: On Writing, Motherhood, and the Harem Within. After the birth of her first child, Turkish writer Elif Shafak plunged into a post-partum depression. Writing her way out of it, Shafak comes to terms with motherhood, creativity, career, and the different personalities hosted within each and every person (she calls them her “inner harem” which amuses me). She also looks at how other mothers and writers have dealt with it. I know! Envy me all you want: I get to read it.

The Last Time I Saw Paris. I love the cover even as I despise it for being cheap, a romanticized American view of WW2-era Paris, a sepia-tone view of a couple kissing with the Eiffel Tower looming prominently in the background. I don’t care. I like it. Sometimes clichés just work, you know?
It’s supposed to be dramatic, romantic and suspenseful. Claire, an American woman fleeing a “glamourous Manhatten life built on lies” (whatever that means), ends up helping the French Resistance and exploring Paris in the company of a mysterious Englishman! (from the back cover; I haven’t started it yet) I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a cold soon since it seems all the Iraqi families I visit have sick kids. If I do get sick, I’m going to spend a lovely afternoon in bed sneezing my way through this book. Perfect! It almost (almost!) makes me want to get a cold.

How Shakespeare Changed Everything. Because he did, of course. I believe this. The author promises a colourful look at the pervasive yet hidden influence of the Bard on our modern culture.

Look for my reviews on these coming this month over at 5 Minutes for Books!