If there's one thing I can say about 2011, it's that I did a lot of reading, more than I had in previous years, I think. In the last few days of the year, I got through two books, Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky, and I can recommend both of them if you haven't yet read them.
Mudbound is the story of the life of a family on a farm in the Mississippi Delta. Henry, the husband, uproots his wife and two daughters from the city to move them out to a farm he was compelled to buy. He proposes calling their new home "Fair Fields", but Laura, his wife, suggests "Mudbound" instead, given the propensity for flooding; the name sticks. I was yet again amazed at the writing (as I was with The Help) and the way someone can evoke such incredible imagery to describe a place and a way of life about which I have only the vaguest ideas. Race plays a key role in the story and the friendship between Jamie, Henry's charismatic younger brother, and Ronsel, the son of one of Henry's black tenants, is bittersweet because of their shared experience of having served in, and survived, World War II. It's incredible to think of the war that black people had to fight in America to gain equality. At any rate, I really loved Mudbound, and like it even more that I've now discovered Jordan is herself an Okie from Muskogee like my mother.
I'm excited to see that Perks has already been made into a movie, and surprised that Mudbound doesn't seem to have been.