Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reading, lately

Summer reading!

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay - Moving on with the Ferrante series. I like these but I need a break after each one. So much melodrama! I enjoyed this one quite a bit and felt like maybe Elena was finally showing a bit of self awareness.

Into the Darkest Corner - Several online and IRL friends were reading this, so I jumped on the bandwagon. If you're looking for a seriously creepy thriller, this should do the trick. It's solidly written, you feel for the main character, and the tension is high.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair - I almost loved this book. It's a mystery/novel and the writing and the plot are engaging and darkly comedic. The basic premise is that a young writer gets caught up in a cold case investigation involving his favorite professor/longtime mentor/pseudo father figure. I have to say, though, I could not get over the central plot point, which is a love affair between a 30-something man and a 15-year-old girl (sorry if that's a spoiler, but it is included in the summary text, so fair game?). I never stopped being icked out by it, and it made it impossible for me to really lose myself in the book.

The Wonder Garden - A collection of short stories set in the fictional small town of Old Cranbury. The stories don't really intertwine but the characters keep brushing past each other. I really enjoyed this book and it felt like a voyeuristic chance to peek behind all your neighbors curtains.

If I Loved You I Would Tell You This - And here are some short stories that are not at all connected. They are highly detailed, and mostly sad, and so well written. The titular story made me tear up multiple times.

The Hand That First Held Mine - I think I've already recommended this novel to at least three friends. I loved it. The plot revolves around two women living in London during different time periods and it touches on love and motherhood and loss and relationships and there's a nice dash of post-war Soho descriptions that I loved.

The Kind Worth Killing - Billed as being a contender for the title of next Gone Girl (but what thriller isn't?) and it actually is closer than some of the others I've read. It's got a bit of everything - love affairs, multiple murder plots, psychopaths. Add this to your list of page turners, if you're into that.

The Boys of My Youth - Looooved this. It's a beautifully written collection of autobiographical short stories that are tender and funny and sometimes very intense. Her voice is perfect, I never wanted to stop reading, and I cried multiple times. Winner.

You Are One of Them - This novel explores that question lingering of every child of the 80's - what if your best friend was actually a Soviet spy? Joking, obviously, but I did enjoy the plot premise for this novel and the writing was good. I think it fell apart a little bit towards the end, but overall I really enjoyed reading it.

The City of Mirrors - The final book in Justin Cronin's trilogy and it got off to a slow start but was ultimately satisfying. I recommend this series all the time and will continue to do so, but I have to admit that it gets wonky sometimes. I realize it might sound odd to claim that there's a lack of believablity in a series about a pathogen that turns people into vampires, but that's my main quibble here. Most fantasy novels have strict internal rules, but I feel like Cronin sometimes tweaks the rules he's created to suit the plot. Just me? I think I need a book club for this one because I still don't fully understand the logistics of what happened near the end of the second book and I don't want to spoil anything here. Regardless, this trilogy is fun, has lots of well detailed descriptions, and is totally worth reading.


  1. The Boys of My Youth is a book that I still think about regularly ten years after reading.

  2. Yay! So glad that you liked Wonder Garden. The author is wonderful - she skyped with my book club and it was FASCINATING to hear about her writing process and her take on the characters (and her take on OUR take!).

    I'd recommend Funny Girl by Nick Hornby - light summer reading but the writing was wonderful.

    1. I read " you are one of them" based on your suggestion, and LOVED the writing. I found the end really frustrating - I decided that Zora WAS NOT Jenny - it was just too fishy and felt like a scam. What did you think?

    2. I read " you are one of them" based on your suggestion, and LOVED the writing. I found the end really frustrating - I decided that Zora WAS NOT Jenny - it was just too fishy and felt like a scam. What did you think?

  3. and thank you- I just requested five of your recommended books from my library!

  4. Love your reading lately posts! Though they are partially responsible for the huge pile of library books I can only hope to get through in time. I finished the Neapolitan quartet a few months ago. Never really managed to get into it, though the last one was my favorite. I'm currently reading Men We Reaped, a memoir by Jesmyn Ward, and it is a heavy read, but so beautifully written and powerful.

  5. You are so good with the reading! I started a new job recently and I'm toast every night. I hope things settle down soon, I love a good read at bedtime.
    Anon in Massachusetts

  6. Yay, love to see what you're reading! So glad you liked Into the Darkest Corners -- I just thought the author did such a good job getting inside her head!!

    I am definitely going to get both The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair and The Hand that First Held Mine to read soon!

    My latest recs for you &hearts:

    Thrillers (from best to still good): All the Missing Girls, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, Siracusa

    And my latest read: Dancing With the Tiger -- more caper than thriller but about a group of seemingly divergent people all on the hunt for a folkloric mask in Mexico. Loved the setting!

  7. I have (following your recommendation!!) read The Passage and The Twelve and have gone 'round recommending them to almost everyone I know with debatable success (at least my BF's up every night until 1 reading the passage now: victory! or..?).
    I will start The city of Mirrors during my holidays in 2 weeks - I CANNOT WAIT.
    Please let me be in that book club? :-)

  8. You're the one who first turned me onto The Passage, years ago. I've been waiting for the third one to come out in paperback/drop in price because I'm pretty sure it's one I'll want to own, but I may not be able to hold out for much longer. Also, any idea where I can get a summary of what happened in the first two books, because I know there's going to be stuff I forgot, haha


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