Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Reading, lately

Whew. We got home from vacation and then everything got crazy. There's been a lot of good stuff (parties with friends, a short camping trip, a bit of actual cooking) and some not so great stuff (two colds in three weeks = thumbs down emoji). There has also been some reading ...

reading, lately

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating - I found this really interesting and chock full of trivial pursuit type facts that go over well at dinner parties (did you know that TGIF's used to be a hip singles bar?).

Breathing Lessons - This novel won a Pulitzer, but I had a hard time loving it. It's easy to read, the writing is good, but the characters are so darn frustrating. I don't really love reading about contentious marriages (listening to people bicker is my number one peeve), even when it turns out they really do love each other.

The Girl Before - This book has a really unusual premise (it's tough to say much without giving everything away), and it's done fairly well. I wouldn't really call it a thriller but it's tense and interesting. The ending is the weak point for me, but it wasn't a total deal breaker, it just felt a little simplistic. But who knows?

Gilead - So, so lovely. Marilynne Robinson is one of my favorites. I had avoided this book for a while because years ago I heard that it was all stream of consciousness and difficult to get through. I found that to be not the case at all, and I loved it. It's the partner book to Home (Gilead was written first, but I read them in the opposite order).

Headhunters - Don't hate me, but I usually shy away from Nordic thrillers because they tend to be so dark (often literally, there is very little sun and lots of descriptions of winter). But I've read a couple of Nesbo's Harry Hole books and enjoyed them, so I picked up this stand alone mystery to take on vacation. It is ... weird, but good. Very gripping, lots of tense action. There is a dog death that I could tell was coming (spoiler, sorry, but it isn't super integral to the plot and I think fair warning is required on animal stuff) and I almost quit before it arrived, but I pushed through and just tried not to think about it.

Left For Dead - This is just a novella, but it's a prequel to the wonderful Maeve Kerrigan detective series. If you love the series, you'll want to read this.

You Will Know Me - I have tried a couple of Megan Abbott books and they just don't do it for me. The writing feels like it's working too hard, and as much as I love movies about cheerleaders or gymnasts (nothing will ever match my love for Drop Dead Gorgeous), apparently I don't love reading about them. That said, this is a well plotted thriller that lots of people loved, so I might be an anomaly.

Pretty Girls - Karin Slaughter's mysteries are always gruesome (p.s. - do we think she was born with that name and if so, did she have no choice but to start writing thrillers? Emily and I were talking about this the other day and we think it must be a pen name) but I generally like her series. This is a one off and it was a bit too much for me and the payoff wasn't good enough.

Re-read - The entire Hitchhiker's series. Every time I read this I marvel at how much I love it all over again. It just doesn't get old to me. I have tried to tell Dustin the train station biscuit story at least a dozen times, because I laugh every time I think about it. (The story is here, Adams claimed it actually happened to him and he then wrote it into the book, and interestingly, when I googled it to find a link for you, there is a whole Snopes page about it. Whether or not this is true, I will always remember reading it at 13 years old and nearly crying with laughter. The version in the book is better because you know Arthur Dent so well you can picture it happening.)

I'm currently on the wait list for a bunch of stuff, including a few thrillers (particularly appealing in Fall, I think) and I'll report back once I get them. Anything I should be adding to my list?

19 comments:

  1. I know Karin very peripherally (mutual friend) and can confirm that Slaughter is her birth name!

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    1. OMG - amazing! Now I'll always have to wonder if she felt pressured into the genre. It's kind of too perfect.

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  2. Have you read Wolf Hall? I am very late to the party but I've just finished and completely loved it

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    1. I haven't! I was actually on the hold list a bit ago but it happened to come in during a busy time and I completely missed my window. I'll have to add it back to my list. Thanks!

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    2. Oh great! I now want to get my hands on the BBC TV adaptation series - Cromwell is played by Mark Rylance who is one of the best actors from the UK. He does a lot of theatre so it's the perfect role for him.

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  3. I've read 4 of the Maeve Kerrigan books after reading about them here - love them, and I'm waiting for The Kill and After the Fire to arrive in the mail any day now! Also waiting on the new John Sandford - he is by far my favorite writer of thrillers.

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    1. Oh, I've never read any John Sandford! Looks like he has a couple of series and some one-offs. Any recs on where to start?

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    3. Oops, accidentally deleted my last comment - anyway, I'm a thriller lover and his Prey series is my favorite series. The writing is excellent, and I've had a book crush on Lucas Davenport (the main character) for years! It's not necessary to start at the beginning. I read them all out of order the first time, but read them all a second time from the beginning in order. So so good.

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  4. Loner by Teddy Wayne. I liked it a lot and I'd be interested to hear your take on it!

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    1. Added myself to the wait list! Thanks!

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  5. I just finished Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It was very dark and creepy, and very well written I thought. Next up is Sharp Objects...

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    1. I do not want to bum you out (or prejudice you!) but I loved Dark Places (thought it was stronger than Gone Girl in a lot of ways) and did not really like Sharp Objects. Curious to hear what you think!

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  6. Have you read The Girls? I know it's been EVERYWHERE but I didn't see it on your last couple of lists... it was a fun, unnerving read. Ps-- I stayed up way too late last night finishing Bastard Out of Carolina.. thanks for recommending that one! INFURIATING (the mom) but a great read that I always meant to get to :)

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    1. I've been on the waitlist for that one FOREVER. Hoping it comes in soon, dying to read it!

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  7. I also had a really hard time getting into Breathing Lessons (actually had it assigned for a college course... interesting choice). Glad to hear I'm not the only one! Looking forward to reading some of the other books on here.

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  8. So funny, I just ordered "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo because I saw they were making a movie about it and I thought "I should check Rachel's latest reading post" to get more recommends and see you read one of the Harry Hole books. I'll have to add a few of these to my list.

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  9. Did you know that Headhunters was made into a movie? An excellent one at that. (It's on Netflix right now) Highly recommend.

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