I don’t belong to a book club. In fact I never have, now that I think about it. One more thing that’s weird about me. Anyway, I thought I’d like to start a page that lists books that I’ve read and what I thought about them. Great place for you to comment and add yours too. (Please don’t expect too much here. I hated doing book reports in school and not much has changed. There won’t be any deep or meaningful analyses here.)
Good Morning, Midnight
by Lily Brooks-Dalton
This surprised me. It seemed like it would be sad, not a good summer read but I really liked it. The language was so effortless—if that makes any sense. An astronomer stranded in the Arctic, an astronaut possibly stranded in space. A beautifully articulated book about loneliness and connection. It’s funny because I have this irrational fear of struggling to survive in extreme cold. I don’t know why. I can’t watch any movies about Everest or anything like that. I also get very stressed out when I think about being lost in space. We recently watch the reboot of Lost in Space on Netflix and I barely made it through. I’m also not a fan of the idea of the world ending. Probably just me.
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towels
Oh my gosh! I loved this book. It’s long but so good. It got me through the winter. I did a lot of reading it in the bath. It’s about a man, obviously, who in is put under lifetime house arrest at a hotel in the center of Moscow beginning in 1922 when he is a young man. I thought, what could happen while confined to one building that could be at all interesting? SO MUCH. This is my favorite book since The Goldfinch.
Night of the Animals
by Bill Broun
This is Animal Farm meets 12 Monkeys. Broun is American but has lived in England and some of the language is so English it hurt my brain. But seriously, I really enjoyed this book and found it extra fascinating because I actually know the author. This futuristic epic tale follows Cuthbert’s mental illness which drives him to release the animals in the London Zoo while a second protagonist, policewoman Astrid, with similar mental health challenges is charged with stopping him. I love when two character’s destinies converge.
The Year of Living Danishly
by Helen Russell
I love Scandinavian culture, so this account of a British transplant dealing with the culture shock of moving to Denmark was a two-fer. A completely separate tangent, but this led to me watching the fabulous series Hjørdis and then Rita on Netflix.
The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton
Having already read The Secret Keeper, I knew I would love this book which unravels the mystery of a little girl who travels alone by boat from England to Australia. The story line has us bouncing back and forth between present and past — 1900, 1913, 1975 and 2005. It is reminiscent of The Secret Garden, which I read and loved when I was little, but goes much deeper into complex family dynamics and history. I was so incredibly hooked. My favorite read all summer. (Note: I found this book in a little free library in Carversville, PA so double win!)
Born a Crime
by Trevor Noah
I grabbed this book one day at the library because I was heading to do one of these really-fun-for-the-kids-really-boring-for-the-moms thing and needed a book to read while they played. I’m trying to not be that person on their phone who’s ignoring everyone. I feel way cooler reading a book and ignoring people and this somewhat controversial title seemed like the perfect way to do that, so extra points for me.
I was somewhat unprepared for how heavy it would get. I should have known. But what an amazing story. So worth reading.
by Kristin Hannah
I get a lot of recommendations from my aunt Cindy and she thought this one was so good and thought I would love it so much that she ordered it on Amazon for me. We were talking about it at the Memorial Day picnic and the next thing I knew it was in my mailbox.
An epic page turner, told from the point of view of two french women living through WWII. I mean, I knew the war was bad but this made me feel like I personally lived it. And I gotta tell you, I was so mad at the Germans. The author really drives home the indignities endured, like having their priceless paintings taken and not having any coffee. Brutal.
But seriously, everyone should read this. It felt so significant to me at this time in our country’s history.
The Painted Drum
by Louise Erdrich
This book. It didn’t look that interesting at first. I couldn’t remember where I got it. Then I remembered: I read a review about it (probably in Marie Claire or Elle), put it on my Amazon wish list and then my lovely sister Missy bought it for me for my birthday. I finally go around to reading it. The initial plot is rich and dark and draws you in, but then it’s like a story within a story. It was so interesting, so unlike anything I’ve ever read. I won’t tell you anything else. Just read it.