Recent Reads

I’ve read some great books so far this year.  A highlight of this month are three books from authors I have enjoyed before.  Here’s hoping the reading goodness is a trend carries forward into the rest of the year!

What I’ve been reading lately:

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – My daughter Sophie and I have a Mother-Daughter bookclub which we base loosely on the annual Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge.  We take turns choosing books based on a monthly prompt and my prompt was ‘a book about books’. So after a little research I chose the Thirteenth Tale.  We both loved the meta nature of this book about a woman writing a book about a woman who writes books.  There is a bit of mystery, gothic elements and a mostly feel good ending.  This book is a compelling piece of storytelling.

11-22-63 by Stephen King – My husband and I listened to this together on audio.  At thirty hours this was quite the commitment.  Most of my life I have been a bit Stephen King phobic.  I don’t like scary reads or gory content.  But Stephen King is a favorite of my husband, so I agreed to give this a try.  This is the story of Jake Epping, who travels back in time to try and stop the assassination of JFK.  He lives a whole other life in the past and frequently wrestles with the consequences of changing past events.  I can’t say that Stephen King is the author for me, but I did enjoy this story and was always eager to find out what would happen next.  I tried to watch the mini-series but it departed so much and so quickly from the book that I couldn’t make it through the first episode.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – I chose this book because of how much I enjoyed This Tender Land and it did not disappoint.  This is the story of Frank, a teenage boy, growing up in Minnesota.  In one fateful summer in 1961, a series of deaths rocks the world of Frank and his family.  Told from the point of view of adult Frank looking back, the story unfolds in a lovely way and was excellent on audio.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – After reading Silver Sparrow, I knew I wanted to read American Marriage.  When I saw on Instagram that Elizabeth Gilbert chose An American Marriage as the February choice for her Onward Book Club, I jumped in.  I completed this book in just a few days.  The characters are so compelling, I couldn’t read fast enough.  This is the store of Celestial and Roy.  Early in their marriage, Roy is incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.  The book tells the story of their lives from that moment forward.  The story is moving, beautifully written and compulsively readable.  The book club chat with Tayari was delightful can be found in Liz Gilbert’s Instagram feed.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – This was another back list choice, prompted by last year’s read of Never Let Me Go.  I enjoyed the slow, haunting quality of Never Let me Go and The Remains of the Day was similar in that effect.  Ishiguro’s stories unfold slowly, gradually building up your understanding of the situation.  I like this slow literary burn, but if you prefer fast paced plot driven stories, this may not be for you.  This is the story of Stevens, a proper English butler.  During the course of a short holiday Stevens reflects on his life and his choices leading the reader to ponder along with him the true nature of a life well lived.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes – This was a Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club pick.  Evvie Drake is looking to make a fresh start after her husbands death.  She was unhappy in her marriage and with the support of her friends and community she finds a new love and a new life.  Of course it’s not all smooth sailing, but overall this is a light, easy romance.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal – This was also a MMD Book club selection.  I almost didn’t finish this book.  I found the structure confusing at first and wanted more details.  Each chapter is from the point of view of another character and the story jumps forward in time skipping years and events.  This is the story of a renowned chef and the people and places that influence her life.  After the book club chat with the author, I did feel more connected to the story and would say the book was good, but maybe not for me.

I’m linking with the monthly MMD Quick Lit post and if you have come over from there, thanks for being here.

6 Responses

  1. Hopping over from MMD! A literary confession – I have The Remains of the Day on my bookshelf but have not opened it yet, because I read The Buried Giant by Ishiguro and totally hated the ending. I need to stoke up a little emotional courage to read it 🙂

    1. I can totally relate to what you are saying. I love the atmospheric, slow burn of Ishiguro’s writing but it does seem that you need to be ready to be gutted when reading his novels.

  2. I loved This Tender Land, so I have been wanting to read Ordinary Grace. I need to bump it up on my TBR and read it asap, along with Remains of the Day, which I added a long time ago and still haven’t gotten to yet. Never enough time to read all the books… The trials and tribulations of a bibliophile, LOL!
    Linking my recent reads, if interested!

    1. I think you will love Ordinary Grace even more than This Tender Land. Checking out your recent reads now.

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