Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately (or six months ago)

I desperately need to get to my quick book reviews because I'm about 30 books behind! But on the other post material! Have you read any of these? Am I nuts? Let me know all your bookish thoughts.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

This book didn't land for me, and I'm still trying to pinpoint why exactly. It's written in the same quick, witty style as Semple's first novel, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, which I enjoyed so much. It tells the story of one day in the life of a Seattle woman, her family quirks are delved into, a funny child comes along for the ride, and a marital mystery is solved. But for some reason this story didn't feel as emotionally poignant or compelling as Bernadette. I didn't love the anti-Catholic jibes on every other page, and I'm just not sure how I should feel about the ending. I just feel conflicted about the entire book and I'm not sure why!

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This is a slim book compiled of the letters between a book buyer and a book seller separated by the Atlantic. It's perfectly charming and the fact it's the real letters between two people make it even more enjoyable. I just love books of letters, I love the by-gone culture of letter writing, and I definitely love buying books so I loved this book. If you're not a lover of any of those things though, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't love it as much.

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

My Trollope book of 2016, it was a often times hilarious introduction to the Barcetshire chronicles, Trollope's masterpiece series. Trollope is an acquired taste. Or maybe not so much acquired, but a practiced taste. He's so rich in societal commentary, character studies, and witticisms that reading his books is worth it. But it does take time to get used to the Victorian prose, the lengthy development of plot, and being transported to another world. Now I want to go read more Trollope.

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

The third instalment of the Neapolitan Novels, this book was intense. I still don't know if I should be making judgements on the characters yet, but I found this novel to be so packed with emotion and conflict on so many levels it really held my attention. I totally get why these novels aren't some readers cup of tea, but to me they are just un-put-down-able. I'm even putting off reading the last book because I don't want them to end somehow, maybe for fear of being disappointed that all this complex story telling will have an unsatisfying ending. I'll let you know!

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

The sixth book in the series and I think the novel that I enjoyed the most. The setting of Quebec City was so perfectly set that I loved each scene. I also thought that structurally this is Penny's finest work in the series yet. The only negative comment I would add is that I feel Penny's Canadian history is pretty biased and it stuck out to me like a sore thumb within the story. But the pacing was perfectly done, an almost-perfect mystery!

This was quick. I'm going to post more soon! Until then I'm linking this up with Modern Mrs Darcy and Quick Lit!

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  1. Love you book reviews! Honestly, I come to you for most of my suggestions regarding fiction. I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and loved it. I was thinking of reading her next one as well, but this is helpful! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the reviews! Recently read and loved 84, Charing Cross Road; I've loved the movie for years and only recently discovered that it was based on a book.

  3. I felt the same way about Today Will Be Different. I think it was way too similar to Where'd you go Bernadette. Disgruntled mother of one that is sick of Seattle soccer moms. But how funny was the husband turning up as a closet Christian?!?

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  6. I loved the movie version of Charing Cross Road with Anthony Hopkins. So good! I think I'll love the book. Hubby and I tried to read The Warden together a couple years ago and kinda petered out. He was super funny but some of his commentary put me to sleep!

  7. Trollope!! I read the whole Barchester series over the past several months, finishing the last book earlier today. I've been wanting to find fellow fans somehow... I'll have to start gifting his books to my friends.

  8. As I read your list and saw so many similar books as I have on my list... I knew you most be a MMD reader/podcast listener. I had no idea there was a movie about 84 Charring Cross rd! I must have missed that somehow and staring Sir Anthony Hopkins!?? Cannot wait to request that at the library. I started the Louise Penny series and got stuck on the audio of A Fatal Grace. I could not get into it! So yesterday, I picked it up in hardback at the library and told myself finish it and don't worry about the French you cannot pronounce (one of the main reasons I went to the audio). I think I'm liking it better already, but the narrator of the audio is quite good and I do recommend him! I have yet to read Ferrante or Trollope but they're on my list, along with hundreds of others. Have a blessed day!

  9. Most intrigued re your Louise Penny history comment. I love Louise Penny's books and as a result have found myself googling bits of Canadian history to find out more, cause I love history too. So now I want to know what's biased, I think I have an inkling... :-)

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