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Reading Update: January through Mid February 2018

Whenever I find myself with nothing to blog about I think – when did I last talk about books? Have I read enough books for a post? Sure enough, it’s been just over a month since I last shared my current reads. Here are the books I have recently read:

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
4 stars
A beautifully written tale of two women living in very different times yet under very similar constraints. Epic, historic, and literary, it’s a book for those who love research, books, academics and history. It’s long and not a light or easy read but it’s so worth the effort.

The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello
1 star
I finished this book only because I was curious about the plot but it was a struggle, I’ll tell you. The writing is not good, the characters are completely horrible, and the whole thing is just a giant cliche. The author may have been going for a Gone Girl type story but this one completely missed the mark.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
5 stars
This heartbreaking and amazing story will be with me for a long, long time. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are flawed and realistic and damaged, and this is a truly important book for everyone to read.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
3 stars
A super fast and easy read, this story was entertaining, with more depth to it than I anticipated. I enjoyed the way the chapters depicted Harriet at different ages (although I’ll admit the narrator of those sections was annoying at times) and showed how the things that happened to her throughout her life shaped her into the woman she became. It’s an interesting exploration of family relationships, struggles, feminism, love, betrayal, loss and more. Recommended.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
4 stars
This is considered a YA book but the characters are older than in most YA novels out there and the themes of grief, loss, life and love are universal. The setting, references and quotes from well known books like Cloud Atlas and Great Expectations are fabulous and some of the writing is really beautiful. Recommended for those who enjoy the genre.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
3 stars
I hate to admit, as much as I love Louise Erdrich, I didn’t love this book and it’s a disappointment particularly because it follows the brilliant and gorgeous LaRose. The writing is wonderful and Erdrich still includes her Native American roots but I found the dystopian setting disturbing and honestly feel like The Handmaid’s Tale handled it better. But – if you’re a fan of Erdrich and you like the post apocalyptic stuff, you will probably love this book.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
3 stars
Super short, I would have enjoyed this book more if it was a full length novel and not a brief reflection on what makes a successful life.

Autumn by Ali Smith
4 stars
The parts I understood I really loved. And the parts I didn’t get, well, it’s Ali Smith so they were still well written and interesting. The timeline jumps around a lot and it can be confusing but it’s over all an intriguing book.

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells
2 stars
A lot of build up but no real pay off.

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
5 stars
Well written and sad, it’s amazing what people will do when they are pushed to the point of desperation. I loved the trail of breadcrumbs approach to understanding the challenges facing this couple as they failed to conceive and the ending was truly satisfying in a way I could not have predicted.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
2 stars
The plot had great potential (WW2, Nazis, hiding Jews, the circus) but the writing was simplistic and, despite the author’s attempt at drama, I just never connected with any of the characters. Overall I found this tedious and predictable and not really worth my effort.

There were definitely a couple of clunkers in this batch but I’m grateful for the good ones like Autumn, Stay with Me and Sing Unburied Sing.  Sometimes I feel bad when I write a negative review but then I think – I’m just sharing my experience and, as we love to say, your mileage may vary.

What have you been reading lately?

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I always enjoy hearing about your reading. I appreciate the clunker reviews. They give credence to the good ones. For the many of us who read less than you, it helps us make the most of our reading time. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing these interesting reading prospects. I appreciate honest reviews, even if there were aspects of a book you didn’t love. I’ve been listening to Redwall, an old favorite, and have The Weight of Ink up next … unless something else catches my fancy first.

  3. I, too, always enjoy your reviews Carole. I LOVED Sing, Unburied, Sing – an amazing novel in so many ways. I need to put myself on the list for The Weight of Ink (somehow, I think I was on the wait list and then dropped off??).

  4. I also enjoyed Autumn, Sing, Unburied, Sing, and Stay With Me. I’m trying to decide if I’d like the Weight of Ink. Thanks for the great reviews!

  5. I love your reviews too! I’m listening to Gone With The Wind (49 hours!) so I’m kind of stuck for now. Sing Unburied Sing is absolutely next though. Reading…well kind of struggling getting that done!

  6. Great reviews. When you say something is a clunker, I believe you. I just finished The Nightingale—you probably read it months ago!

  7. I love Ali Smith — so loved Autumn (and her newest – Winter). (Does anyone ‘get’ her books? I think you need to just sit with them for a while and let them marinate in your brain. Or something like that.) I loved Weight of Ink — also Stay with Me and Sing, Unburied, Sing. I think I’ll take a pass on some of your clunkers, though. 😉 Thanks for the warnings. (And now I’m on the fence about the new Louise Erdrich. I’m a fan . . . of hers. NOT dystopian fiction. . . What do you think???) XO

  8. Wow you’ve been busy reading-I’m finishing up The Beautiful Mystery and a couple Pat Conroy books except I couldn’t finish the Conroy books before they expired on Overdrive. His writing style is very different that what I’ve been reading lately.

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