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For the Love of Reading: Mid December 2018 to Mid January 2019

I did a summary of my 2018 reading but I haven’t shared reviews of the books I’ve finished for about a month now. Without further delay, here they are:

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Absurd and farcical and way too long, I struggled to finish this one but I was curious enough to want to know how it all turned out. It’s like a mash up of Forest Gump, A Man Called Ove, and Big Fish. There are parts that are funny and the intermingling of historical events and leaders is clever but overall this just wasn’t the right book for me.



Circe by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not especially familiar with mythology and hesitated to read this book despite how much everyone loved it. I decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did. It’s fabulous, with strong characters (especially female ones), beautiful descriptions, and a truly compelling story. It’s all familiar but also different and I highly recommend it.


Fox 8Fox 8 by George Saunders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super short but brilliant. Just be “niser” to each other.



Before We Were YoursBefore We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An easy and entertaining read. Not great literature and utterly predictable but engrossing and worth reading.



Everything Under

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
My ratin

g: 5 of 5 stars

Weird and wild and probably not for everyone but this book blew my mind.


I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an excellent true crime book with compelling writing and a fascinating subject. It’s particularly tragic that McNamara died before a suspect was arrested and charged with this crimes from the 1970s and 1980s. Highly recommended for those who enjoy the genre.


The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better AngelsThe Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The premise of this book is to remember that our country has often experienced times of turmoil and corruption and that (eventually) our better nature has prevailed. It definitely helped to think of those times as I watch the news and see the struggle with the current times.


Three Things About ElsieThree Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a truly charming book full of poignant observations on life, aging, friendship, and more. It’s rare for me to make note of specific sentences I love in a book but this one had a few that I just couldn’t resist including: “A long second is when clock hesitates, just for a moment. Just long enough to give you the extra time you need to make the right decision.” While the third thing about Elsie was pretty obvious to me right from the beginning, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. Highly recommended.

I hope you’ve been reading great books and I also hope you’ll tell me about them.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. I just finished the audio version of Everyone Brave is Forgiven. After reading so many WWII novels like Four Perfect Pebbles and The Paris Architect, I liked reading about the characters in London – the women helping during air raids and their love stories. The narrator was great and the story very absorbing. I gave it 4 stars but it’s still resonating with me.

  2. I keep hearing that Circe is wonderful, and I too am weak on mythology, so have been uncertain about reading it. But I think I need to give it a try.

  3. I’m reading (listening to) Hello World, which explains what algorithms actually are, how they are used, and their pros and cons. I’ve never really understood them, but this is fascinating stuff. I’m also listening to When Death Becomes Life, a kind of memoir of a transplant surgeon. It’s excellent, and I’m glad John isn’t home. That means I can listen all day without interruption!

  4. I just finished The Idiot, which . . . I don’t think you’d like. (I didn’t either. Just sayin.) And before that, Milkman. (Which was brilliant, but not for everyone, I’m sure.) Now I’m reading There There (I’ve been on Overdrive hold for over 6 months). (It’s actually a week where all the books I’ve had on hold either on Overdrive or at my physical library have rained down in an avalanche. Feast or famine. . . ) XO

  5. I have a bit of an avalanche coming from Overdrive! Most of the titles I have been waiting for a long time! Louise Erdrich’s Round House has me engrossed right now. I have high hopes for this one as I think it was Margene’s favorite of her books!

  6. I always enjoy your reviews so much Carole! I’m reading “As Bright as Heaven” and am enjoying it. Also just finished “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” – good but plodding in places.

  7. It’s been slow going here! Still chugging along on Malabar Hill and trying to get into The Lilac Girls. I need to focus! Thanks for always bringing something to my to read list!

  8. I tried to read/listen to “A hundred year man…”, but it got too weird. Not worth wasting my time to finish it. I’m tempted by “Circe” Thanks

  9. I “read” Before We Were Yours as audio book. The alternating chapters about Rill and Avery are narrated by different women. I think I enjoyed the book more because of the stark differences. Rill’s accent/dialect is perfect!

  10. I’ve bene going back and forth on whether to read Circe or not but your review put me on the ‘read it’ side. I’m also going to give ‘Everything Under” a try.

  11. I enjoyed Circe but actually liked her Song of Achilles better. If you haven’t read it yet, you might give it a look.

    Thanks for some good recommendations!

  12. You know I love these book reviews, Carole, and you always give me something new to put on my list. I have not been reading much lately, family illness, but I will get back to it asap. Reading is my most constant companion, so it will always be around when I have time. Thanks again for the reviews!

  13. Oh, I’m intrigued about Everything Under. I just finished America’s First Daughter, historical fiction about Martha Jefferson – sadly, the parts that seem most disturbing about life in our country in its early days aren’t fiction. and sadly, many of them are still true. It’s long, but worth it.

  14. I think my Overdrive books are all going to show up at one time. I’ve got Everything Under on my night stand and hope to read it soon. There are just so many good books right now. xo

  15. Some interesting choices. I listened to the 100 year old man and found it hilarious, but I understand your take aways. I did not care for Before We Were Yours-it seemed a bit disjointed-not horrible but not a favorite. We have Circe as an audiobook so I’m looking forward to seeing what that’s all about-happy reading.

  16. I felt the same way about The 100 Year Old Man. Just too long and convoluted. Like the elephant?!? I felt the same way about My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You….

    I wanted to love it because Sweden plus my DH gave it to me for Christmas.

    I just finished the audiobook of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. It was good and I kept picturing the Marvel versions of the gods as I listened.

  17. You and I read some of the same books! I listened to the audiobook of Before We Were Yours and enjoyed it. My book group just read it, too. Fox 8 was a quick, fun read. I’ll be Gone in the Dark was interesting. And I just requested Circe from the library.

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