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For the Love of Reading: April to Mid May

Time for a book update, friends. Here’s a list, with reviews, of what I’ve read since April 2nd.

The Dakota WintersThe Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this book and I’d categorize it as a fictional memoir. It’s full of famous people but the main character and his family are fictional. It’s set in the early 80s and the cultural references to that time are on point. The dialogue is great and the story is entertaining. I’m glad to recommend it.


The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve read a lot of Holocaust fiction and this one is just . . . okay. I feel terrible saying that because it’s based on a true story and the details are horrific but the writing is flat and there is no real character development. It’s like a retelling of all the horrible details but without any of the emotion.


The Great BelieversThe Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This powerful book brings back the early days of the AIDS crisis in a heartbreaking and realistic way. The dialogue is terrific, the characters are flawed and realistic, and the whole thing is really just fantastic.


When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter MemoirWhen They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strong, important and heartbreaking, this memoir provides a real understanding of the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement. I highly recommend it.


Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and LoveInheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautiful memoir on what it means to be a family, how secrets can destroy a carefully crafted life, and how grace and love can carry us through live changing events. Highly recommended.


Outer Order, Inner CalmOuter Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even I, organized and neat as I am, picked up some great pointers from this little book on clearing clutter. It’s inspiring and accessible and truly helpful.


The Gown: A Novel of the Royal WeddingThe Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this story about the making of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. The details about the embroidery and design, the friendship between two of the women who worked on the gown side by side, and the little bit of intrigue involved in unraveling their story made for a light and enjoyable read.


Finding JakeFinding Jake by Bryan Reardon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a hard time making a connection with the characters in this book and found the father to be particularly self-absorbed and unlikable. I finished it quickly because I wanted to know what happened with the story but the writing isn’t that great and it felt very repetitive and slow. I think We Need to Talk About Kevin is a much better book if you’re looking to read something on this topic.


Hello From the GillespiesHello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this family saga for the story and the setting in the Australian outback. That said, it could have used some really strong editing because it’s just way too long. Still, recommended for those who enjoy a good, straight forward story.

And that’s it for me. What have you been reading lately? You know I want to know!

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Thanks for the book reviews, Carole! You know I love book reviews, and you usually review things I have not heard about. I recently read The Animals, which I thought was very well written, even if the behavior of the characters was painful to read. I just finished The Stranger Diaries, which I enjoyed. I would rate both a 3.5 to 4. I enjoyed them, but am not overly enthusiastic about them.

  2. You’ve captured precisely what I felt was lacking from The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It is flat, and the emotion is just not there. It felt like it was a story being told in monotone.

  3. Some very interesting titles in your list. I’m not doing a lot of reading these days, but I’m going to see if I can get some of these. Thanks for posting them!

  4. Like Maggie, I have not been doing much reading lately (been in a reading clump for a few months), but I always enjoy your reviews – thanks! I am waiting for “Dakota” on Overdrive.

  5. I’ve got Inheritance and The Great Believers on hold at the library, and now I’m even more anxious for my turn. I’ve been reading All the Ever Afters (a story told by Cinderella’s step-mother), and Inland (quite good, but demands my concentration).

  6. I am currently listening to The Great Believers and am loving it immensely! You have a few others that I have added to my “read soon” list! 🙂

  7. Love your reviews Carole! I’ve got The Great Believers on hold and will be adding The Gown to my list. Thank-you!

  8. I LOVED Great Believers, and really enjoyed The Dakota Winters and Inheritance, too. Great reviews! I’ve been plowing through the Women’s Prize shortlist (just started the last of them — The Silence of the Girls), and I just finished Ali Smith’s latest, Spring (which was excellent). So many good books to read right now! XO

  9. There was only one book that I would consider not reading—clearly some significant account must be carved out! Thanks for the reviews!

  10. I love these posts! Tattooist of Auschwitz is a pick for my bookclub later this year. Marc found it compelling. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  11. I always appreciate and look forward to your reviews. Currently I’m reading Echo in the Bone for the first time. Diana Gabaldon is killin’ me gently with these books. The Gown is on my summer reading list.

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