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For the Love of Reading: June 2023

It’s a new month and that means it’s time to take a look back at what I read in June 2023.

Fight Night by Miriam Toews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love a book that makes me both cry and laugh and Fight Night does just that. Covering 3 generations of women in the same family, the story is told by the youngest and she is a lively and feisty little thing. The dialogue is brilliant, the characters are beautifully dysfunctional, and the ending is heartbreakingly satisfying. Highly recommended for fans of Toews and readers of literary fiction.

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I think this story could have been much tighter, I still enjoyed this book about a family running a midwestern supper club. The setting was described vividly and I could picture the salad bar and relish tray, smell the big slices of prime rib, and taste the old fashioned. The timeline was a little jarring and I think might have been more effective if it had been straightforward and didn’t jump back and forth. All in all, an entertaining book and decent story.

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We are born and baptized in this water, we grow full of pride, we sin, we are broken, we suffer, but with water we are cleansed of our transgressions, we are forgiven, and we are born again, day after day till the end of our days.
This is one of those novels that you might call grand and sweeping; it covers decades in the life of one family, and those connected to them in a myriad of ways, in Southwest India. The writing is lovely and the plot is ambitious, there’s plenty of tragedy but it’s tempered with moments of joy and hope. And yet, I did not love it the way I should have. It’s somehow too much and not enough all at the same time. There are details and subplots that feel unnecessary, while at the same time there are characters that underdeveloped and stereotypical. It’s a small criticism but it needs to be noted: this book could be significantly shorter and would be better for it.

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this romp of a book that focuses on the privileged lives of one percenters even if I did find the ending pretty implausible. Told from varying perspectives, it offers insight into a new generation of entitled young adults and how they may or may not want to change what they do with their family’s wealth. Highly readable and surprisingly complex, I recommend for a modern look at the upper-crust.

I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan by Katie Porter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
That is the naked truth about why everyone decides to run for Congress: They want power. The question we should be asking every candidate, every day, is what they will do with the power.
If everyone in Congress did what Katie Porter does with power our country would be a better place. This book is charming and insightful and full of stories of Ms. Porter’s background, her campaign strategy, and her commitment to educating the American public on the financial industry and the role of government. I found the timeline to be a little odd but that didn’t interfere with my overall enjoyment of the book.

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The queen of the beach read has delivered again with another fun and compelling book set on Nantucket. The drinks are plentiful, the food is outstanding, and there’s plenty of drama to go around when a popular social influencer invites 4 friends to join her on the dreamy island for the ultra rich. With a strong focus on female friendships, the romance is surprisingly secondary, making for a more thoughtful read than Hilderbrand’s other summer sensations. Recommended for an easy vacation read.

Hidden Beneath by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This latest installment in the Maine Clambake Mystery series is another solid and entertaining one as Ross manages once again to keep things fresh – something not easily accomplished when a series has gone on for this long. Our Snowden friends are back, while new characters are introduced, and the setting is so well created that you can always smell the sea air and taste the lobster. The mystery itself is slow to evolve in this one but I didn’t mind at all. Recommended for fans of cozy mysteries.

It was a good solid month of reading, enhanced by vacation! I hope you found something here to add to your list of books to read.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. So far everyone I know who has read the Covenant of Water has said that it’s longer than it needs to be, so I’m not rushing to read it! I do really want to read Fight Night, though, because I really enjoyed Women Talking and would like to read more of Toews’ work.

  2. Some great reads, Carole! I am on the waitlist for the supper club… I think it will be the perfect “summer read” 🙂

  3. Fight Night keeps comiing across my screen…I may need to request that one – so many have said it is really good. I just picked up a cozy mystery to read when I finish Hamnet (what a gorgeous book that is! I am savoring it) – Knit One, Die Two. It was recommended by someone, but I can’t remember who!

  4. I’ve read many of these, and I agree, except Covenant of Water was not my book. There were some good stories in there but they were buried in too many pages. I’ve got Saturday Night on hold and am looking forward to reading it. I’ve started a book about thalidomide, and while it’s good, it’s definitely not a light-hearted read.

  5. Thanks for the book suggestions! Have you read Caste? Our book club read it in April, and The Violin Conspiracy was a great follow-up.

  6. I, too, thought Covenant of Water needed a strong edit. Just . . . too long and rambly, but a good story “kernel” in there, so it’s just unfortunate. And I think you’ve being very (ahem) generous about the Lakeside Supper Club, but that might just be me. 😉 Lots of good summer reading in there, Carole!

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