Recent Reads | April 2017
Before the Fall | Noah Hawley- This one had the kind of writing that I love; it feels atmospheric and important and deep without feeling overwrought or trite. I honestly thought the suspense and mystery of it was so elegantly done, and the entire book felt 100% like watching a movie; cinematic. The ending honestly surprised me, but I wasn't disappointed in it, though many people were. A definite recommend and one of the better books I've read so far this year.
The Enchanted April | Elizabeth Von Arnim- I literally waited until April to start this, because I'm a huge nerd. Surprisingly feminist (it was written in 1922), with distinct and intriguing female characters, while being playful and funny, this was actually a delightful read. I'm learning I tend to really love novels from this time period, and this one was just gorgeously descriptive and wonderfully warm all around. The ending ties things up a bit too neatly, but it was too charming not to thoroughly love.
The Art of Racing in the Rain | Garth Stein- This was for our local Banned Books Club that Rikki and I decided to try out this month. Unfortunately this was uniquely suited to turn me completely off. I did not enjoy it: I recoil from moms dying of cancer subjects, I actively dislike race car driving as a sport, and I generally abhor books that try to be overtly philosophical. I just did not connect with the characters at all, or see any value in the framing of all the tragedy through a philosophical lens of racing. This just wasn't for me. At all.
The Invisible Library | Genevieve Cogman- The Sword and Laser pick this month, and one I've been wanting to read for quite a while, so I was very excited. Fast paced, complex (albeit very flimsy) world building, and likable main characters....and yet still it completely dragged for me. Every time I hit a poorly explained/confusing aspect of the world building it would annoy me so much, I'd end up putting it down for a while. It was Sherlock Holmes meets Fairies and Vampires meets Secret Society Mystery meets Alternate Universes meets Big Bad Guy Showdown. With alligator attacks thrown in for good measure. It also annoyed me that the heroine was so helplessly confused about how to act when romantic feelings get thrown in on top of it all. Bah! Overall, it wasn't a bad book, it was just trying to do way too much and couldn't quite pull it off.
Dark Matter | Blake Crouch- Another one I've been meaning to read for a while, thankfully this was intelligently written, and a truly gripping thriller; the kind of novel you fly through 100 pages of in a blink, and I legit stayed up till 2am to finish it. A really intriguing concept, shockingly poignant, and full of action made this a really fun, interesting read that seriously sucks you in.
All the Light We Cannot See | Anthony Doerr - I really enjoy a good WWII novel. This one surprised me a bit through by really introducing a new perspective through characters. I'm constantly surprised that writer's can immerse themselves so brilliantly into the time frame they're writing in, as well as the scenes, facts mixed in, and bring it to life so vividly. I really enjoyed the story beginning with the main characters as children and wrapping it up with where all their lives ended up. So much closure and a feeling of "this seems like real life" to end it.
She Still Haunts Me | Katie Roiphe - A recommendation based on the talented writing of Roiphe, relating the history of Lewis Carroll and how Alice in Wonderland came to be, more or less. I did really appreciate Roiphe's writing, she did such a great job at creating a story from his diaries, and making them come to life. However, there were implications (widely controversial about him, Google it if you're in the dark) that I simply did not enjoy. Although there was some balance and if you looked deep enough into his character, you can assume another theory, but again, I could've done without her opinion so blatantly obvious throughout.
Tuck Everlasting | Natalie Babbot - This month's buddy read with my kiddo. He was enamored and flew through it, constantly telling me how beautiful the writing was (I see a theme in my books this month). And I have to agree. It's a fast and fun read that is completely immersive. When reading books meant for pre-teens or early teens, I imagine myself with a simpler mindset to fully appreciate stories like these. We'll be watching the movie together soon!