Good Monday morning!
The lovely weather this past weekend, has me very motivated to move into a new week… and get to the next weekend! But in the meantime, I’m going to talk a bit about summer reading before I share the latest reviews with you.
Summer reading can mean so many different things to people. Some prefer a super light book that can be picked up and put down when they please. Some readers want a door stopper of novel that they can really dig their teeth into. For me, it means reading more and purely on mood. I find myself able to squeeze in more reading time as the days are longer, and possibly while the kids run around outside.
Below I have shared a couple of really great book lists. I’ve been putting my library books on hold based on several of these, so the books that I reviewed today you will most likely find in these links.
Normal People, by Sally Rooney. (5 stars). This book is everything great fiction is. Connell and Marianne have been friends since high school. He’s the popular guy, and she’s the brainy, private girl. When their friendship moves into a romantic territory, they are both determined to keep it a secret. The two move in and out of each other’s lives as they move through high school, university, and after. They are drawn to each other like magnets, but the things that go unsaid are ultimately their demons. This novel is really a complicated love story, about nothing, but everything. Somehow Sally Rooney has captured the ability to see into these two characters on such a deep level that you feel so intertwined in this relationship. It’s so brilliant, and confusing in the best way possible. Put it on your reading list now, everyone in the book world is talking about it!
Life Will Be the Death of Me… and you too! by Chelsea Handler. (3.5 stars). This is a memoir about the year that Chelsea decided to dedicate to self discovery. She talks in depth about her psychiatry appointments, her family, her dogs, and her relationship with drugs and alcohol. I really liked this book, it’s an easy read, but it’s also quite introspective. Whenever I think of Chelsea, I think of this flakey TV character, but after reading this you see that someone so successful still has the struggles that we all feel… and possibly more.
The River, by Peter Heller. (5 stars). Best friends, Wynn and Jack, are bonded by their love of the outdoors and literature. They have decided to go on a leisurely paddling trip in Northern Ontario, and when a wildfire starts to pick up pace towards them. They are happy with their movement ahead of the fire, when they hear a husband and wife, also camping in the middle of nowhere, arguing. The next day Wynn and Jack see the husband paddling alone. From here it’s an adventurous chase from a fire, a potential dangerous person, and survival. This book is SO good. The writing about the setting is extremely picturesque, you feel plunked into a canoe on a river. But honestly I was kind of bored, until about page 60… and then I didn’t put this book down again until I finished it that same day. It’s a well-researched, thrilling fictional story sparked by a dinner conversation that Peter Heller had with a guest and their story.
The Bride Test, by Helen Hoang. (4 stars). This is Hoang’s second novel, her first one The Kiss Quotient, was a super successful debut (which I loved). Yes, it’s fits into the romance genre, but it is SO much more. Khai Diep is a twenty-something, autistic bachelor. He’s extremely successful, but his mother is bound and determined that he will find a bride. So she decides to fly home to Vietnam and find him one. Enter Esme, she’s a single struggling mother, and when she’s presented this opportunity by Khai’s mother, she takes a leap of faith and tries woo Khai. But as Esme begins to get to know Khai, she learns that she will not only have to woo him, but she will have to teach him how to show her love too. This is such a great story, and a necessary novel in the world. Hoang connects a reader with the feelings and confusion that autism can bring up for an individual, and the people who surround them. I loved it, and can’t wait until Hoang’s next one. This is the PERFECT book to throw in your bag for some summer reading!
A Quote to Ponder:
“There is a line I had written down from Viktor Frankl’s memoir about surviving the Holocaust, Man’s Search for Meaning, that stopped me cold when I read it: “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” I had never thought about what life expected from me. I had only thought about what I expected from life. That was a book putter-downer. It was a look up at the sky and wonder Where the fuck have I been all my life? moment.” – Chelsea Handler.