Reading is my oldest and favorite hobby. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to curl up with a good book. Here are my reads for July, 2014…
The Girl With All The Gifts, by M. R. Carey – I don’t want to say much about this one for fear of giving the plot away. I’ll leave it at this: it was a post-apocalyptic horror novel with plenty of twists and surprises. Not my normal genre, but I found myself… if not enjoying it exactly… at least needing desperately to see what would happen.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, by Joshua Ferris – The latest from Ferris (whose debut novel, Then We Came to the End, I loved) was one of the first American-authored books nominated for the Man Booker! Yeah! The story of an atheist dentist whose identity is stolen and used to promote a little-known religious sect online was funny and thought-provoking.
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, by Molly Wizenberg – I’m a fan of Molly’s blog, Orangette, I loved her first book A Homemade Life, and I followed Delancey’s progress with interest online, so I was eager to get my hands on this new book. I enjoyed it – reading the inside scoop on how the restaurant came to be was interesting – and some of the recipes are must-tries. I didn’t like this one quite as much as A Homemade Life, but still, worth reading for anyone into food writing or the restaurant business.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin – I really enjoyed this story of a cantankerous bookstore owner whose life is turned upside-down by a surprise delivery to his store. It didn’t blow me away quite as much as I expected, given the rave reviews I’d seen on other blogs, but still, it was a sweet and lovely story.
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1), by Erika Johansen – Blew through this fantasy novel set in a post-apocalyptic feudal society resembling the Middle Ages. Kelsea Raleigh is living a quiet life hidden in a forest cottage with her two guardians, until the Queen’s Guard arrives to escort her to her rightful place on the throne. The kingdom Kelsea inherits is torn and ravaged by a cruel treaty and has been run into the ground by Kelsea’s unscrupulous uncle. Kelsea is surrounded by enemies who want her dead, but her spirit and sense of justice are winning her some allies, too. I read some critiques of this book and they did make a few good points about inconsistencies in the plot, but I’m willing to suspend disbelief for a good story, which this certainly was. It’s the first in a planned trilogy and I’m now anxiously awaiting the next installment.
That Summer, by Lauren Willig – Julia Conley has inherited the family seat outside London, much to her chagrin. When she arrives, she finds the house a shambles, with family heirlooms scattered about and a possible pre-Raphaelite masterwork hidden behind a false panel in a wardrobe. Julia embarks on a quest to discover the artist, while a parallel story unfolds from the 1840s, about how the painting came to be. I liked this book, but wasn’t overwhelmed by it. Still, if you like historical romances or stories about paintings, I’d recommend this.
God is an Astronaut, by Alyson Foster – When disaster strikes a Spaceco flight, Jess Frobisher’s husband Liam – a company executive – is implicated in the tragedy. As Jess struggles to play the supportive wife in the face of her own doubts about Liam’s knowledge of a possible accident, she copes by sending emails to her favorite colleague, Arthur Danielson, on sabbatical after their relationship became too personal. Jess’s emails are both witty and searing, and I love the epistolary format. This one took me a little while to get into, but once I did I was hooked.
The Cloister Walk, by Kathleen Norris – This one had been on my list a long time. Norris, a Protestant poet, writes of her time spent as an oblate in Benedictine monasteries. I really enjoyed reading the parts of the book that focused on historical monastics, the liturgical calendar, and life for modern monastics. But I glazed over a bit when Norris would detour into her own personal issues. I took plenty from the book, though, and I’d recommend it to those with an interest in spiritual writing.
Not a bad month’s reading! All library books, thanks to Library Summer, and all relatively new releases. I’m getting itchy for some comfort reading off my own shelves, but I’m still in the throes of a library mishap so that’s going to have to wait. I’ve slowed down a bit due to general tiredness and burnt-out-itude, but I’m hoping to get a few good nights’ sleep and pick up the pace again in August. We have a big month with a lot of upheaval coming up (more on that soon) so I’m counting on some good reads to keep me grounded.