What I Read: May ’20

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson: I really enjoyed in the Garden of the Beasts so was excited to see Larson had a companion book on the British side of WW2. I enjoy his nuanced and well researched non-fiction.

North Haven by Sarah Moriarty: This was a Kindle First book about a family’s beach house in Maine and how 4 grown children grieve their parents loss. It was OK. I wish I loved some of these Kindle First reads more but alas, I am just churning thru them to get them off my Kindle.

The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things by Courtney Elizabeth Mauk: This was a Kindle First book and was just OK. It was a very fast read but found the surprise ending 100% unearned.

The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent: I stayed up a hour past my bedtime to finish this book – I cannot tell you the last time this happened! I could not decide who did it and was back and forth throughout the whole book. This thriller was part Gone Girl and part Thirty Shades of Gray.

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas: This was a recommendation from a friend and a great one at that! Thomas imagines what the Sherlock Holmes story would look like if he’d been a she instead. I loved it and cannot wait to devour the second in the series!

What I Read: April ’20

Hide Away by Jason Pinter: This was a free Amazon Prime book and it was a fast paced read with a twist I didn’t feel the narrative earned or the clues dropped were simply too opaque for this tired mama to catch.

The Five: The Untold Stories of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold: This work of nonfiction was dense but engrossing. Instead of glorifying the killer, Rubenhold dives deep into the social and economic reasons these 5 women were on their own, sleeping rough in London. I learned a lot about 1880’s London and really appreciated the nuanced approach to the story.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone: This is SUCH a wonderful inventive piece of speculative fiction. Two agents from opposing sides of a war leave each other notes thru space and time and fall in love. I can see why this was nominated for the Hugo for Best novella, it is a bright, joyful read.

No Drama Discipline by Tina Payne Bryson and Daniel J Siegel: These authors also wrote the Whole Brain Child and I listened to this as a parenting refresher while we’re all quarantined together.

What I Read: March ’20

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: Another classic I was able to knock out early in the month. I listened to this and feel it was not the best option – I should have read it. That said, any Woolf is some good Woolf.

Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard: This was a free Kindle book and it was just OK. I flew through it and liked the Minnesota setting well enough but always struggle when white authors right non-white characters that come off as one note.

Heart Talk by Cleo Wade: This was a book club book that COVID19 stole from me! I really enjoyed this book and wish I had purchased it so I could mark it up. So many great poems and encouraging words – this is worth checking out!

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders: OK so this is read by the author and I feel like I should not hate on it but…I did not connect with it I feel like I should have with a book on minimalism. She discloses so much other stuff than just how she dealt with her belongings and as someone who also worked from home and was allowed to stew in my emotions, I wanted to get it but just didn’t connect.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: OMG THIS BOOK. I listened to it, again, maybe not the best way to consume this story. I really enjoyed it but I found myself swept away with the motif and theme but found only a few times the main characters tugged on my heartstrings.

What I Read: Feb ’20

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Holy cow this book! I listened to it – which is how I would recommend consuming this faux memoir. Told as interviews from the members of the 70’s most famous rock band, it is a truly inventive form of fiction. That said, I found the characters to be vapid, self-centered and not at all likable – and that is despite struggling to find the real conflict in the plot. However, there is a twist at the end that brings story telling and memory into question. I hated the characters but loved the way this journey made me think.

Inland by Tea Obreht: In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life. Meanwhile, Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts [here]. I listened to this and to be quite honest, I struggled to connect to it. They are two very interesting stories but felt they were cobbled together at the end as both were too short for a full length novel.

At Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen: This was a recommendation from a good friend, whose taste I usually enjoy! However, the first third was full so much ostentatious wealth and self-centeredness, I did not immediately understand the recommendation. However, I stayed with it and as the main character finds her footing, so does the story and it begins to soar. Worth checking out if WWII fiction is your jam!

Midnight Sun (Blood on Snow #2) by Jo Nesbo: This was a follow up to a murder mystery I enjoyed years ago and my tolerance for self-centered villians is waaaaay down. Will not seek out the third in this series.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry: This is the traditional story and I was glad to read this quickie. I love filling in gaps in my classics reading.

Halsey Street by Naomi Coster: This debut contemporary novel was a Kindle First book and it took over 6 months for me to finish it. Addressing gentrification, art, damaged familial relationships, Coster has a intriguing view of the world and I’d be interested in what she takes on next.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith: I flew thru this and found a few good nuggets but found her taste to be very similar to the style I’m naturally drawn to.