Archive | April, 2020

Living that Quarantine Life

24 Apr

If you had asked me what I needed to read a bajillion books in six weeks, I’d have told you to keep my husband home from work to watch the kids, shut down the stores and lock the doors. Turns out that isn’t enough. Here we are on day 43 of our family’s self-imposed quarantine and I only have 7 books to show for it. I must have started and quit on a dozen before I found my groove again. Here are the ones that stuck:

The Lily King was excellent and mostly likely will reappear at the of the year on my Best Of list. I really loved this story of a young woman, an aspiring writer, struggling with love and her day job. This book made me want to drop everything and start writing a novel, I loved it so much. 5 stars

Julia Alvarez holds a special place in my heart. In the Time of the Butterflies is the first adult book I can remember reading and loving as a teenager. She probably hasn’t written an adult novel since around that time (15 years I think it’s been) and I was excited to get a sneak peek at this one. This is the story of four sisters dealing with aging and mental health and grief, sounds super serious but I thought it was fast and easy to read. I wish I’d gotten to know the sisters a little bit more before it was over. 4 stars

If you love Ottessa Moshfegh, you’ll love love her new novel Death in Her Hands. If you don’t love her others, you prob won’t love this one either. She is so polarizing, I think. Love her or hate her, this new novel takes unreliable narrators to the next level. I finished this book with so many questions and was thankful I had a book buddy to talk it over with. This is the story of an elderly widow living in the woods with her dog. She finds a note one day on a path that only she travels, hinting that a woman named Magda has been buried nearby. And with that we are off on the weirdest murder mystery ever written. 4 stars (slowly growing to a 5)

Jenna Bush just announced this last one, Valentine, as her book club pick for the month. I enjoyed it – even though it starts with a pretty violent rape and usually that is not my jam. It follows 5 women in a dusty Texan town, all of them connected to this initial violent act. When I started it I thought it would likely end up like Crash or We Are Called to Rise – but it didn’t end that way and I appreciated that. 4+ stars.

My neighborhood book club read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and met virtually to discuss. I liked it fine – a therapist talking about a few of her clients and also her relationship with HER therapist. Overall, her “patient” stories were amazing and made me cry, but I can’t imagine ever being friends with the author herself. 4 stars.

Cantoras was an interesting title. Carolina de Robertis I’ve read before and really enjoyed, she compares pretty easily to Julia Alvarez. Lots of revolution and women – in the case of Cantoras a LOT of WOMEN. This novel follows 5 women in Uruguay in the 70s, and I definitely enjoyed it. There are a lot of fairly graphic woman-on-woman love scenes and themes, so I have a hard time thinking about who I could recommend this to. But if that appeals to you it really is a great story. 4.5 stars

This last one, Why Birds Sing, I really liked but it doesn’t come out until October so I’ll set a review to come out closer to then. It’s a paperback original (skipping hardcover completely) so I hope it finds a bigger audience. Story is a 30ish year old opera singer whose voice “breaks.” She’s home recovering with her always-traveling husband Ash and, now, her husband’s brother Tariq as he undergoes chemo for stomach cancer. To keep her contract with her opera company, she is saddled with teaching a whistling group at the community college, helping them prepare for a big competition. Gosh I just loved this one, fast and easy. 5 stars

other bennet

A great book like that always helps me out of a funk and I’m halfway through this one, came out at the end of March about Mary Bennet, the unfortunate sister from Pride and Prejudice. It’s weird because I can’t tell if it’s super boring or just exactly perfect. The first part takes place during the events of P&P and the second part 2 years later. So far I keep coming back to it, I’ll let you know!