So, I started out doing a "Book of the Week" section in my weekend recap posts. Then I decided I'd do a seasonal "Reading Roundup" of everything I read for three months at a time. So I started this post and added to it every time I finished a book, and by mid-October it started to feel overwhelmingly long. I couldn't imagine anyone getting through my thoughts on more than 10 books at a time. What do you think I should I do? Book of the Week? Monthly Recap? Bi-Monthly Recap? Seasonal Recap? Stop talking about books altogether? Any thoughts/opinions on the matter would be appreciated!
1) The Rocks by Peter Nichols: 4/5 stars. This is the story of two intertwined families on the island of Mallorca. The interesting part is that the story is told backwards. It was a little strange - The characters you meet as grown-ups in one chapter are teenagers in the next chapter, and toddlers in the next, and then not even born - but interesting and well-written.
2) Circling the Sun by Paula McLain: 3/5 stars. This is a novel about Beryl Markham. She grew up in Kenya in the early 1900s, where her father trained and bred racehorses. She became a trainer herself, and then become a pilot in the 1930s and was the first person to fly across the Atlantic east to west. Very Amelia Earhart, except no one has ever heard of her. I didn't love the book though. The hard part about writing books about real people is that real life doesn't follow traditional plot lines. I felt like the book just meandered around with Beryl without an actual narrative arc.
3) A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan: 4/5 stars. I really liked this book. The main character seemed really REAL to me, navigating the everyday life struggles of being a working mom, a wife, dealing with a sick parent, etc. It wasn't action packed but I appreciated commiserating with the modern day, #firstworldproblems that she faces because they feel and are familiar to me.
4) Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos: 4/5 stars. I really liked this book but gave it 4 stars [or maybe 4.5] instead of 5 because there are some elements that didn't ring quite true to me. I hope this doesn't spoil it for anyone but the Deus Ex Machina of an accidental death is a little too tidy. I really liked the main character's voice, and all the references to my favorite classic movies were fun.
5) The Martian by Andy Weir: 3/5 stars. It was good but not great. I would really like to see the movie though. It's not often the case but I think the movie will be better than the book. The main character is very likable, and the tension is high until the very end, but it was very scientific. I had to give myself permission to not understand every single detail.
6) Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont. 2/5 stars. I did not like this book at all. I only finished it because it was a quick read and I hadn't picked up anything new from the library. It's about a family living in New York dealing with the fallout from the husband/father having an affair. I just didn't like any of the characters. It reminded me so much of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum, which I also didn't like. The husband/father in both books is an experimental artist, which seems like an odd coincidence. Maybe I'm just done reading books about people having affairs. It's depressing.
7) Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos: 5/5 stars. This might be my favorite book from 2015. It's a sequel to Love Walked In and I liked it even better. It toggles back and forth between 3 main characters. Cornelia, from Love Walked In, her "perfect" new neighbor Piper [who I loved, because she really captures the perfect-on-the-outside-but-struggling-within personality], and a super-smart 13-year-old boy named Dev.
8) After You by Jojo Moyes: 3.5/5 stars. I liked it better than Me Before You, which I know not many people will say. I don't feel like I can talk about the plot much without giving things away. Suffice to say that Louisa's life is not all sunshine and roses after Will's death, but I liked the new characters introduced, and the scene is set for a third installment which I hope is in progress!
9) Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 2/5 stars. This book was so silly. It alternates chapters back and forth to tell two different outcomes based on if the main character had chosen this or that at one point. It felt like a conversation you have your freshman year of college that you think is SO deep. Is anything meant to be? Do you believe in fate, or destiny, or parallel universes? Also, the characters were so one-dimensional. The main character's thing is that she loves cinnamon rolls, and wears her hair in a high bun, and those two characteristics were mentioned so often... It drove me crazy! Enough with the cinnamon rolls already! We get it!
10) Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner: 3/5 stars. I've read various books by Jennifer Weiner over the years and I usually like them but rarely love them. This book was the same. It tells the story of Andy and Rachel, who meet when they are 8 years old in a hospital in Florida, and whose lives intersect again and again over the next 30 years. I'm having trouble pinpointing exactly why I didn't like it more. Maybe I prefer books with a continuous plot line? I had trouble connecting to the characters. We change so much between age 8 and 35 that it was like reading about different people.
Side note: How often in real life do you think women get accidentally pregnant and decide to have the baby without telling the father? Seems like it happens pretty often in literature, including in 3 of the 10 books listed above!
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree/disagree with my rating? What are you reading and loving now? What should I read next?