10:04: A Novel Ben Lerner – A brilliant book about the trials and tribulation of being 30, living in NYC and trying to figure out your career, your love life and just living.
We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel Matthew Thomas – This book has been written up everywhere as “the book” to read this fall. I admit that the story has stuck with me but the book is easily 200 pages too long. It is an endless family saga with very few characters and the impact could have been better made with some serious editing. I stuck with it but I can’t recommend it.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Daniel James Brown – I would have never gotten through this book if it wasn’t for listening to it on tape with Fred as we drove through Spain. Very verbose book, loads of history, quite enjoyed it but a bit too heavy on the countless details.
A Year in Provence Peter Mayle – Listened to this on tape after spending a few days in Provence. As a traveler and foodie it is a must read.
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr – I have read countless novels on WW2. This is really well written. It was a terrible time and lives were ruined. Makes you realize how it wasn’t that long ago but it was so long ago.
A Long Way Home: A Memoir Saroo Brierley – Amazing story. Saroo was a young boy in India when he got lost from his home at 5 years old. He was not able to communicate where he was from because he was hundreds of miles from home after getting on a train and ending up in Calcutta. Eventually he gets picked up and is taken to an agency that attempts to find his family. Unfortunately they never do and instead Saroo is adopted by a wonderful loving family in Australia.
Years pass and because of technology and perseverance he eventually finds his home through Google Maps and journeys home after 25 years to meet his Mother. An absolutely remarkable story. Quick read.
Eleanor – A young adult book that brings you back to being 16 and utterly confused. It is when you realize how different everyone is and who you want to become. Two quirky kids find each other and that relationship is the center of their universe. Really good!
Okay For Now Gary D. Schmidt – A young adult book that is just a joy to read. A coming of age story for a young teen during the Vietnam war. His family moves to a town in upstate NY where he blossoms. His love for the Audubon is the backdrop of the story. Really glad I read this book.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A Novel Haruki Murakami – Murakami is never easy reading but this book seems to flow. The story is making the point that whatever happens in your past affects your future. Baggage comes with you wherever you go. If the baggage is getting too heavy then figure out how to lighten the load.
Remember Me Like This: A Novel Bret Anthony Johnson – First time novelist who pulls you in from the very beginning. A story of a kidnapping where a child is missing for four years. The child is eventually returned but the emotional turmoil is the real premise of the book. Well done.
Soldier Girls: The Battle of Three Women at Home and at War Helen Thorpe – I had read about this books months before it came out and knew I had to read it. A really well written book about three women who sign up for the National Guard and end up serving time in Afghanistan and Iraq. The havoc it wreaks on them mentally and physically is gut wrenching. Each story is significant but the one that really left me feeling sad was the single mother who had to leave her children behind and the astounding but not surprising affect it had on them for probably the rest of their lives. As one character put it Bush sent the poor people to his war many times over not the people of his class as they all remained unscathed. Yet the veterans of these two wars live every day with overwhelming struggles and certainly not enough support from the system when they return. A really great book.
The Possibilities: A Novel Kaui Hart Hemmings – Set in a ski town in Colorado. A young 22 year old loses his life in an avalanche leaving behind his mother. Raised solo by his mother who became pregnant with him when she was just 22. His father, who she never married, lives close by. The book is essentially about the grief and lives left behind as they piece together a young adult who they each knew a bit differently. There is more to is and other characters but all and all a so-so book.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot David Shafer – This book reminds me a bit of the Circle by Dave Eggers in regards to speculation of what the world might look like sooner than later. The characters are great, the book twists and turns and eventually all comes together. An underworld is about to take over your data and everything else. Clever good read.
We Were Liars E. Lockhart – Have to love the YA books. This was a one night read. Well written, great character development and an interesting twist in the end. Perfect summer read.
The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd – It got so many great reviews. It is certainly an interesting book following two women of the same age yet one is privileged and the other is her slave but the book was long and was just too epic for me.
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel Susan Jane Gilman – At times I laughed and at times I cried and at times I grimaced. I hated and loved the main character at the same time. A little long but a good read.
Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace Michael Morton – I read about this book in an editorial for the NY Times. I started the book and stayed up until I finished it. A wrongful conviction an an incredible story. The travesty and perhaps too much of the reality of the Texas penal system.
The Book of Unknown Americans Christina Hendriquez – A novel about the immigrant communities who come to America for more reasons then just one. Would be a great book club book.
Reeployment Phil Klay – An incredible read. A real insight into the realities of war. A book that should be read.
I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller Terry Hayes – Could not put this down. A page turner from the first word.
My Struggle Book 3 – I can’t get enough of these books. Serious masterpiece.
Still-Alice-Lisa-Genova – A brilliant woman who also happens to be Harvard Professor finds out she has early age Alzheimers at 50. What happens, what goes through her head (and doesn’t), how people around her react, how the family deals with it and all the heartbreaking issues surrounding an incurable disease. Quick read.
Orphan-Train-Christina-Baker-Kline – A page turner about a time in history when children were picked up by the Childrens Aid Society and shipped out to random families with hope that it would just work out. A roof above their head. Doesn’t always work that way. This book goes back and forth from the past to the present about two women who although years apart have in many ways shared the same history. A good beach read.
My-Struggle-Book 2: A Man-Love – Second installation of the 3700 book written by Karl Ove Knausgaard and I can hardly wait for the book 3.
The Splendid Things We Planned : A Family Portrait Blake Bailey – Page turning memoir about a mans life and his doomed brother. No matter how much you love a person and try to help a person they sometimes do not want to help themselves. Great read.
My Struggle: Book 1 - Karl Ove Knausgaard – I loved this book. There are 6 books to complete this series. One of the most incredible books I have ever read.
Helen Oyeyemi: Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel – I wanted to love this book. There are 3 sections. The first one pulled me in but I found that the second and third were not as interesting. A topic worth writing race issues is interesting but the book rambled. Alas.
Andrea Portes: Bury This – A 25 year old unsolved town murder inspires a group of college kids to make a documentary around it with the belief that with the tools we have today that it can be solved. The writing is unique. Rapid short sentences that keeps the reader engaged. Super sad story.
Susan Minot: Thirty Girls – This is based on a true story of a group of young women who were taken by the Kony LRA rebels in Africa while living and studying at a church. We follow a journalist and her experience on reporting about the girls who have survived by escaping. Learning about their traumatic experiences is heartbreaking. How and why this continues to go on in Africa is mind-boggling. I would have preferred Minot to spend more time with those girls than getting inside the journalists head. Regardless I really am glad I read this book. It is an absolutely worthy read.
Anna Quindlen: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel – A simple story about life, love and art. A 60 year old woman still evolving and finding herself. Really enjoyed it.
Jean Hanff Korelitz: You Should Have Known – This book comes out on March 18th. The book moves fast with lots of twists and turns. A psychiatrist who has just written about how you should have known you were in a bad relationship finds her husband to not be who she thought he was. The perfect beach read.
Bill Bryson: One Summer: America, 1927 – My sister recommended this book. What happened that summer from baseball to Lindbergh and aviation to Henry Ford, Calvin Coolidge, Hoover, prohibition, Mt Rushmore, talking movies, theater, Al Capone and the first ponzi scheme. A great historic read.
Kim Malone Scott: Virtual Love – Not sure how I stumbled on this book but I am glad that I did. The book is about a woman trying to figure out her life. She was an entrepreneur and closed her company. She moved to SF to work at Google and run the Ad Sense division. She is in bad male relationships and needs to figure out why so she can get in a good one. There are a lot of thoughts bouncing around her head in regards to her personal struggles. Truly enjoyable well written insightful book.
Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland – I had read both the Namesake and Lahiri’s short stories and I felt both of those books were so much better than the Lowland. There was not on character I liked. None of them lived in the future or the present they all lived in the past. Their lives were just utterly depressing. Also the book was way too long. It is certainly a saga about the turmoil in Calcutta in the 60’s and the havoc it wreaked on one family in the post. Perhaps if they all had sought therapy then their lives would have been happier. Would not recommend.
Liane Moriarty: The Husband's Secret – This is a great book for vacation reading. I read it in a day. Engaging characters who are living real lives and each come with their own baggage. I won’t give away the premise of the book but I really enjoyed it.
Kate Atkinson: Life After Life: A Novel – I have read most of Atkinson’s books. This was an interesting concept. The book mostly takes place during the world wars yet a bit of a challenge to read. It took me a long time to get into the book and then I decided to soldier through. Many of the chapters are essentially redo’s of the characters life so that in one chapter they end up dying where in another chapter they continue to live due to a few shifts that take place. Each small decision you make has to do with the life you end lead. Interesting but did not love the book as much as I wanted to.