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At the end of each month, I’ll be wrapping up what I’ve been reading, watching, and writing. Since much of May was occupied by blog setup and it’s already June, I thought I’d add a little extra and cover both April and May in this first one.
Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit post for June 2017.
The Husband’s Secret weaves together the lives of three women dealing with their own personal tragedies, secrets, and the repercussions of their decisions. As she did in Big Little Lies, Moriarty is great at mining the insecurities and dramas simmering below the surface of happy-seeming suburban families. This was a fast read for me, though not an "unputdownable." I don’t always like Moriarty’s writing style, but I can’t deny that she writes a compelling story that keeps me turning the pages. More info →
This 2002 National Book Award-winning novel brings us into the lives of Paul, Fenno, and Fern over the course of three different summers. Their lives are woven together in different ways, but the story isn’t necessarily about their relationships with one another, but about each of their struggles to come to terms with the deaths of loved ones. A slow-mover, for me, but a nonetheless fascinating look at families, love, and how death and the things learned in the aftermath can define the lives of those left behind. More info →
Wildwood is a middle grade fantasy-adventure story written by Colin Meloy, the lead singer of the Decemberists. Twelve-year old Prue’s baby brother has been snatched by crows and taken into the forest near Portland, where no one ever goes, known as the Impassable Wilderness. Prue and her friend Curtis venture into the forest to save Mac and encounter talking animals, magic, and a divided kingdom falling into war. The hardcover is beautiful, with a lovely cover and illustrations. While the book suffers a bit from heavy description (my mind wandered at times) and some familial relationships that rang false to me, the book gained speed at the end and piqued my interest enough to continue with the second in the trilogy, which reviews say is darker. Knowing that, I would recommend this for older middle-grade readers—maybe 11 and up. More info →
Rules of Civility is a look at 1930s New York high society through the eyes of Katey Kontent, an independent 20-something who, with her friend Evelyn, finds her way into those hallowed circles by way of a chance meeting with Tinker Grey at a jazz bar. Circumstances keep Katey on the invite list over the course of a year, as she works as a secretary by day and navigates the world of the wealthy by night. I enjoyed this look at New York in the 30s, but sometimes felt dissatisfied with the sketchy motivations of many of the characters, including Katey herself. More info →
I have never read any Stephen King before because I’m a big fat wimp and I know I’d have nightmares and be afraid to go in my basement (anyone else still give those wide-open storm sewers the side-eye after that clown appeared in It? And I only watched about five minutes of that movie.). But this book is pretty much required reading for anyone who wants to write. King is a prolific writer who knows how to tell a story, and he has great lessons to share with other storytellers. More info →
Anne is well-known, well-loved, and never at a loss for words. When Anne, an orphan, is mistakenly sent to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, an elderly brother and sister who wanted a boy to help with the farm, she shakes up their lives and the lives of others in Avonlea with her sense of adventure and optimistic spirit. I enjoyed this sweet re-read and may delve into some of the others in the series. More info →
I picked this up at a library sale with the intention of keeping it for my daughters’ library, but I started it one rare quiet day and finished it in a few hours. This story of Jess and Leslie's friendship and their magical forest kingdom is as wonderful—and heartbreaking—now as it was when I was 10. More info →
While the hype on the back of this book is kind of irritating (it’s not the most magical story ever and it’s definitely not a laugh riot), Little Bee is a beautiful, painful, horrifying novel—one worth reading. The story of the connection between Little Bee, a young Nigerian woman, and Sarah, an English wife and mother, unfolds slowly, alternating between their perspectives. Little Bee’s parts shine with lovely language and humorous insights, while Sarah’s fall a little flat, but I feel like this is part of the contrast of their experiences and how they respond. An important read that brings the horrors, fears, and hopes of asylum seekers to the doorstep. More info →
In the 1920s, “the Fishing Fleet” was the name ascribed to young affluent women who left England for India in search of husbands, often after the social “season” had ended and they were left without marriage prospects. Viva, who has her own reasons for heading to India, is tasked with accompanying two young women and a troubled teen boy on the ship to Bombay. Against the backdrop of a politically unstable India, the women learn the importance of friends-as-family as they are thrust into a confusing world of wealth and poverty, isolation and scrutiny, and love and betrayal. This was a slow-mover for me, but was ultimately an intriguing and satisfying read with interesting historical context and complex relationships. More info →
Next on my shelf:
Commonwealth. Ann Patchett <3 Can’t wait.
Anne with an “E”
I’m not an Anne purist—I didn’t actually remember the book all that well (which is why I re-read it), and I’ve never seen the beloved Canadian mini-series made in the 80s. So I liked Anne a little darker, with more backstory for all of the characters, and even some of the plot deviations. I can generally accept screen adaptations that aren’t totally loyal to the books, though—more on that in my next post.
Me Before You
This was fine. I read the book recently and it was also fine. I half-watched it one evening on Netflix while doing bloggy admin stuff, and it never pulled me in enough to get my full attention.
Thirteen Reasons Why
I read this when it first came out, but my memory of the details is foggy. So I didn’t do much book-to-show comparing here, but I did like the show. It’s sad, and disturbing, which is no surprise, but I thought it was well done.
I got hooked on this sci-fi, post-apocalyptic show on Netflix before I ever knew it was based on a book. I haven’t read the book, and now I’m watching the series live (rare for me these days). The middle seasons get repetitive, but the first and latest are addictive and compelling. It will be about a year before the next season comes out, and I am ready for it.
Not based on a book, as far as I know, but another great sci-fi show that my husband and I binge watched last year. We’re re-watching the last season in anticipation of the next one. We cannot get enough Helena.
Looking forward to:
Orange is the New Black season 5; Orphan Black season 5
– The first few blog entries to get this ship moving, but otherwise it’s been a lot of boring technical setup. Now that that’s (mostly) out of the way, here’s some of what’s to come in the next few months: my all-time favorite books, the weird hangups caused by reading, books I found disappointing, thoughts on writing and reading when there’s NO TIME, THERE’S NEVER ANY TIME (cue Jessie Spano), my reading bucket list, and more.
– A couple chapters of a middle grade novel that may never see the light of day, but so far I’m loving the characters so…maybe more to come.
Happy June! What did you read, watch, or write in May (and April)?