As you can imagine, I haven’t as much time for reading as I usually do. I have a feeling most of my reading for a while is going to be through listening to audiobooks. (Which, don’t get me wrong, I love.) I’ve also determined that downloading e-books on my phone and reading it while I rock Jack to sleep is probably going to have to suffice for now.
Anyway, here is what I read for the past two months:
THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LaRUE by VE Schwab
This book has been everywhere on social media lately. I really, really loved the premise and story. Essentially, it’s about making deals with the devil. Is it worth the price?! Addie makes a deal with the devil as a young woman in 1714 in France…. and she will live forever but will always be forgotten by everyone she meets. Eventually the story gets to modern times wherein she meets someone who does remember her. My only complaint about the book is that certain chapters dragged on.
APPLES NEVER FALL by Liane Moriarty
LOTS of hype about this one, but…. I really didn’t like it much at all. Liane Moriarty books are pretty hit or miss for me and this was just a miss. (I did listen to the audiobook and didn’t love the narrator and I wonder if that completely tainted the book for me.) The plot is kind of kooky (in my opinion), an older couple takes in a young woman who shows up on their doorstep out of the blue on seeking refuge from an abusive boyfriend. They take her in, and she almost becomes part of the family, much to the dismay of their own grown children. But then, the mom mysteriously goes missing. It goes back and forth between present day while they search for the missing mom and combing through the family’s past. And then it inexplicably ends with the pandemic which I found very bizarre and unnecessary to the story. Would love to know your thoughts on this book if you’ve read it! I feel like I’m the only person who didn’t love it.
CRYING IN H MART by Michelle Zauner
This is a heartbreakingly beautiful memoir about Michelle Zauner and her relationship with her late mother. I think if you’ve lost a loved one, particularly your mom, this would be a hard but meaningful read. She originally penned this now-viral essay for The New Yorker of the same name, and the memoir expounds on it. The memoir is about culture, food, race, and of course, the beauty and complications of mother/daughter relationships.
BEAUTIFUL WORLD, WHERE ARE YOU by Sally Rooney
I *loved* Sally Rooney’s Normal People and will read anything she writes after that. I really liked Conversations with Friends too and was looking forward to this but… it fell a little flat. It read more like Sally Rooney’s personal thoughts on the state of the world and her own personal life as an author disguised as a novel. I didn’t feel particularly connected to any of the characters and definitely not pulled in by the “plot” itself, but I did think the idea was interesting enough to keep reading?
MAID by Stephanie Land
Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year! It’s a memoir about a young woman who finds herself pregnant, leaves an abusive relationship, becomes homeless, and starts working as a maid to make ends meet for her and her young daughter. It is gut-wrenching at times, but so, so well-written. It both examines what it’s like being poor and getting support from “the system,” while also serving wealthier individuals in such a private and intimate way. Can money buy happiness? What makes a home, a home?
(PS You can watch the limited series based on this memoir on Netflix now!)
THE PEOPLE WE KEEP by Allison Larkin
I have to admit this one took me a while to get into, but loved the second half of the book. The main character runs away from home as a teenager and sets off to make it on her own in the world. She meets a lot of people along the way, but never stays in one place for too long. It’s an unconventional coming of age story about leaving home, finding home, leaving your family, and finding friends that become family.
THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett
This is Hunger Games meets Handmaid’s Tale mixed with Lord of the Flies but with girls. It’s definitely a book geared towards young adults, so take my review with a grain of salt. It was interesting… a dystopian society where teen girls are sent away to get rid of their “magic” for one year before returning to society to either get married or work. I liked that story touched on the complexities of female relationships and what it’s like being a girl on the cusp of womanhood. But, it was just entirely unbelievable and the storyline never went deep enough for me to really connect.
THE GUNCLE by Steven Rowley
An utterly charming book that is both heartwarming and gut wrenching. A gay retired actor (aka Gay Uncle Patric aka GUP) takes in his widowed brother’s two young kids while he’s in rehab. It’s a book that will somehow make you laugh out loud with quippy, fast paced writing and dialogue and cry as the characters move through their own layers of grief. It felt a little too long for me (though it could have just been my decreased attention span nowadays) but it’s a really great read overall!