In anticipation of Hurricane Florence dumping massive amounts of rain on Charlotte this weekend, I have a stack of books ready (and water and flashlights and batteries and all of that. . . ). I’m predicting reading will save my sanity if we happen to get stuck without power for a while. I’ve actually been in a little slump the last few weeks and have barely picked up a book. Instead, I’ve been ending my days on the couch watching Tiny House Hunters on Hulu or playing Word Cookies on my phone. I’m banking on this storm to get me back on track. Here’s a list of what I’ve finished lately. . .
Educated by Tara Westover I’m a fan of a memoir that involves triumph over a traumatic childhood. (Think The Glass Castle–my favorite!) The author grew up in a survivalist family living in the mountains of Idaho, ruled by a father with mental illness. A great reminder of how just a few strong, outside voices of encouragement can change the course of a life.
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell I didn’t know anything about this book when I started and it ended up being one of my favorites on this list. An A-list movie star basically goes off the grid with her child, leaving her husband and Hollywood behind for a life of seclusion until she meets the man who becomes her second husband. The story follows the dynamics of their family through the years. There are a lot of characters and the story is told from each of their perspectives, which I loved.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue Such a timely read told from the perspectives of an African couple who has immigrated to the United States and awaiting their papers. It’s interesting to see our country (the good and the bad) through their eyes when pursuing the “American dream” doesn’t turn out to be as idyllic as they had imagined.
The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin I’m also apparently a fan of historical fiction told from the perspective of a famous man’s wife. (Loved The Paris Wife.) This is the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her life in the shadow of her husband Charles (and his ego). I also knew little about the famous Lindbergh baby kidnapping so this was pretty fascinating.
Calypso by David Sedaris I’ve always heard how funny David Sedaris is, but this was the first of his books I’ve read. Each chapter is a short essay–mostly about his family (and aging father)–and is a great pick if you need something easy to pick up and put down without losing track. I don’t know that I’ll read all of his books immediately, but I did enjoy it and he’s a great writer. (This is his newest book; is there another one I should try?)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf So many of you told me you loved this book when I posted it on my Instagram stories. I usually avoid stories about kids who go missing, but this one was highly recommended and I loved it. It draws you in quickly and you spend most of the book trying to figure out why a seven-year-old girl hasn’t spoken a word since she was a toddler. A lot of twist and turns that would make a good Dateline story–if it were true.
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin As fun and light of a story as you can read about a pretty young intern who becomes involved with her much older boss/congressman and then becomes completely shunned by the country. Sound familiar? Despite the plot, there’s not a lot of sordid detail, just a quick, entertaining read told from her (and her mother’s and the scorned wife’s) perspectives.
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain After reading the author’s The Paris Wife about the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, I couldn’t wait to read this story about his third wife. She was a little more independent and feisty, fighting her way into the field of journalism covering WWII. I didn’t love this one quite as much. Maybe it’s that neither of them (she or Hemingway) were very likable; both were stubborn and a little selfish. With that being said, I think Paula McLain is a great writer and I look forward to her next book.
The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain I’ve quickly become a Diane Chamberlain fan. If you like a fast-paced read with a lot of twists and secrets you won’t figure out until the end, try one of her books. This is the story of three women who are best friends and begins with the suicide of one of them (who had written an unfinished and confusing letter about a huge betrayal years ago). Her two friends make it their mission to figure out who the letter was intended for and what it meant.
Serena by Ron Rash Serena is one crazy lady. I only read this one based on my dad’s recommendation and the fact that it’s set in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1930s. I can’t say much about this except that she’s evil, there were a lot of names to keep up with, and it was not the best pick for a beach read. (Sorry, Dad.) On a side note, did you see the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence? For some reason, I kept picturing Uma Thurman instead while I was reading it.
What have you read lately?