Since I last wrote I made a bit of progress on my yearly reading challenge and finished a few titles. One by a new favorite author, one I picked up on a whim and one for book club. As the summer wears on (and on and on…) I am getting back into a reading routine and have created time for myself in the evenings to sit down with a book and not feel guilty for taking the time to indulge in my favorite occupation. I think my new job helps. Looking at oodles and oodles of forthcoming titles every day definitely stokes my interest in reading!
Foster by Claire Keegan – Last year I read Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan and, along with many other readers, loved it. (It was my last 5 star read on Goodreads.) I have a great admiration for writers who can tell a complex story using spare prose. It takes such skill to do it well and Keegan does. In Foster, we follow a young, poor girl as she is sent out to live with a distant relation over the summer. The differences between her household and her temporary home are subtly portrayed and the love and care her foster parents provide is transformative. A somewhat ambiguous ending gives it a hazy quality that I liked.
Vladimir by Julia May Jonas – I’d heard a lot about this book when it released in the spring but wasn’t too keen on reading it – until I was desperate one night and it was available for me to download immediately from our digital library. A middle-aged English professor at a small college in upstate New York becomes obsessed with a young, sexy novelist at the same time her fellow professor husband is suspended for having relationships with students. Timely, bitchy, with lots of black humor I really enjoyed this though it has a bizarre conclusion.
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller – I am still hosting a virtual book club for the library and The Paper Palace was our July title up for discussion. A hugely popular best seller last summer, I was looking forward to reading something beachy, light and easy to fly through. I was sadly disappointed! This is one heavy beach read. Parental neglect, child abuse and rape, incest, a dreary love triangle and justified illegal acts – it’s all here and it is tough going. Cowley Heller is a good writer, her dialogue is snappy and funny and I really liked the structure of the book, however it was quite hard to read at times. It’s a very different type of book, but it did remind me of Where the Crawdads Sing all through my reading – lots of the same themes but also that mystique that makes some books compellingly readable despite the subject matter.
Currently : I started a galley of The Marriage Portrait, the new novel by Maggie O’Farrell. I am sad to say that it has been a slog for me. I really liked Hamnet but this new one doesn’t hold up as well and needs to move a bit faster. I’ll probably return to it, but setting aside for now while I read….
The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg
The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
The Palace Papers by Tina Brown
I’m also going to resurrect the ABC Reading Project I developed last year so look for future posts featuring books from my own shelves.
How is your week going? Reading anything good?