Friday, September 7, 2018

I wanted to write a blog post with my Summer of '18 Reading Recommendations.  But then I got busy.  Now it is almost Fall.  Oh well. 

Here are some of the top reads for the summer 2018.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I love a narrative about families and the dynamics that make them fucked up but special.  This resonated for me, cuz there's the rich family and the single-working-mom, getting by.  And there is a wild child.  And a story of adoption.  I know nothing about being a single working mom...but the rest?  I've got that!

Look, some of the parts about the well-off family - they made me cringe.  They hit a little close to home.  I have someone who helps me cook dinner (by "help" I mean she does it all) and pick up my kids.  Ok, my KID. Only one left at home.  Some of this she does so I am freed up to get a bunch of work done.  And some of this she does cuz I'm not cooking shit.  And, I do hate waiting in the car at the pick-up circle when it's 115 out. I'll pay anybody anything not to trigger another hot flash.  #estrogen

But I digress.  Being the mother of two adopted daughters, I felt incredible anxiety during the push-pull between the birth mother and the adopting family.  Not main characters, but the telling of this story got into my fragmented brain and under my skin.

I loved it.  I'll give it a 9.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan 

I felt duty-bound.  Like this was an important, highly written about book and I needed to read it.  I don't love a period piece. 

BUT - the story of the young woman who wants to become a diver with the military...those parts are sooooooo compelling.  The stories of the underwater dives?  Holy Moley - I loved them.

Still missing some dynamic character development or fast enough narrative.  I felt like I was wading a bit.  (Yuck, yuck - get it?  Wading?) I did learn something new and experience something through writing I would never understand otherwise.  But still not enough to call this book a top read.  I think there are things that are more compelling on my list.  Which I haven't created yet.  But I'm sure there will be.

I will give it a 7.

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Really - after almost 25 years of marriage?  What could be wrong with a book with this title?  It's my kinda book name.

And I liked it.  The plane goes down.  Her husband is on it.  But his story doesn't match up?  Was it her husband?  Or is her (over-the-top fantastic, perfect husband) a fraud.  Fast paced, mystery-thriller.  About a marriage built on lies. Great beach read.  

I'll give it an 8 for readability. Even though I am a contemporary literature snob.

The Rough Patch:  Marriage and the Art of Living Together by Daphne De Marneffe
 This was reviewed in Time Magazine as a must-read for people who have been married 20 years and have hit a rough patch.  

I bought it, downloaded it and never read it. 

I give it a 2 for it's lack of desirability.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

I LOVED this book. And, I remembered what it was about!!!  

Four teens, NYC, the early 70's...they go to a fortune teller who tells each of them how and when they will die. Then we watch as their adult lives unfold.  It was riveting and I loved it.  

Can I give it a 10?  Well, it wasn't super-serious and important literature like Solsenetzen.  So I will give it a...nope, still a 10.

Silver Girl by Leslie Pietrzyk
Well, I do love a story about college girls in the 80's.  Cuz it resonates.  Cuz that was my time.  And I was a college girl.  And I remember the product-tampering Tylenol scare.  

I loved the struggle between the girl with means and the girl without means.  This makes me think of another great novel about a young woman, first her family to go to college and the challenges of the transition.  Of course, I can't remember the title.  But I'll look it up.  Well, I will probably forget that too!

I will say there is a coldness to the characters making me give this a 7.