In a recent conversation, a friend raved about a movie she’d seen. “I laughed the whole way through. You will love it,” she said. But I didn’t.
The experience was like reading the list of Academy Award nominations, rushing to watch an acclaimed movie, and then wondering what I missed. After all the hype, why did the film fall flat with me?
And that’s how I felt this month.
In the last few weeks, I’ve read seven books. From the reviews and accolades, I was “supposed” to enjoy them all. But three books (not listed here) were sort of “meh.” I realize different readers like different things, but they were not for me.
The sort I finished, but I can’t recommend.
So – in this month’s shorter roundup – whatever your reading pleasure, I hope you find a book that piques your interest.
“Life is a perfect combination of chance and choreography.”
I tend to read in airports, on planes, when I climb into bed at night. But, one recent Sunday afternoon, I curled up in a chair on the porch, opened this book, and tossed aside all productivity for the day. I couldn’t put it down.
In Litchfield County, Connecticut, Bridget’s planned a quiet few months in her broken-down vacation home, away from the frenetic pace of her New York life and professional cello commitments.
Her father, Edward Stratton, is a blustery, world-famous conductor. Decades ago, Bridget met Will at Juilliard. Oliver and Isabelle and Matt, now adults, need someone to guide them through their problems.
I loved the characters – all of them.
A fast-moving novel with assorted themes woven into its delightful fabric – discovering love later in life, adult children moving home, friendships without “strings” attached.
What are the consequences for animals and plants when they behave in such a way that a person would be punished?
Not long ago, I tuned in to an NPR interview featuring author Mary Roach. As she discussed her latest non-fiction book, Mary hooked me with her quick wit, relatable manner, and curious spirit.
For two years, Mary traveled the globe with wildlife and nature experts to study “criminal” behavior. In amusing detail, she highlights burglarizing bears, man-eating cougars, and vandalizing birds.
With a psychology degree and no particular background in science, Mary guides readers through interesting – and sometimes complicated – subjects in an easy-to-digest style.
Since I love all things animal, I preferred the chapters focused on stampeding elephants and jaywalking moose to those on danger trees and terror beans. But every chapter is fascinating. And great dinner party material.
As we approach the holidays, Mary’s books may be the perfect gift for that curious relative on your shopping list. My bonus daughter recommends Grunt (life in the military), Packing for Mars (space travel), and Stiff (our bodies after death).
A month or so ago, I read – and loved – Ms. Paul’s Jackie and Maria. Afterward, I tuned in to a podcast featuring an interview with the London-based author. While I listened to the discussion surrounding the research and real-life people behind her latest historical fiction novel, I downloaded the book right away.
I confess I knew next to nothing about the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. Ms. Paul takes us to the Valley of the Kings as Howard Carter discovers steps leading to an ancient burial site. Along with fellow archaeologist Lord Carnarvon and his daughter, Eve, the group uncovers stairways, corridors, chambers, and gold objects buried and sealed for three thousand years.
The story flip-flops between two time periods. Reared in Highclere Castle, the actual Downton Abbey estate, young Lady Evelyn Beauchamp is spirited and adventurous. Present-day Eve Herbert, married to a devoted husband, has fallen victim to a series of memory-robbing strokes.
How does it feel to watch the ones we love suffer? Do we still love when the person we know seems to have disappeared? This novel appeals to both history buffs and romantics.
In this Canadian author’s latest thriller, a wealthy couple is murdered in their mansion after a fancy Easter dinner. Their children didn’t do it. Did they?
When RJ Jacobs recommended this suspenseful novel, our online book club chose to read it. Because of my son’s wedding, I haven’t opened it – yet. And I can’t wait to dive in.
Leslie Moon heads up the book group, targeted to this community’s readers. According to Leslie, “Shari Lapena is one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint. Others in our book group were not familiar with her novels. And they are now fans.”
“The twists and turns and characters make it tough to turn out the lights and go to bed,” says Leslie. “You’ll be sad when this one ends.”
Is there a book you enjoy gifting to others? Can you think of a book many people, except you(!), seemed to enjoy? Do you always finish a book you start? (Not me – too many options out there!)