Natalie Tan’s Book of Love and Fortune

Natalie Tan’s Book of Love and Fortune by Roselle Lim was a delightful book. While I don’t normally enjoy magical realism, this book was so barely sprinkled with it, that it was OK. Natalie returns home after her mother’s death to say goodbye and open her grandmother’s restaurant. She is gifted her grandmother’s cookbook and uses it to help her neighbors. The recipes and food descriptions were all appealing as well. It’s reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate and a book about orange slices that I can’t remember the title of for the life of me.

Know My Name

Know My Name by Chanel Miller is the memoir of Emily Doe. Amazon says it better than I can: “She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.” It is both a difficult read and a fascinating look into the criminal justice system. I recommend you pick it up, but be prepared…it’s tough.

Wanderers

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig was available for the library for me and I have no idea why it was on my list. I didn’t recognize it and don’t remember adding it. But, since it was going to need returning to the library, I thought I would give it a try. I fell RIGHT IN at page 1. Basically, one person is a sleepwalking zombie who is added to by person after person and no one can figure out what’s wrong with them or why it’s happening. The CDC is involved and it’s deemed a pandemic. Topical? Yes. Suck you right in? Yes. Would I recommend? If you can handle reading about something a little like what we are dealing with, then yes, grab it. It’s 700+ pages, though, so be prepared for a long haul. This was a good read, but too long. Even so, I did enjoy it.

Paris Letters

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod was a delightful read. It’s a memoir of the time when McLeod decided to leave her advertising work, save for a life without working, and travel to Paris. It’s a wonderful romp that will make you jealous of her choices and pleased to hear about how she completely changed her life. I’m not sure how this book ended up on my list, but it was the perfect antidote for the times. Highly recommend. And, the illustrations are wonderful.

Lady in the Lake

I was lucky to get my hands on a bunch of items on my to-be-read list from the library before the world closed. Lady in the Lake by Laura Lipman was one of them. Lots of other books I was more interested in took precedent (and, of course, the amazing Kindle reads from the library just kept coming…), so this has been on the back burner for a while. Like all Lippman books, this was a quick read and a mystery. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. And, the ending surprised me, which is always good for a mystery.

Something to Live For

Something to Live For by Richard Roper was originally titled How Not to Die Alone. It was very confusing when it was checked out to me by the library. Amazon reports (see me getting lazy here – work is crushing me right now – even from home!)…”All Andrew wants is to be normal. He has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people. The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and his little white lie is about to catch up with him. Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.” This is a cute and light read, which I enjoyed, though there’s not much too it. The characters are like-able and the story, while predictable, is a nice one.

If Only I Could Tell You

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman is another one that came up for my Kindle from the library this week. It’s the story of two sisters who have been estranged since something happened to them in their youth. Most of the book is spent alluding to this “incident” by all three of the main characters without telling you what happened until close to the end. It was a good story and an enjoyable read, but annoying to be teased the whole way through about what it was that had happened.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

In my new discovery of reading on the iPad, I also learned that I had borrowed Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan 20 days ago and it was due today. So, I set my mind to it and read it yesterday and this morning. It’s a delightful love story, based on the real relationship between author Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis. I didn’t know anything about them and this was a wonderful story which I fell right into. It’s easy to find at the library, and was available right away as a digital copy. I do wonder if the availability of digital library books is going to be compromised with libraries closed, but, for now, lots of titles are coming to me and I am enjoying the diversion from the read world!

The Glass Hotel

I was so excited to get the epub book The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. While I struggled to figure out how to read it – and finally discovered that the iPad was the best way (OMG – LOVE reading on the iPad – it’s so GIANT for these old eyes) – ultimately, it was a huge disappointment. I LOVED Station Eleven and had high hopes for this one. But it didn’t live up even remotely. This story centers around Vincent (a woman – I found that challenging each time I read it) who has an interesting life bouncing from place to place and ultimately as the wife of a shady investor. While it was a quick read, none of the characters were ultimately likable, and it was such a far cry from Station Eleven’s magnificence that I would recommend skipping it.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

I’ve had The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson on my to-be-read list for a long time and it finally came up at the library. I had never heard of the blue people from Kentucky, so this was an interesting read. However, it was reminiscent of The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – two books with similar subject matter published reasonably close in time. This one was the story of the traveling librarians who delivered books to remote readers in Kentucky, entwined with the story of the blue people from Kentucky. Amazon says: “Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.” It’s a good read, but a little bit of an overlap from Jojo Moyes. Worth a read, nonetheless.