I feel like it’s been forever since my last book recap post, which is probably been down to the fact that I have been reading like a woman possessed over the summer. I don’t know what got into me, but I’ve been reading a book about every two weeks since the summer started, and I don’t see that letting up any time soon! One slight change in my reading habits this past season was investing in a Kindle. Now I have never thought I would be the type of person to buy an e-reader, because I will always prefer a real book to a screen. That being said, books are expensive especially when you’re reading upwards of twenty a year and they take up a lot of space (of which I don’t have a lot in our 750 sq ft apartment). One of the really great things about the Kindle is that if you live in San Francisco, you can rent e-books through the SF public library, which has been so nice when there’s been a book that I haven’t been completely up to spending $20 on, but still wanted to read. All of the Kindle talk aside, I’ve been so happy with all the books I’ve been reading this past summer and I’m always open to recommendations so please leave them below!
Normal People by Sally Rooney ~ If you haven’t heard about this book in the past year I will have assumed you have made your inhabitance under a rock. The story revolves around a boy and a girl who start casually dating at the end of their last year of high school and follows them through their trials and tribulations both as friends and lovers in their time at university. The plot is not anything earth-shattering or insanely innovative but Rooney’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and the characters she writes are not only deeply flawed and fallible, but also incredibly endearing and nuanced. I loved this book and it’s one I definitely see myself re-reading at a later date.
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple ~ I had heard about this book a long time ago but didn’t get around to reading it till this summer. If you’re in the mood for a fast, easy summer read this one is definitely for you. Even though it definitely wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read this year, it was entertaining and fun!
The Friend by Sigrid Nuñez ~ If you like a bit of magical realism I would 100% recommend this book! The story is about a woman whose best friend/mentor passes away and leaves her with his beloved Great Dane. As the book goes on, she becomes more and more attached to the dog and it becomes almost a stand-in for her friend. This was a pretty quick read for me, but I absolutely loved how Nuñez gets across how messy and confusing loss can be.
Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood ~ My friend recommended me this book last year since it was one of her favorites and I finally found it in a book store this past spring and decided to get it. This memoir is about a young woman whose father is one of the only married Catholic priests in the US. Long story short, he used to be a Lutheran pastor, had a family, and decided to convert to Catholicism and become a priest. While a lot of this book deals with religion, albeit in a fun in light-hearted way, I would say it’s much more about family dynamics and how both families can simultaneously be hilarious and infuriating.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane ~ I love books about family dynamics (if you couldn’t already tell by my other summer book picks)! This book follows the lives of Peter and Katie, whose fathers are partners on the NYPD. They grow up in the same suburb and while it might sound like their families should get along, they absolutely do not. The book follows both Peter and Katie through to middle age and explores the complications of family life and how major events in childhood can have lasting effects into adulthood. Even though this book about 400 pages, I blew through it in about three days because it was just that captivating and easy to read.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman ~ I tried reading this book a while ago and really had a hard time getting into it. However, I picked it back up when I was going on the trip and I knew I would have a lot of time to read on the plane. Honestly, this book is a cute story but I did not think it lived up to the amount of hype it had around it. I found the main character, Eleanor, to be pretty obnoxious and she really didn’t become likable until the very end of the book. It’s certainly an easy-to-read book, but there are other books I’ve read this year that certainly were better.
Educated by Tara Westover ~ Unlike Eleanor Oliphant, Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, was a majorly hyped up book that I loved. Westover recounts her childhood growing up in a Mormon survivalist family, who did not believe in sending their children to school because of a deep distrust in government and the educational establishment. Despite growing up in a very isolationist family, Tara decides at the age of 16 that she is going to go to college despite having no GED or high school diploma and she eventually ends up with a PhD. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good non-fiction read!
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah ~ Brad and I were taking a trip to Alaska at the beginning of September and so I figured the few weeks before going on the trip was the perfect time to read this book! The book is about a family in the 1970s who decide to move to Alaska to forge their own path. The father is a Vietnam vet and struggles with paranoia and PTSD and is very erratic in his decision-making process, which has monumental effects on his wife and daughter. Not only is this book great if you love a family-based, adventure-type story, but it also is beautifully written and does such a great job capturing the beauty and destruction that exists within the Alaskan landscape and way of life.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn ~ I watched the TV show when it came out last year and was absolutely captivated (and horrified) by the story so I knew I had to read the book at some point. Luckily, my friend had a copy that she kindly gifted to me and I tore through it in the course of a day and a half (its only about 240 pages). It’s almost the exact same as the TV show so I won’t give out too many spoilers, but while it has almost the exact same plot, reading this story is almost scarier than watching it. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good thriller to read quick!
Less by Andrew Sean Greer ~ I didn’t think I wanted to read a book about a man going through a mid-life crisis, but this book was so much more than what the blurb on the back teased. This book follows Arthur Less, who is a middle-aged writer who finds out that his ex-boyfriend is getting married and so he decides to book a trip to travel the world. I loved that while this book is clearly about working through a mid-life crisis and finding oneself it wasn’t clichéd and full of tropes like so many other books about the same topics.