It’s that time, y’all. One of the books I read this month was one of the most poignant stories I’ve read in recent years. One made me reluctant to turn the light off at bedtime. One was really, really not worth the time spent reading it.
I’m off school for the summer, so now hopefully I’ll have lots of time to read. I’m hoping to read through the Anne of Green Gables series again this summer (and possibly Harry Potter too, because I can’t help it). Any recommendations for June?
- The Light Between Oceans, M. L. Stedman, fiction
Oh. I wish I could tell you how this book moved me. It’s not one that I will be able to move on from quickly. After I turned the last page, I sat and cried and needed to just be for a moment. The “light between oceans” is a lighthouse off the coast of western Australia, and the story is of the keeper and his family. It’s the story of the weight of a moment, the echoes one decision can make for a whole lifetime. It’s the story of grief and forgiveness and the lies we tell ourselves. I felt deeply the anxiety of desperately holding onto a secret, the ache of despair and loneliness, and the heartrending pain of losing the people who make up the very fabric of your life. The characters are broken and real and haunting and complicated, and I feel as though I know and care for them. I can’t recommend it enough. Now I have to go hug my husband.
- Perfect Little World, Kevin Wilson, fiction
Izzy, the main character, gets pregnant with her art teacher’s baby and then he dies. She’s left with very few options when she’s approached by a scientist conducting an experiment where ten families live and raise their children together in one big complex. The children don’t even find out who their biological parents are until five years into the experiment. There was a lot of lead up to actually living at the complex, and I thought the years there were the most interesting. It’s a look into what really makes a family and the ways our families shape us.
- The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, fiction
I read this a long time ago, but didn’t remember many of the details. As usual, I decided to read it again because I want to watch the show. I didn’t enjoy the writing style and found it distracting more than anything. I’m never thrilled about books in which the author is trying more to make a point than tell a story, and that’s what this felt like to me. I forgot how abruptly the end comes and I have lots of questions I still want answers to.
- The Whole 30, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, nonfiction health/reference
David and I just completed our fourth Whole 30, so I thought it was time to take a look at the book. For someone who is interested in completing the program for the first time, this would be an incredibly valuable resource. Since we’ve been familiar with it for two years and have already done it, I didn’t feel like I learned anything I hadn’t already found from my own experience or from research. Their website is pretty comprehensive as well, and is where I got all my information before we started. I would get a copy of the book for the recipes it includes. There are several that would be especially helpful if you aren’t used to cooking this type of food. I’m interested to read another of their books, It Starts With Food, which gives more of the scientific reasoning behind the program. Side note, I love the Whole 30 program and love talking about it, so if you are interested or have questions I’d love to chat about it with you!
- Vanishing Girls, Lauren Oliver, fiction
WHAT THE FRICK. I finished this and immediately went back and reread several different sections of it. There’s a twist that I did not see coming (although I almost never see them coming – I enjoy being surprised like I’m supposed to). I was interested in the story before I figured out what was really going on, and then I was mostly interested in figuring out how I was tricked. Also, if you’re going to read this, just know that Nick is a girl. The first couple pages were super confusing before I figured that out.
- The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena, fiction
A couple leaves their baby at home alone while they go to a dinner party next door and she (shockingly) gets kidnapped. This was really dumb. For real.
- Marlena, Julie Buntin, fiction
This novel switches back and forth between present day and the narrator’s adolescence in Northern Michigan. It’s the story of a year in her life when she moved to a town and became friends with a girl named Marlena, ending with Marlena’s death. Both girls came from broken families and dealt with addictions. Although it was sad, the characters didn’t grab me and I wasn’t very emotionally invested in the story.
- The Girl in the Garden, Melanie Wallace, fiction
The first part of this story involves a young girl with a baby being abandoned at a hotel in New England. She ends up staying in the town, and the rest of the story involves the people she lives with and other residents of the town. I was interested to see what happened, but was constantly wishing for events and characters to be developed more fully. I had high hopes and expectations, but this didn’t quite meet them.
- And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie, fiction
This is the best-selling mystery novel of all time. I love mysteries, so when I heard that I knew I had to read it. I’ve never read anything by Agatha Christie before, and her writing style surprised me a little. Ten strangers find themselves stranded on an island and then they begin dying one by one. It’s an incredibly well-constructed mystery and I was in the dark until the very end. I really, really appreciated that she explained it all in the epilogue and all my questions were answered with a reasonable explanation. It did freak me out a little, but I’m a big baby about that kind of thing and used to have to leave my lamp on all night after reading Nancy Drew books before bedtime.
Reading Challenge Progress: 36/50 books completed.