Maybe Matilda: August 2015 Books

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 2015 Books

I was sitting here, fingers poised to type out the unfortunate words, I didn't actually read much this month, until I got on Goodreads and tallied it up.

7 books? I could have sworn I hardly read a word this month beyond the instructions on the back of the macaroni and cheese box.

But I'm glad I write these monthly posts because it gave me the reminder that I read some really good stuff this month. Other than the mac + cheese instructions.

Short & Sweet Book Reviews
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe // I can almost guarantee I'll love any book that features a modern storyline intertwined with a historical one, especially if the modern characters are learning the story of the past right along with us. (Possession, The Forgotten Garden, The Rose Garden . . . there's a reason these are all favorites of mine.) In Deliverance Dane, a modern day graduate student is drawn into her family's mysterious past while trying to uncover a historical book that could prove that a woman hanged during the Salem witch trials was, in fact, actually practicing witchcraft. It's fast and addictive and hard to put down, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine // I picked this up after reading Kate Morton say that this book inspired her to write. I can definitely see some connections with Morton's books (which I l-o-v-e love)--dark family secrets, twisted relationships, a mysterious past, wartime England--but I found it much slower-paced and harder to stick with than anything I've read by Morton herself. I enjoyed it . . . but it was a bit of an effort. If you haven't read Kate Morton, go that route. If you have and are desperate for more, this might satisfy that Morton craving.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel // I read this novel last year, loved it, declared it one of my favorite reads of 2014, and was perfectly happy to re-read it for book club this month. This story of a world decimated by a flu that took out 99% of the population takes us back and forth from the pre-disaster past to 20 years post-flu and a group of actors and musicians who travel between tiny towns performing music and Shakespeare. It is suspenseful and engaging without being overly dramatic or frightening. It questions the role of art and humanity in a survivalist world. It weaves the stories of half a dozen separate characters beautifully into an interconnected past-and-present story. It is brutally honest about the frightening aspects of life and human nature, yet so wonderfully hopeful. I can't say enough good things. (And I was really surprised by how differently many of the book club members felt about it!)

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult // Putting this book down proved to be nearly impossible. I've never read Jodi Picoult before, and picked this up without expecting much. I knew there would be a wild twist at the end and spent the entire book trying to guess what it would be . . . and still was totally surprised when I read it. This novel is about a teenage girl who has never stopped searching for her mother, who disappeared under very mysterious circumstances when Jenna was young. She enlists the help of a psychic and a private investigator to help her find her mother. It sounds like a 'who-dun-it,' and is anything but. I loved it.

Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan // I've heard some complaints about this book, that a lot of the material is lifted straight from his stand-up. Luckily, I've heard almost none of his stand-up, so it was all new to me. I listened to the audiobook, and it was goofy and enjoyable, and consistently made me hungry.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight // I listened to the audiobook for this one also. It's the story of a high school student whose impulsive suicide haunts her mother . . . even more so when she begins to suspect that it wasn't a suicide at all. I enjoyed this book, but it really freaked me out. As a mother, this book covered issues that I just do not want to think about. (Although maybe I do, so I can be prepared and teach my kids better?) I don't know. It's upsetting. These are not things I want to ever think about, or potentially have my children face someday. Can my kids just stay babies forever, please? #feels #cryingemoji

The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter's Notebook by Ellen McCarthy // After being more than a little disturbed by Amelia up there, I needed something 100% light and fun. This book delivered. McCarthy shares stories from her years as a wedding reporter for the Washington Post, the many couples she interviewed, and the marital lessons she learned as a result. It's light, funny, and sweet. I enjoyed it.

What did you read this month?

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