Linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly QuickLit post, where we share “short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately”. I’ll share everything I’ve read over the previous month here right around the end of each month, in the order I finished reading them. I read 11 books this month, some GREAT audiobooks allowed me to knock out more than I would have otherwise.
The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan
Gilly McMillan’s second novel is just as captivating as her first. I couldn’t wait to snag this one from the library and read it in a quick 3 days. Zoe, Lucas, Chris and Maria are a perfect second chance family. But a whole mess of icky lurks under the surface. Zoe and Lucas are piano prodigy children playing a duet concert when a man shows up accusing Zoe of murdering his daughter. Later that night, mom Maria meets an untimely end. We spend this whole novel trying to figure out how Maria dies (revealed in the first chapter or two, no spoilers).
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
I’m so impressed with Backman that he can write from the point of view of an 80-year-old man and then turn around and write his next book from the pov of a 7-year-old girl! Elsa and her grandmother forge their bond through storytelling and fairy tales, so this story also reads like a fairy tale. I don’t know whether to classify it add straight fiction or middle grade or young adult or all three or something completely different. I do know that, in Backman’s style, it is endearing and funny and sweet and a bit sad. and I couldn’t put it down. I used an Audible credit for this (because I loved listening to A Man Called Ove that way) and recommend it in that format.
Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
A three-generation family tale about Sabriti, Bela, and Tara, spanning two continents and 70 years. Beautifully written, this one will be hard to forget. This family comes together and then tears itself apart over and over again. I definitely enjoyed it.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The classic tale about a Spanish shepherd boy that goes to seek his fortune in Africa. I listened to this one as an Audible daily deal and it was read by Jeremy Irons (I think that’s the way to go! his voice is timeless and lovely). Filled with a story you feel you’ve heard before, but also new. Readers seem to fall on one side or the other of this one. Love it or hate it: it’s a classic for a reason.
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
I received this one as a Galley from NetGalley. This is a book written for younger audiences (the main character is 10, but pretty tough themes so I’d say probably 12 and up), but I kind of feel like everyone should read it. Subhi is a 10-year-old boy who was born in a refugee camp and had never known the Outside. We walk through his life and learn about the lives of those around him. This timely story is BASED on refugee campus in Australia but geared toward readers the world over who are facing up to the troubling times we live in. Highly recommended to get anyone started on the road to understanding refugee life and the refugee crisis.
No One Knows by J.T. Ellison
Psychological thriller. I’d liken this one to Gone Girl, which I’ve been hesitant to do, even with the ones that EVERYONE says are like Gone Girl!! Aubrey’s husband Josh has been missing for 5 years and is finally declared dead by the state. Then everything goes wonky. I listened on audio and liked it on that format, but was definitely distracted for parts and so I think I missed some of the nuance and finer details. But I’m sure I’ll find myself recommending it!
After You by Jojo Moyes
I didn’t like this one for at least the first 30% or so. But I know I usually like Jojo Moyes, so I pressed on, and I’m glad I did. She drew it together well and we see some real character development and plot. Not my favorite of hers and I kind of think she should have left Louisa alone, but overall it was decent. If you liked Me Before You, it’s a toss-up as to whether you’ll appreciate this revisiting of the characters.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I’m glad I picked this up again, even though I had previously abandoned it. I understand why the history of Pakistan is included at the beginning, but it just didn’t draw me in like the rear of the book. it felt like something I needed to power through. Malala has definitely led an interesting and powerful life for such a young girl.
I started taking an ASL class this summer because I met a Deaf couple and I will be interacting with them and their kiddos regularly. So glad to have this book available and be able to better understand Deaf culture and the Deaf community through it! I feel like I have so much more to learn but this provides a great window into their world.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This one was also an Audible Daily Deal and so I picked it up because it’s a classic and I’d heard about it MANY times on What Should I Read Next. I figured it might make an engaging listening experience and I was right! A post-apocalyptic classic about a father and his son on the Road, trying to survive in a world that is burned, without animals, without many people, without much food. The writing is fantastic, and the audiobook narrator is perfection. His gritty voice completely brings the man and the boy to life.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book was a total kick in the pants for creativity of any type. I loved Gilbert’s writing and her devotion to the craft and her encouragement for the rest of us. There is big magic out there, enough for all of us. In case you’re curious, my Big Magic happens right here.