The days of me being able to read outside on my deck are back, and honestly, it just makes me so much happier. It’s so relaxing to sit outside with my cappuccino and just totally lose myself in a book. And you can tell, because I read twice as many books this month as I did last! I’ve also been better about reading at least a few pages each day, rather than turning on the TV.
Here’s what I read over the last month!
The One by John Marrs
This book was so interesting – I finished it within a day! It’s also a Netflix show, and I wanted to make sure that I read the book before I started the show. It follows a number of people who have been “matched” by a company who claims to be able to find your genetic soulmate. It’s such a fascinating concept – I don’t want to spoil anything so I don’t want to comment on any specific people matched, but I highly recommend!
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started this book, other than the fact that it was really highly reviewed. Basically, it’s a fictional take on what led to the writing of the play Hamlet – apparently, the names Hamlet/Hamnet were basically interchangeable, and Shakespeare had a son by that name who died a year before the play was written. But the book is actually centered around Shakespeare’s wife, Agnes, and her life. Honestly, you could read it without even knowing it was about Shakespeare at all. It really, really drew me in and hooked me.
We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop
I really loved this book. It follows a woman who is a professional skiier until her world is rocked by a personal crisis involving her sister and she runs away to Buenos Aires to escape her former life. There’s also a love triangle of sorts, and some dark secrets involving her sister. It takes a while for everything to unravel, which I really enjoy when I’m reading… it takes a while for all the puzzle pieces to fit together, but when it does start to, it all makes sense.
We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida
I really like stories about friendship, and this was no exception. It’s about two teenage girls (part of a larger friend group of course) who are the best of friends until they disagree on something that happens to them, and one of them finds themselves iced out. The other friend then mysteriously disappears, and is found later after claiming to have been kidnapped, but her friend suspects that’s not the case. It’s all about friendship and finding yourself and your identity, and it really paints such a vivid picture. It’s hard to describe because I don’t want to spoil it, but I really liked it.
The Smash-Up by Ali Benjamin
This one is also hard to describe, but really timely and impactful. It follows a family – a husband and wife and their daughter – who have moved to a small town. On the surface, things are fine, but under the surface, they’re each struggling in their own way, and each finding it difficult to understand and connect with each other. The wife, in particular, is struggling to be at peace with everything going on politically/socially in the world. The book starts “later” in time, and then you go back and figure out how they ended up at the point at which the book started.
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
It took me a while to get into this book, but I ended up really really liking it. Chapters shift time period and points-of-view, but eventually you realize you’re reading about one single family, just across years and family members. It’s more character driven than plot driven, I would say, and is about how families can drift apart and come together, how they deal with tragedies and celebrations. There was one particular moment where I actually said “Oh!” out loud because something finally clicked. It’s a really beautiful story.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
I’m torn on this book. On one hand, it’s fascinating to learn about the plastic surgery in Seoul – it’s something I don’t know a whole lot about, and it’s such a different industry there than it is here. And it also is about a group of female friends, who each get their own chapters and storylines. But some of it seemed kind of… surface-y to me, and I just never really felt like I got to know any of the characters well enough. I just didn’t love it.
I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich
This was a friend’s recommendation, and I loved it. It’s written by (and about) the woman who basically invented the personal shopping department at Bergdorf-Goodman. I loved learning about her life, and her work, and how she helped people find confidence and comfort through their wardrobe.
Girl A by Abigail Dean
Oh wow – this book! It is so twisty turny and so so good. It’s about a family that’s in the news for escaping from their parents, who had them held captive in their house. They’re in the news/in trial, where the main character is “Girl A.” It’s about her life, and her siblings, while they were living with their parents, and how their childhood trauma affected them for years later. It’s certainly not a light read, but it’s gripping and so good.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
This is also not a light read – it kind of felt like a gut-punch at times – but I think it’s really good. It’s about a queer, Black man who is working on his PhD and really struggling. It’s about finding your place, and yourself, and how baggage from your childhood can really stick with you even when you’ve moved on and away. It’s another one that’s less plot driven and more internal, and it’s really stuck with me since I read it.