“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” ― William Faulkner
My To Be Read list is so long that when I started it, I wasn’t smart enough to also note who told me to read each book, so I don’t know who to think for the assortment keeping me entertained the last month. In addition, I have no descriptors, just titles and authors so everything is a surprise! Sometimes I look up a book before adding it to my library holds, but usually, I just roll the dice. You can learn something from everything.
• Daughters of the North, Sarah Hall. This short book (novella?) is set in a dystopian vaguely future time. Because of that, there are obvious comparisons to many other more popular and, in my opinion, more successful books. It felt like there was a long set up with an overly quick conclusion. Or maybe I was not reading carefully enough and the true message is that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey (literally). I was originally very interested in the protagonist, known just as “Sister”, but I was left very much wanting more, and not in the best of ways.
• The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic, Emily Croy Barker. Much like Daughters of the North, I wanted moooooooore. Again, it felt like a big set up with a rushed conclusion and a protagonist who wasn’t as interesting as I wanted her to be past the initial introduction. The cover blurbs talked about a dynamicness of prose that I did not see and implied that there would be a much bigger connection to Pride & Predjudice.
But am I going to read the sequel as soon as it comes out and I can get a copy from the library? Yeah. I’m easy like that. Especially when it comes to magic.
• Soulmates, Jessica Grose. Huh. This book. I kindof want to read it again to see what clues are hiding before the point where I figured out what was happening. While the first two protagonists on this list left me feeling a bit cold and with unanswered questions about their families and friends, I felt Dana and her sister and worklife were a bit more fleshed out. And, not gonna lie, I really want to go to the book’s fancy pants yoga retreat. If you’re into twists and turns, this is the book for you.
And speaking of twists and turns…
• The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins. I recently finally read Gone Girl, sadly already knowing The Big Twist. I had a bit more ignorance with this one, luckily, and wow. It goes way beyond GG and The Woman in Cabin 10 as far as making their unreliable narrators real; heck, I was almost ready to swear off alcohol. Almost (; I made Hampton watch the movie the night after I finished the book, and Emily Blunt was outstanding at capturing Rachel’s damage that was so well described in the book. I really enjoyed how the story was slowly spun out through its multiple timelines, and feel the author did a great job of making you want to follow those lines. It was so hard to put down! So, if like me, you delayed reading this because it was Too Popular, it is popular for a reason and totally worth it.
• Emmy and Oliver, Robin Benway. Unlike The Girl on the Train, which I didn’t want to put down, I had to take taking breaks from this one. Because it is pretty much The Cutest Thing Ever and I didn’t want it to end. Emmy and Oliver is kindof an ABC Family, I mean, Freeform, YA novel. In fact, I really hope someone makes it a movie. I already cast several roles in my head (; Any good author makes you want to be their heroine, and Emmy was charming and awkward and the type of normal kid any girl would want to be. I mean, she even uses The Best Lip Gloss Ever (that I was never without in high school).
If this book had been around 25 years ago, I would have worn a copy out. I still might need to purchase one for myself now. I will definitely be buying one for my niece. It’s the literary coming of age story we all wish we had IRL. Maybe a bit too fluffy and sweet to be real – but also a charming story with no “bad guys”, just… life. But better. With all the stereotypes and cheese of my favorite guilty pleasure TV shows.
I wish I knew who to thank for these recommendations! If it was you, please let me know. I appreciated them all in various ways – some more than others. And how exciting that they were all by female authors! Dystopian, fantasy, thriller, YA romance…. what’s next??
[Please note that none of the above are affiliate links – I’m so not that fancy yet – and everything was checked out from my public library!]