It, by Stephen King: I decided to read It after loving On Writing…I kind of got the idea in my head that I would maybe read through all of Stephen King’s books. I downloaded it for Audible and thus, didn’t realize what a monster it was (over 1,000 pages). I enjoyed it, but I did think it could have been edited down by about a quarter (or more). Aside from the unnecessary length, it was really a great book. I always knew of It as being about the scary clown, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. What stuck out the most was how much it was about childhood. Childhood friendships, childhood fears, childhood versus adulthood and how we change. Many scenes took place in the woods when the group were children – playing, building things, fighting with a rival group…it reminded me of that movie Now and Then almost.
This Was Not the Plan, by Cristina Alger: Loved this book! A perfect summer read. Easy to get through, interesting story, likable main character that you cared about, and enough to it that it didn’t feel vapid or anything. The story centers on a single dad who’s very successful until something happens at work and he needs to reprioritize things. Well-written and engaging – I definitely recommend this one.
The Admissions, by Meg Mitchell Moore: This was another one I really enjoyed. It’s about a family in California who seem pretty normal and simple from the outset, but as the story progresses you see that they’re all cracking under all of these crazy pressures – the daughter trying to get into Harvard, the mom trying to maintain a career and the family, the dad I won’t say because I don’t want to ruin it. I really enjoyed following their stories and it actually felt very true to life. The author created scenarios and situations that could have felt trite or formulaic, but she made them feel real, unique, and original. Their were parts that were funny and found it charming and surprising at times. Another one I definitely recommend, and a good summer read.
Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coban: Meh. This was just okay for me. Nothing wrong with it, but I wasn’t super into the military angle that shaped the main character and the whole thing felt really far-fetched to me. That said, it was a fine thriller and I didn’t guess the outcome or anything (but that’s not saying much, I rarely do!). If you’re into thrillers this one isn’t bad, I just think you could do better.
The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman: – Absolutely amazing. This is one of my favorite books of all time, possibly. A truly heart wrenching story that kind of tears you in two – you can really see both sides. It’s about a lighthouse keeper and his wife – they live on an isolated island, and one day a baby washes up on shore…I don’t want to give anything away, but there are major emotional consequences and it all felt very real and believable. It was beautifully written. It’s going to be a movie with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander soon (real life couple alert!), and I cannot wait. I think that’s perfect casting and I can’t wait to see this wonderful book come to life. It’s going to take some serious acting chops!
The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: Very much meh. This got so much hype but it turned out to be pretty mediocre in my eyes. It just wasn’t very meaty – there were a lot of characters and you didn’t get deep into any of their heads or their situations. The story felt kind of thin, I didn’t care about any of the characters, and the book was billed as being about a super dysfunctional family but they didn’t even seem that dysfunctional to me. They didn’t feel real to me either, and overall the story just wasn’t that interesting. It was fine, just not great.
Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld: Liked this a lot. It was fun to read a re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice and see it updated for the modern day. I’m definitely not a Jane Austen scholar by any stretch so I can’t really compare the two, but I found this enjoyable. I did think the end could have been a little stronger but throughout I kept looking forward to coming back to it, which I think is as good an endorsement as any!
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