Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quick Lit -- Autumn Edition

For lack of a better organizing principle, I present the best books I've read and remembered to photograph in October and November.

Paula McLain's Circling the Sun:  Even though I really liked McLain's The Paris Wife, I was planning to take a pass on Circling the Sun.  The buzz words Kenya and pilot and horses just didn't do anything for me.  It was a book club selection so I went ahead and read it -- no regrets there!  I admire McLain's writing (and research) and ended up fascinated by the Kenyan setting and intrigued by the singular Beryl.  Parts of the story seemed underdeveloped to me (the Beryl/Denys relationship, for example) but that may because I felt so immersed in the story that I was eager for even more.  I now want to read West into the Night (Markham's memoir) and Out of Africa (an account of a relationship that is also a part of Circling the Sun).  I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, which means I "really liked" it. 

I Was a Child by Bruce Eric Kaplan:  This memoir is a very speedy read and one that I "really liked" (4 stars on Goodreads).  Kaplan captures his childhood with a collection of memories, snippets, moments ... often accompanied by illustrations.  It was a refreshing change from the (often self-aggrandizing) "trials to triumph" arc that so many memoirs fall into.  Sharing some sections of Kaplan's memoir (or even the whole thing as it is short) might inspire some quality personal narrative from writing students.

Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen:  Elizabeth Von Arnim's The Enchanted April is just a gem of a book (and should be either free or 99 cents as an ebook) about happiness and the way our thoughts shape our world and experience.  I was eager to see Bowen's revision of this classic.  Nothing will measure up to the original, but Enchanted August was engaging and even enchanting.  I was lucky enough to read it on a long weekend getaway that my husband, kids, and I took to nearby New Buffalo, MI.  It's a perfect vacation read.  I didn't give it a Goodreads rating because sometimes I just don't.

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks:  Mothers, daughters, teenage baggage, road trip, regrets.  This book would be perfect for book clubs.  Short and easy to read.  Plenty to talk about.  Four stars.

Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell:  Angela Thirkell books are exactly my cup of tea.  I think I've read five of them this year, and Pomfret Towers is my favorite.  No one captures human nature with humor and also affection like Thirkell does -- an early 20th century British house party is the ideal setting to display it all.  Five stars (for me -- you might be bored or unimpressed).

After You by Jojo Moyes:  I'll just say it.  I gave the book 4.5 stars.  I really liked the book, and I really love the characters I first met in Moyes' bestselling, book club bonanza-ing Me Before You.  Sure, this one doesn't pack the same emotional punch, but how could it?  Did we expect Louisa to become intensely emotionally involved with another man who is contemplating euthanasia?  I thought Moyes did a fantastic job of giving us the what then and what next of Louisa's story.  There was a rooftop scene that really touched me.  Good tears, people, good tears.  Very satisfying read.  Door is totally open for a third book, and I'd walk in for sure!

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway:  This YA title was a solid read.  Some good parent/child dynamics to discuss and a cool but unsettling premise (a kidnapped child returns to his family and life many years later).

One more title to mention, though I neglected to photograph it:  Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin.  Fantastical but fun, fast, and enjoyable!  Kind of a steamy read in a good (not icky) way.

I'd love to know what your best autumnal reading experience have been this year ...
Need more books for your TBR list?  Check out the link-up at Modern Mrs. Darcy, the Quick Lit Hostess with the Mostest.  

1 comment:

  1. The only book, outside of text books, that I read this fall was After You. I enjoyed it.....not as much as the first, of course, but I love Louisa and was really excited to read more. Bring on the third installment!!