Thursday, August 8, 2019

Five Faves -- July 2019

Surfacing to share my five favorite reading experiences from the past month ...

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo was everything I wanted and needed it to be.  It included the most moments of heart-bursting joy I've experienced in a book in recent history.  You're invited into the lives of a family over decades.  They are flawed and funny and loving and sometimes selfish and sometitmes lost and it was just wonderful to be there with them for the highs and lows.  Bonus for me was the Chicago/Oak Park setting.  Favorite characters?  Jonah and Wendy.

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Aker is perfect for book clubs.  Anyone who only reads the first quarter or so of the book will be saying how the guy seems okay if only he would stop with all that swiping.  Then, those who read on will be thinking that actually, he's a pretty good dad.  But that mom?!  You'll want to judge that mom.  Keep reading.  Then, you're ready for a really good discussion about marriage, gender, power, societal norms, and more.  Very interesting narrative frame for this novel with Fleishman's college friend connecting the stories.

Call It What You Want by Bridget Kemmerer is a solid and satisfying YA novel.  I've loved all Kemmerer's non-fantasy YA novels (I may indeed love her fantasy ones as well, but I haven't tried them as that's typically not my bag).  It's been almost twenty years since I was a high school teacher so I can't accurately judge how realistic it is for kids on the fringe or the outs (for various reasons) to find each other and connect.  I love the idea of readers seeing more expansive possibilities for friendship on the pages of the books they read -- that's my kind of fantasy, I suppose.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center is a breezy read that still has heft.  I enjoyed Cassie's journey and liked learning about life as a firefighter, the station scene, etc.  This novel is a forgiveness story and we can always use more of those (well, most of us can).  I think I've read all of Center's novels and they are all reliable reads.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is beautifully written.  I listened to the audio version, narrated by the author, and I'm glad I did as his lyrical, poetic style lends itself to being read aloud.  Content wise, this book is not easy to read:  the inheritance of war, abuse, opioid addiction, the loneliness and challenge of the immigrant experience.  There's also love and friendship and some beautiful moments of generosity ... a young man finding his way and his words (and with his words).  Not easy to read but worth reading.

Honorable mentions ....
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey -- There was a time (long, long ago) when I had time to watch rom coms, some of them over and over again.  This book brought me back to that time and I just inhaled it.  Fans of Meg Ryan movies ... treat yourselves!

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle -- I found this thriller via Hoopla Digital and listened for free because my library subscribes.  Couldn't wait to find out how the two women's stories overlapped and didn't find it predictable nor overly twisty (getting weary of books with twist after twist after twist).

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @booksandcarbs), some of these blurbs will sound familiar.  If you don't follow me on Instagram, please find me!