Sometimes I find myself in a reading wasteland, when nothing is appealing and I feel a little blah about everything I pick up to read. But then there are those great times when the opposite is true, and I have giant stacks of things on my to-read pile. Lately the latter has been the norm; I’m having a hard time keeping up with my reading stack, and have been enjoying everything I’ve started. Here are a few of my recent picks:
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: It is difficult to describe this novel without giving away the twist, which is revealed fairly early on, but it was still a surprise to me. (If you would like it to remain a surprise, avoid reading the description of the book on Amazon!) The story is about Rosemary, her sister Fern, who was sent away for mysterious reasons during their childhood, their brother Lowell, who is on the run from the FBI, and their parents. The shake up of the family dynamic when Fern leaves has a lifelong effect on the remaining siblings. Years later Rosemary finds herself thinking more and more of her sister, whom she has largely avoided thinking about, and after a surprise visit from her brother Rosemary begins to come to terms with her past.
The Silent Wife: This story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Jodi and Todd, a married couple with some big problems. We know from the start that Todd will be the victim, but Jodi isn’t such a clear-cut villain, and knowing the outcome doesn’t detract from the ending. The characters are simply amazing in their ability to avoid conflict. Although that trait makes them fairly difficult to relate to, their façade is just fascinating.
Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love: Alice returns home to London for the death of her father after another one of her excursions to a far part of the world. Daniel is a homeless man who has spent years searching for his daughter, knowing nothing but her name after his lover leaves him to stay in her marriage. This book also uses alternating chapters to tell Alice and Daniel’s story, and whether they will ultimately connect is the big question of this novel. Poignant is a word that gets tossed around a lot in literary criticism, but in this case it really is the most appropriate word for this story.
You Are One of Them: Those of us who were children in the 1980s surely share a particular kind of memory about the Cold War. My memories are more of the later part of the decade, when glasnost and perestroika were in the headlines, but even I remember the Cold War as something that just kind of loomed over everything during the 1980s. In this novel, two friends write letters to Yuri Andropov asking him to not use nuclear weapons. One of the girls, Jenny, becomes a world-wide celebrity after her letter is published in a Russian newspaper and then becomes an international sensation, while Sarah’s letter is lost to history. Jenny and her family are killed in a plane crash in 1985; Sarah grows up and finishes college and decides to go to Russia after learning that the plane crash was a possible hoax and Jenny may still be alive.
Some people go for breezy beach reads in the summer; apparently I go for dark and thought-provoking. Who else has been reading anything good lately?