Since I’ve graduated, I often find myself with an evening after work with nothing I have to do. It’s pure bliss, and I can’t even express how much joy I have experienced being able to really throw myself into the embrace of books again. Growing up, I read everything from Jane Austen’s novels to Paradise Lost to Wuthering Heights (yes, I love my classics). Since then I feel like I’ve spread my wings a bit, and I’m constantly trying to challenge myself with the types of books I read. Currently, not including the books below, I have a book on personal finance, a book on Catherine the Great, and one on Scottish history that I’m hoping to get to soon. My goal is to read more nonfiction titles, so if anyone has any suggestions, I’d be much obliged! I love a good biography or history book, but in the meantime, this is what I’m reading…
Before We Met
After reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I needed more. I read that book in less than a week, which is something that rarely happens. I’m usually too swamped with other things, not to mention the fact that I can’t seem to limit myself to a couple books at a time. Case in point, I was in the midst of the following books and took a trip to the library last Sunday anyway. I came home with this and four other books, including the one on Scottish history. I’m getting off track (ha…postponed The Girl on the Train pun).
I’m not usually one to read thrillers; I like the classic novels, books that explore human relationships, and, of course, Harry Potter. But there’s something about this style of novel; there’s an element of crazed personality that really drives the story and keeps things moving.
If you haven’t read The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Before We Met (thus far) is about a woman named Hannah who seems perilously perched on the edge of becoming unhinged (not unlike characters in the aforementioned books). And she is dealing with obscure and mysterious threads of information that surround her husband’s recent long weekend “working” in New York City—is he working? Is he cheating? Is he actually in New York? Why do his colleagues all seem to think he was taking her to Rome? Why has money disappeared out her account? Why doesn’t he like to talk about his brother? And why can’t she stop pulling at these threads surrounding Mark’s story and comparing herself to her mother before her father left her? GAH! The suspense is killing me.
I’m about a third of the way through, so no one spoil it for me, please. But I’m starting to think these types of books are what are missing in my life. I need a book that grabs my attention and won’t let go; I love a main character that I can relate to, only to find out that she’s capable of being a tad bit crazy. Whatever that says about me.
This book is taking me longer than I’d like to admit to get through. It’s not that it’s not good or that I’m not enjoying it, it’s just thick. Thick in the sludgy, history-heavy, slow moving, intricate-story way. It’s the antithesis of Before We Met, but I still devour meaty chunks here and there. It’s one of those books that make you feel a bit more in tune with the world—it’s very self-aware.
So the story (so far) of The Dovekeepers is that of four women among the 900 Jews who fled before the Roman army in 70 CE and survived by hiding out in the Judean desert. Here the women’s stories converge as they tend to dovecotes within the camp. We learn about their past lives: where they’re from, the secrets they carry (some literally—I’m looking at you, Yael), and the people they love.
While revealing the intricate threads of these women’s lives, Alice Hoffman really spins an elegant web. There’s a bit of ancient, spiritual magic, a lot of history, and incredibly complex characters. I wouldn’t have expected this book from the author of Practical Magic, but I think I will feel truly accomplished (and probably a bit lighter) when I finish this book.
You can read a review of it here.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, and John Tiffany
I feel like I speak for a lot of people when I say, “I really want to like this.” Harry Potter is my boy; we share a birthday, and I want so much to be carried away by this book/play. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s not really a “book” per se, and it’s not really written by just J.K. Rowling. It’s “based on the original new story by J.K. Rowling” but the play is written by Jack Thorne. And I believe there was a lot of misconception surrounding this when it came out, despite her warning that it wouldn’t be an 8th book like so many of us wanted.
I’m not sure if the authorship is the issue, or if it’s the fact that it’s a play, or if the writing is just not up to par. Whatever it is, I’m having trouble seeing it as a true Harry Potter sequel. I keep thinking, “Harry wouldn’t say that” or “Harry wouldn’t do that.” But yet I continue reading because I have to know how it ends. And maybe it will get better. And articles like this make me think I should continue (beware of spoilers). Either way, I can’t be the only person who doesn’t know what happens in the end. Anyone else in the same boat? Or has anyone finished it? I’m going to read it even if you tell me it’s terrible, but I’d love to hear what others think.
Drums of Autumn
This is what I call my “Train Book.” The copy I have is small, compact, and with me almost every day. Hell, it has to be in order for me to eventually finish this series. Not that I really want to. I don’t want to be done. I don’t ever want to say goodbye to Jamie (and Claire, I suppose). For those who are familiar with the series, however, I’m starting to get worried as they age in the books. I like Brianna Randall (their daughter) well enough, but I’m in constant fear of something happening to Jamie or Claire.
I’m getting ahead of myself though—if you haven’t read this series, I highly suggest it. I’m hesitant about any books that women flock to and salivate over on public transportation (see 50 Shades of Gray), but I’m hooked. It combines everything I love: Scotland, a little bit of mysterious time traveling, hot Scottish men, descriptions of yummy food, believable dialogue, history, and a bit of *ahem*. I shouldn’t even ask this, but if anyone knows of other books that fit these criteria, hook your girl up. I’m ready to fan girl all over that shit.
So, what’s on your reading list this week/month/year? And what’s one book I have to read this year? Comment below so we can all enjoy!