Showing posts from May, 2018

Weekend reads, May 18

My weekend read is In the Distance with You by Carla Guelfenbein, a literary thriller set in Chile inspired by Clarice Lispector. It has a delicious opening line -- "Somewhere on the planet, there was someone responsible for your death." -- and I can't wait to settle in tonight for a good long read.

 What are you reading this weekend?

Top Ten Reads of 2017

In 2017 I read 40 books, and while it's on the leaner side (compared to the years I was aiming for 200+!), it felt like the first year I was really back into reading in a way I hadn't been since I was pregnant in 2014.

I got much closer to my goal of being a free-range reader in 2017, but I still struggled with balancing reading with other activities, and more importantly with regards to this blog, writing about my reads. (Here I am, almost halfway through 2018, and I'm seriously behind on reviews. Ugh!)

In 2017, thirty-four of all the authors I read were women. Seven were authors of color. Four of my reads were audiobooks, which is a first for me! I managed two non-fiction reads: one a memoir, the other a food/how-to guide. Twenty-four of my reads were 2017 releases.

As always, my top ten reads for the year were books that delighted me upon reading and have lingered with me after. All are books I've recommended multiple times and/or won't shut up about. Only one …

Wordless Wednesday, May 9

My Wordless Wednesday: a snapshot of my morning.

Book Review: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

First line: --Central, this is Lapetus. Target in sight.

This is the final novel in the Themis Files trilogy (I reviewed the previous two novels, Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods.) 

I'm not going to summarize the plot because I don't want to end up spoiling anything. As a concluding novel, it did everything I needed a final book to do: wrapped up plot threads, answered the mysteries, and provided some final flash bang.

As with his previous novels, I think some of Neuvel's characterizations are thin -- no doubt because the story is told through transcripts and journal entries -- and it left me a little impatient with the story.

These were fast reads, so if you want a Michael Bay-esque summer action flick in a book, this trilogy will do it.

Title:Only Human
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Fiction (Sci Fi / Speculative / Mecha / Aliens / Parenthood / Social Commentary / Warfare)
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey (5/1/2018)
Source: Edelweiss

Book Review: Eventide by Therese Bohman

First line: The subway car was packed and she had to stand from Slussen to Östermalmstorg, crammed between people who all seemed to be sweating.

I didn't think I'd so enjoy a book that details the angst of being 40ish and uneasy about one's life. But Bohman's slender novel and her cerebral, melancholy heroine Karolina, are touching, familiar, and wryly funny.

This is a familiar story, but still feels fresh and vibrant. Karolina is 40-ish and newly separated, a decision that she agonizes over. Living alone, she relishes the freedom even as she doubts her own decisions. When her charming graduate student's research reveals an exciting, forgotten female artist, there is the promise of something more.

Bohman's narrative style, as translated by Marlaine Delargy, is both grounded and ethereal: we experience Karolina's grimy commutes through the city as well as float with her during her lofty, meandering ruminations. It's a think-y kind of novel that doesn…

Book Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

First line: The new doctor took her by surprise.

This book is my catnip: Victorian, gothic, haunted house slash ghost story maybe slash unreliable narrator, plus mysterious deaths and creepy countrysides and, well, this read did not disappoint.

I loved it.

Elsie is a young widow, mere months into her marriage. Her husband died under mysterious circumstances at his family's decrepit country estate and Elsie must go there for his burial, accompanied by a mousy cousin-in-law, Sarah. She finds The Bridge, as the house is called, in shambles, with an clumsy, unprofessional staff surrounded by hostile villagers. She also finds a home, and family, steeped in tragedy.

I don't want to say too much more lest I giveaway a small but meaningful detail, but needless to say, Purcell creates a story with all the shiver-inducing details one wants in a creepy gothic-y horror. Nothing can be trusted: not people, not one's senses, not history, not place.

The title's silent companions are …