Monday, July 11, 2022

What I Read in Q2 2022

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Looking for a book to read?  Wondering if that frequently talked about book really lives up to the hype?   Well, you've come to the right place.  Today, I'm sharing all the books I read in April, May and June - that's 9 books in total.  There's a good variety as well - a classic, a memoir, nonfiction and, of course, plenty of fiction (including a thriller which, unfortunately, was not very good.)

I've always read what I wanted to read and tend to steer clear of book challenges and the like.  That's me.  But over the past couple of years, I've been trying to read more "classics."  Whenever I come across those book polls asking "How many of these 100 (or 200 or 300) books have you read?", I always go through it and think, "Oh, I should read that one," or "That's on my to-be-read list."  So, anyway, I've been trying to incorporate more classics into my book reading.  And that leads us into April.

I read only ONE book in April.  It was a super long book and April was a super busy month for me.  We went to Florida for vacation during the girls' spring break and because we drove, I detailed the van and packed everything up myself, which took a fair amount of time.  Also, I don't know why I always think I'm going to be able to get a lot of reading done when I'm on vacation with my family because I'm on vacation with my family.  You know, we like to hang out, talk and do stuff together.  This was a Disney vacation no less, so there really was not much downtime, or time for reading.  After our vacation week, I had a big photography gig, which I was behind with in planning, and I volunteered to help coordinate a fundraiser.  So, yeah, there was a lot going on.     

What was the one book I read in April?

Everyone's heard of Gone With the Wind. You may have also seen some negative talk surrounding it as well.  So let's talk about the positives of Gone with the Wind.  Even though it's very long, it held my attention.  The author was a talented storyteller, for sure.  I enjoyed the Civil War historical fiction side to it and how women, through the main character, were portrayed as being able to do more than just swoon and have babies.  

Unfortunately, I found the book to be racist.  Some parts were shockingly racist.  Now I know why the book is often listed as controversial. 


If you're looking for a good book to dig into, I highly recommend We Were the Mulvaneys.  It's on the long side so not a book you'll fly through in a couple of days, but definitely worth your time.  It's the story of a family in Upstate New York in the '70s who kind of had it all until one incident unravels everything and leaves the family broken apart.  The character development was outstanding, and it's really just so well written.  Check it out!


I knew in general of Patty Hearst but not the intimate details so American Heiress was an interesting book to read.  It's nonfiction and the author obviously spent a lot of time in gathering information and researching the specifics.  He does go into a lot of detail and I found the background information he provided with respect to the state of affairs at the time to be helpful. He also takes the position that Patty really did want stay with her kidnappers and wasn't actually brainwashed.  She had plenty of opportunities to escape and the author points all of this out, along with her transformation back to good citizen only after she was arrested. 


When I looked at the description of The Night Shift, I was skeptical but I still opted to read it because I had seen more than one person recommend it.  I, however, do not recommend.  It's a trendy thriller, which you know I love, and it's fast paced and jumps around between characters in order to hold the reader's attention.  This all sounds great, but, unfortunately, I figured out the big surprise ending quite near the beginning of the book.  There were a couple of other twists, which I didn't really see coming, but I felt like the ending was too obvious and that kind of ruined the whole book.  Also, the plot was kind of meh.  In 1999, four teens working the late night shift at a movie rental store are brutally attacked.  Only one survives.  Fifteen years later, an extremely similar crime takes place and characters from the first attack are forced to relive their experiences while attempting to assist in solving both crimes.  



Okay, so let's move on to a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading.  Black Cake is a generational story of a family from a Caribbean island.  Adult siblings, Byron and Benny, uncover surprising family secrets after their parents pass away.  The story flips back and forth between the present and the past, which adds historical fiction into the mix.  For a first novel, the author really knocked it out of the park.  


Verity was my first Colleen Hoover read because she typically writes romance, aka chick lit, and that is a genre I tend to stay away from.  I decided to read this one, however, because everyone is talking about it, and really, curiosity got the best of me.  A struggling author, Lowen. is invited to ghost write the remaining novels in a series by an extremely successful author, Verity, who has been injured in an accident.  While sorting through notes in Verity's home office, Lowen uncovers an unpublished memoir, with shocking confessions, written by Verity.  What should Lowen do with this discovery and what really happened to Verity and her family?

I have to say that this was definitely a page turner, one I struggled to put down.  I think I finished it in 2-3 days.  It's rated R and I'm not sure if all of her books are like that but some of it seemed overkill.  I get why it's there for the plot but, at some point, for me, it became annoying.  Enough already! Can we move on?  I also have questions.  Many, many questions.  Because if you really think about it, you'll find the holes.  Like, wouldn't you know?  Wouldn't someone know!  It ended with me sitting in the mixed feelings camp.



Prior to reading this, I didn't really know much about Jamie Lynn Spears besides the fact that she's Britney's younger sister.  I read this memoir on a whim - it popped up and I thought it could be different/interesting.  It was okay.  At times, I thought she was quick to blame others for things that went wrong and she most definitely threw her parents under bus.  I probably wouldn't recommend it unless you're a fan of hers or a Britney fan, as she does talk about her a sister a bit.  


If you enjoyed reading Station Eleven, check out Sea of Tranquility, the latest by Emily St. John Mandel.  If you haven't read either, what are you waiting for!? Sea of Tranquility is more of a novella and hard to put down, so expect to have it read in no time.  Warning: it does involve time travel.  I know some people just can't wrap their brain around that concept.  At the end of the book, my mind was kind of spinning because there was a lot to think about.



I don't even know where to begin with this one.  For starters, it's extremely well written and most deserving of the Pulitzer Prize it was awarded.  It's a longer book, and one I found myself having trouble putting down.  It spans three generations and flips back and forth between past and present to uncover  family secrets and the genetic history that transform Callie into Cal as a teenager.  As the reader, you have to buy into consenting incestuous relationships, which I had trouble believing/understanding.  I recommend it if you're okay with longer books that aren't full of suspense. 


Hope you found a book (or two or three) to read!

1 comment:

Erin said...

I remember reading Middlesex back in early adulthood and leaving it feeling just kind of confused. I tried one CoHo book (romance is my most read genre, primarily because I require a happily ever after these days) and I found it really frustrating (I read It Ends with us) and just kind of overdone, and not actually that surprising. I am willing to try again, but I doubt Verity specifically would be one I'd actually like, it probably would just anger me :) A few of the other ones you mention here I'll for sure look into!