Monday, April 13, 2020

Stuff I Like: Thank God For Books.

Marianne and I were chatting the other day about how weird we think it is that people keep posting on social media about being "so bored" while quarantined. Obviously I get that things are weird and sucky right now and I am cranky more often than not, but bored? Y'all. I have nature, bikes, endless TV, the Internet and, most importantly, BOOKS. I've always been a reader and now more than ever. How can anyone be bored when there are books to be read? Here's what I've been reading lately:



The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Overall I enjoyed reading this and the three intertwined narratives kept the story moving along but I'm not sure I loved it? The Handmaid's Tale was profound and terrifying, this one just seemed to overlap the  direction the TV show has taken, which I found an odd choice (I guess to loop in fans of the show who haven't read the book?) It also had a couple of characters that felt really flat and one dimensional to me. Overall it was compelling and tied up the overall story in a satisfying manner, but I can't help feeling it should have been...better. (Just me?)



The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Woof, this one was heavy. I've read a few other books by Sarah Waters and enjoy her moody, gothic, sexy stories and this one was pretty compelling. I'm not going to spoil it with too much detail but it's one of those stories that spirals down into a dark place and you end up not being sure who you can trust. It's engrossing and dark but also stressful and tense? I know, sorry! Anyway, I am glad I read it but decided I needed a palate cleanser:



Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan is who I read when I need a comforting book that's not challenging in any way. I read the first book in the Rosie Hopkins series a few months ago, and decided to read the second one now, since I just read two dark-and-tense books back to back. This is not my favorite series by Jenny Colgan but it'll do just fine for now, because the next book I'm reading is The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

If you want more book recs, I've talked about some of my favorites here, here, here and here.

And please leave a comment and tell me what you're reading and what book you gave up on in disgust because I truly believe life is too short to read books you don't love.

21 comments:

  1. Currently Reading: The Witch Elm, by Tana French; The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, Middlemarch by George Eliot, and Scatter, Adapt, and Remember by Annalee Newitz

    I might have put Windup Girl down in disgust if I wasn't reading it for a podcast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Witch Elm is the only one on your reading list that I've read. It was good, but nothing was as good as her first couple of books.

      Delete
    2. I'm supremely irritated by the main character right now. We'll see. In the Woods remains one of the best books I've read.

      Delete
  2. I just read No Judgments by Meg Cabot. It is one of her few adult romance novels and I really liked it. Just a light bit of fluff which is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for. I can’t really handle anything heavy or thought provoking right now, just silly romantic comedies thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will check her out! I am really trying to balance serious books with fluff.

      Delete
  3. I am finding it hard to strike a balance between fluffy and serious. I really like Jenny Colgan because she is sweet and funny but also touched by reality. I mean, people die occasionally in her books! I just finished Joanna Trollope's Mum and Dad, which hit the sweet spot for me. The Women of Copper Country was excellent historical fiction, and The Heirs by Susan Rieger had smart people, love, money, and betrayal. I wanted to like The Book of Speculation (compared to the Night Circus), but it was just too consciously fey and gothic. Next in line is The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny Colgan is reliable, right? And I am going to have to check out your list, thanks!

      Delete
    2. Roberta, have you read The Starless Sea? Erin Morgenstern's second book and it's SO GOOD that when I finished it I started it over right.then. (Now I want to read Night Circus again, since I'm thinking about it now ...)

      Delete
  4. I’m reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. It’s a good time. I tried to read American Royals, but it felt like a too serious CW teen drama.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am also reading The Southern Book Club Guide and I recommend it.

      Delete
  5. I’m reading one of the Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson and have the first Maisie Dobbs book lined up next. I really want to read the Nickel Boys but I’m not sure I can handle it right now. I recently re-read the first Veronica Speedwell book by by Deanna Raybourn (I can never remember if her last name is -ourn or -orn) and enjoyed it, though not as much as the first time around. I trudged through The Witch Elm earlier this year but did not enjoy it one bit. I was trying to read some “classics” earlier this year and abandoned Marjorie Morningstar half way through. It really bugged me that Wouk kept referring to one character as “the fat girl.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the key to Tana French for me is that I have to really like at least one of the main characters. The Witch Elm failed this test!

      Delete
    2. I'm circling back here. I finally finished The Witch Elm and I kind of can't stop thinking about it. I think I might have actually liked it, which I didn't see coming. It's a really good illustration of privilege, imo.

      Delete
  6. Station 11 is realllly good and timely, and I also enjoyed the Terranauts. In the absence of new Tana French books I have been Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway and Magic Men series, both solid and give you your fix of UK police procedure/lingo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If y'all read Station Eleven you should listen to my friends and I gab about it on our podcast! Look for Hugo, Girl! wherever you listen. (Shameless plug over.)

      Delete
    2. I love the Ruth Galloway books. Soo good! I haven't been able to settle to read much lately. But have read several books By Nina Stibbe during lockdown and they are just the right thing for this. Light, funny and just rather delightful day in the life books.

      Delete
  7. I also like reading! Just with a newborn it is not very possible at the moment. I am enjoying shows that the hosts are joining via webcam. CTV's The Social you can see episodes online and it is all ladies in their forties with diverse views.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I finally finished Pachinko and did not love it. Listening to the bedtime stories on the Calm app each night has been a nice bedtime treat.

    I tried an old teen vampire series, Marked - but nope. Total snooze fest.

    I just started Nothing to See Here audio book on my Libby app. I will report back. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally gave up on Pachinko - it just wouldn't end.

      Delete