Reading Next

The White TigerA student recommended this book to me years ago. I diligently bought it and then never read it. Time to rectify this oversight!

Here’s Amazon’s description:

“The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.”

What I Read: June 2019

June 2019.png

I have no real definition of a “summer read.” Whatever I happen to read is a summer read to me. But I do find that in the summer, I read a wider variety of genres. I hop from one to the other and back again, which feels like a far richer experience.

Here’s what I read in June:

  1. Less by Andrew Sean Greer
    Arthur Less, an author of limited renown, receives an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Instead of going, he decides to accept every other invitation he’s received. While traveling the world, he turns fifty and figures out his life isn’t over yet. This novel is gentle, charming, and satisfying.
  2. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
    College friends meet up for a New Year’s getaway at a remote estate in Scotland in the midst of a storm. Like any good homage to Agatha Christie, one friend ends up dead. Which person is the victim? Who is the killer? An intriguing locked-room mystery with plenty of cold weather to counteract the summer heat.
  3. The Killer You Know by S.R. Masters
    I checked this book out of the library because I thought it was something else, but I ended up reading it anyway. Childhood friends meet up as adults (for New Year’s–I’m sensing an accidental theme in my reading). When Will doesn’t show up, other three friends remember that he once told them he was going to murder three people and nobody would ever know it was him. They start digging and discover that maybe Will has already killed twice. They have to stop him before he gets to three. Of course, nothing is quite as it seems.
  4. The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
    This book is terrifying. I’m glad I read it, though, and not just because Lewis is an incredible reporter and writer. It’s a great resource for learning about what U.S. federal government agencies do. (Answer: a whole lot.) The Trump administration, in typical fashion, has either filled agencies with unqualified people who are destroying years of important work (either by design or by incompetence), or the departments are just languishing with nobody at the helm. It turns out that I can still be surprised by how many ways the Trump administration is destroying America.
  5. Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly
    Billed as a psychological suspense novel, Stone Mothers is about a woman who is still reckoning with decisions she made as a teenager. Told from different voices in different time periods, the narrative weaves threads of a mystery into a larger commentary about mental health treatment.
  6. The Remains of the Day by Kizuo Ishiguro
    I read this years ago, but I decided to re-read it after seeing it on a list of summer reading for AP English. I’m not sure I would have appreciated this as a teenager. It’s quietly brilliant because it’s so contemplative. As a high school reader, I would have been too focused on finding the plot. It’s a lovely portrait of a middle-aged man, Stevens, taking a motoring trip to visit a former friend while he reflects on his life as a butler and his work supporting a so-called great man.

My favorite book of June was, hands-down, The Remains of the Day.

Happy Reading in July!

Currently Reading: The Killer You Know

I’m on full-on summer reading mode, which means I binge on psychological thrillers.

I’m currently reading The Killer You Know by S.R. Masters. It’s sufficiently plot-twisty with an original story line, which is saying a lot. When you read a lot of thrillers, they start to blend together. I particularly like the shifting narrators and time periods in this one.

The Killer You Know

 

From the publisher:

“What if your childhood friend turned out to be a serial killer? After fifteen years apart, a group of friends discover that one of them might be resurrecting a game from their past. This time with deadly consequences.”

This Week in TV: Chernobyl (and a book recommendation)

I only sort of remember when the Chernobyl tragedy happened. Seeing it come to life in HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries is definitely going to give me nightmares. But it’s still worth watching.

I’m off to find good books to supplement my viewing experience.

In the meantime, my favorite book about  radioactivity is The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French. It’s tender, warm, and funny. In fact, I may re-read it as an antidote to the relentless bleakness of Soviet bureaucracy in Chernobyl.

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

From the publisher:

“Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs. In 1953, the good doctor gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent, and Marylou has been plotting her revenge ever since. When she discovers his whereabouts in Florida, she hightails it to Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where he resides with his daughter, Caroline, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into his life. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she’s stumbled into. Spriggs is senile, his daughter’s on the verge of collapse, and his grandchildren are a mess of oddballs, leaving Marylou wondering whether she’s really meant to ruin their lives … or fix them.”

What I Read: May 2019

May 2019.png

Here’s what I read last month:

  1. Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
    Messed-up parents mess up their adult child who then messes up other people. Good mystery with some interesting characters and plot turns.
  2. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
    Sleeping for a year won’t fix your life, but if you are rich and beautiful, you can give it a try. Thoughtful meditation on depression and trauma with one of the most truly unlikable narrators I’ve encountered in a long time.
  3. The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
    A wife tries desperately to make her husband’s mother like her. It all ends terribly, but it’s an interesting journey.
  4. A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson
    Mothers have hidden layers; so do daughters.
  5. The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
    You might be able to steal your sister’s life, but that doesn’t mean you should. Good psychological novel.
  6. The Position by Meg Wolitzer
    Parents who write an extremely popular (and illustrated) sex manual should probably just keep that from their kids.
  7. Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
    We may be able to create synthetic humans that are better than us, but they’ll make stupid decisions and end up being worse than humans. Good literary sci fi with a neat alternative timeline.

My favorite for the month of May was The Position. I always forget what a virtuoso writer Meg Wolitzer is.

Happy reading in June!