What I Read: May 2019

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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!

What I Read: April 2019

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Another semester is done and in the books! It’s a good thing because it really cut into my reading time.

Here’s what I read in April:

  • Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
    A surprisingly calming and meditative book about how messy the world is. No surprise that we feel anxious all the time, given that we live in a garbage fire. Matt Haig presents essays on anxiety (and related topics) along with lists and observations that are poignant and often funny. This is definitely not self-help (that’s a compliment), but it will make you feel a little less alone on this planet.

 

  • Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
    When your brain can’t think anymore, an Hercule Poirot mystery is just what it needs. I’ve already forgotten the entirety of the plot, but I enjoyed reading it. It was like a cup of tea on a rainy day.

 

  • Adele by Leila Slimani
    I loved Slimani’s previous novel, The Perfect Nanny, which is why I grabbed this one from the library. It’s tough to read about someone who is ruining her life because of her sex addiction, but I appreciated Slimani’s depiction of what the depths of addiction really look like. It’s not sexy in the slightest; it’s tragic.
  • Proust and the Reading Brain: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf
    Human brains were never meant to read. That is, our brains didn’t evolve to read; we simply invented reading out of pure ingenuity. And what a wonderful invention that was! I love nonfiction that tells a good story humans, history, and brains. This is a great intro to reading and what wonderful things it does for us and our brains.
  • The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah
    I generally love Sophie Hannah’s books without reservation. This was my least favorite in the series, though. It’s still worth reading if you are committed to reading the whole CID series (as I am). But I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting place. It’s sort of an odd book about a comedian (who doesn’t really seem to be funny) who may or may be targeted by someone who may or may not be murdering pairs of friends. The ending was cartoonish.
  • Our House by Louise Candlish
    I adore family psychological thrillers set in England. This one might be the best I’ve read in that sub-genre for a long time. After separating, Fiona (Fi) and Bram Lawson agree to take turns living in their family home (rather than having their kids moving between house and flat). Everything is going swimmingly until Fi comes home early one day and discovers that Bram has sold the house, taken the two million pounds from the sale, and fled. Subsequent chapters shift between Fi’s story (as told to a podcast) and Bram’s story (as told in what might be a suicide note). I picked up on a few twists early, but the ending was stunning and perfect. I stayed up really late finishing this one.

So that’s April 2019. My favorite book for the month was Our House by Louise Candlish.

Happy reading in May!