of interest

Show Us Your Books – October 2017

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another edition of Show Us Your Books, where I briefly recap what I’ve read since last time and give you a sneak peak of what I might be reviewing on the blog next. Welcome! Let’s take a quick look at what I’ve read recently.

Linkup Guidelines:
This linkup happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is Tuesday, November 14, 2017.
1. Please visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & Steph
2. Please display the button or link back to me and the linkup hosts on your blog post
3. Please visit a few other blogs who’ve linked up and get some book talk going!

Last Month’s Edition

 

Engrossing Reads

Sourdough – I didn’t hesitate to grab this book when it came out because a) it was from the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and b) it was about the world of food. When Lois unexpectedly gets stuck with a sourdough starter, she discovers a skill she didn’t know she had, and as the starter takes on a life of its own, her life is transformed as well. It was absolutely an engrossing read, quick and fun. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a bit of an escape, especially if you’re a foodie. 🙂

The Red Tent – This was recommended to me after I read Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl, so I picked up a copy at the library book sale in the spring, and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since. I finally picked it up, and I’m glad I did. I thought historical fiction taking place in biblical times – the main character, Dinah, and her family are literally in the Bible – would be hard to get through, but Diamant’s writing style is engaging from the start. The story she told was one of several very strong women, and I found myself enthralled.

Behind Her Eyes – As a thriller, this book almost automatically belongs in this category. It wasn’t my favorite, but it did keep me turning the page, and for the day and a half that I read it, I was engrossed. I stayed up late in an attempt to finish it Sunday, accidentally fell asleep and then woke up early to finish it on Monday morning. I did not see the ending coming; I thought it was set up well and cleverly done.

Passed the Time Just Fine

Exit West – This is at the top of the category this month because it was on the cusp for me, maybe a 3.5/4 star book. Almost a novella, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is the story of a young couple trapped in a turbulent country and their journey to safety. It was nominated for numerous awards and is probably obviously really well-written and clever in its devices.

East of Eden – After hanging out in my “Currently Reading” for the past two months, I finally finished John Steinbeck’s novel! I felt like it was a touch too much like reading for school and because it was so long, I got a little cranky about needing to finish it before moving on to something else, which didn’t earn it any love. That being said, the characters were extremely well-developed and I can see why people love it. For me, though, it was just fine.    

Bread & Wine – A new co-worker brought me this essay collection one day after learning how much I enjoyed reading and eating. A super quick read, I gobbled it up last weekend. It was full of wonderful stories about friendship, community, and of course, food. Almost every chapter included a recipe, and all of them sounded delicious.

Mad Girl – I read this memoir for my office’s Diversity Book Club, chosen to spark conversation about mental health since the first week of October is Mental Health Awareness Week. The subject matter is so deeply personal to the author and her struggles come through the page. That being said, I didn’t think she crafted the most cohesive story and it was a bit of a chore to get through. I definitely appreciate it for telling a hard truth, but I’ve read other books on the subject that I’ve gotten more out of. Mad Girl falls somewhere between this category and Not Worth It.

The Kitchens of the Great Midwest – I didn’t hate this book, probably because of all the food references and occasional recipe, but I definitely didn’t love it. The blurb was extremely misleading (in my opinion), and so this book was not what I expected at all. I didn’t find it heartwarming, and I thought some of the connections between characters felt contrived and/or out of place, making some chapters weaker and less enjoyable than others. It should maybe be in the Not Worth It category, but the food-centric theme is keeping it up here.

 

Not Worth It & Did Not Finish

None this month!

 

Currently Reading

The Refrigerator Monologues – I haven’t gotten really into this yet, but I’m excited about to dive in. I first heard about it on an episode of All the Books (source of many of my book recommendations, as you’re probably aware), and I got excited about the combination of feminism and superheroes. It’s pretty short, so it should be a quick, fun and hopefully thought-provoking read.

What did you read this month? Which books did you enjoy most? Least? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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27 Comments

  • Reply Brittany Pines October 10, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Loved The Red Tent! I was a bit hesitant too (Christian, and Biblical fiction is, well, complicated for me) but it was such a great story.

    • Reply Megan October 10, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Brittany, have you read any of her other books? I really enjoyed The Boston Girl. Would be interested in reading more from her.

  • Reply SMD October 10, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I am decidedly NOT a Steinbeck fan.

    The Red Tent is one of my favorite reads ever. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply kristen October 10, 2017 at 11:38 am

    glad you liked Sourdough! i got it from book of the month but i haven’t gotten to it yet. i also got Exit West from botm lol and also haven’t gotten to it. your office’s book club sounds really awesome. wish my office had something like that but i seriously don’t think anyone in my company reads. and yeah.. not even kidding.

    • Reply Megan October 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      I didn’t get Sourdough from BOTM, but when I saw it on the list, I immediately requested it from the library. It’s not life-changing, by any means, but wonderfully entertaining and unique.

      It took me a while to get to Exit West too. (I didn’t get it from BOTM either, but picked it up from the library…I see a pattern here, though I do love BOTM! I got 3 books this month – yikes!) It was less intense than I expected it to be, but I think a lot of that can be owed to the writing style.

      You’d be surprised who comes out of the woodwork for an office book club! I’ve been surprised at the people who joined. Maybe put out some feelers and see if there’s any interest. Our company sponsors ours (and buys the books) in an effort to promote diversity and courageous conversations, as they call them, but that’s not to say you couldn’t enjoy a lively conversation with a few interested co-workers over a potluck lunch!

  • Reply ShootingStarsMag October 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Glad to see there were no “do not read” selections this month. I love Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck and I don’t like Grapes of Wrath. haha Those are the only ones I’ve read by him though.

    -Lauren

    • Reply Megan October 10, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      There were definitely some narrow escapes in that category! I also didn’t mind OMAM, but Grapes of Wrath was a bear! Both were required reading in school, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with people’s opinions of him overall! It certainly shaped my thoughts when I went to pick up East of Eden.

  • Reply Amber October 10, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I’ve heard such good things about The Red Tent that I’ve got to put it on my Goodreads list!

    • Reply Megan October 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Do it! It seems intimidating, but I think it’s very worth it. It goes by much quicker than you’d think. 🙂

  • Reply Nancy @ NY Foodie Family October 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I am such a foodie and love food-related books. I am going to have to check out Sourdough. I thought Behind Her Eyes was a pretty good read. Wasn’t expecting that ending.

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:45 am

      I know! The end was completely unexpected. I feel like it might make a cool movie.

  • Reply Tanya @ A Mindful Migration October 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I loved Behind Her Eyes and bowed down to Pinborough’s genius. I even reread it and it really stood up to the twist. Sourdough sounds fantastic and I’m adding it to my TBR. I consider myself to be a foodie, although I’m trying to lose some weight so I’m not sure if now is the best time to read books where food plays a big role. LOL!

  • Reply Jana @ Jana Says October 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I did not love Exit West but I get all the award nominations its receiving. It was bizarre and unique and the writing really is quite good. But something about it didn’t click for me.

    Fun fact: The Red Tent was the first book I DNF’d guilt free.

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Jana, that’s an excellent way to describe Exit West. I felt the same way. The door thing was interesting, but so so weird.

      Sorry, you didn’t like the book but glad to hear you DNF’d guilt free 🙂 I just did that with a book last night… I had too many other ones I was excited to tackle!

  • Reply Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders October 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I’m a sucker for historical fiction, but I didn’t know how I would feel about a biblical retelling either. I really enjoyed The Red Tent as well, and I totally need to her other books!

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Try The Boston Girl!

  • Reply Elizabeth October 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    So many here that I’ll be adding to my list to read or at least check out. I try to make time for a classic every few months – but since I’m no longer reading for a grade, I don’t feel bad about DNF’ing them now.

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Classics can be tough! I don’t read as many as I like, but I also sometimes find them hard to get through… I don’t like reading to be a chore.

  • Reply Confuzzled Bev October 11, 2017 at 7:45 am

    I hadn’t heard of Sourdough yet. It’s now gone straight onto my list.

    I have East of Eden to read and I am not looking forward to it. Ha.

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Ha, East of Eden has been sitting on my shelf since 2014… I picked it up to read in August and finally finished it 6 weeks later. It took a lot of dedication to get through, but at least it’s over now!

  • Reply Alexandra Consolver October 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Gosh, I am one of the few who really did not like Mr. Penumbra’s. Ugh. I just couldn’t enjoy it. So I think I’m going to skip Sourdough.. but I am glad that you liked it! 🙂 I want to read The Red Tent and East of Eden (someday). I loved Of Mice and Men, I struggled with The Grapes of Wrath (longest book everrr). I am interested in checking out The Refrigerator Monologues. My husband told me about that concept a while back and I find it really interesting. Excited to experience this POV. XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Since I published this, I actually DNF’d Refrigerator Monologues. The concept was definitely interesting, but I don’t think the execution was for me, unfortunately. Hope you like it if you give it a try!

  • Reply Audrey October 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    The Red Tent sounds really good. I love historical fiction but I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel set in biblical times! I will check that one out!

    • Reply Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      I hope you enjoy it, if you do! Thanks for stopping by the blog 🙂

  • Reply Morgan October 14, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I have been wanting to read a thriller this month. Behind her Eyes sounds like a good choice. Too bad Great Kitchens of the Midwest wasn’t what you expected. That reminds me of my book post from last month when I read The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life. It was different from what I expected too. Have you seen the movie East of Eden?

    • Reply Megan October 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Behind Her Eyes would be a good choice, though it’s not a traditional page-turner thriller in my opinion. Another set of creepy books you might want to check out would be Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. You don’t need to read them in order, but (first one) In the Woods is great and probably the creepiest of the ones I’ve read.

      I haven’t seen the East of Eden movie. I didn’t even know there was one! Is it any good?

  • Reply Pam October 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    I enjoyed both Bread & Wine and Behind her Eyes. Sourdough is on my tbr list. Right now I’m reading The Almost Sisters and The Last Neanderthal. Pam

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