I’m happy to report that I definitely feel back on track with my reading and was able to finish six books over the last month, including one re-read (a real rarity)! I have quite a few have-to-read books coming up — complete with deadlines — so I’m glad things are moving along nicely.
I excitedly picked Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie as my Book of the Month in March, but since life gets in the way, I didn’t get a chance to read it until recently. I was so looking forward to it that I chose it as a part of a reading challenge I’m doing with Deanna (who you’ll remember from Gilmore week) now that she’s moved away. It fit perfectly in the “book with a one word title” category.
Queenie is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, where she works at a newspaper. After a recent breakup with her long-term white boyfriend, she’s struggling to cope in a healthy way. She can’t concentrate on her job, and her “getting back out there” has disastrous results.
I recently joined a group of women in my town who were interested in starting a book club. With my other local book club disbanded (due to most of the members moving away), I was excited to have the opportunity to join another, and to be one of the founding members! The woman who brought us all together, Alissa, chose our first book, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See.
My Meetup-based book club really enjoyed Lisa See’s previous novel The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane when we read it last year, so I was looking forward to this one as well! Unfortunately, most of us didn’t finish it in time for the discussion (including me), but I made sure to finish it up afterward. I thought the story was very intriguing.
As you may recall, Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter was one of my favorite books the year I read it. So, naturally, when I heard he was releasing a new similarly thrilling sci-fi novel, I was looking forward to it. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Recursion through NetGalley before its release (though it’s available now; it came out June 11th). And, most importantly, I am so happy to report it lived up to my high expectations!
Just like with Dark Matter, it’s hard to describe Recursion without giving too much away. But here’s what I can tell you: Barry Sutton is a New York City cop who stumbles into an investigation on something called False Memory Syndrome, in which those affected suddenly have a whole set of real, vivid memories from another lifetime; one they haven’t actually lived. Helena Smith is a researcher obsessed with memory. She has dedicated her life to trying to preserve those memories most precious to us, so they never get lost.
Hello again! For those of you who are avid followers of my blog, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been missing these past few months… and you would be right. My posts have been few and far between, and there are a couple reasons for that:
- I went through a period of AMAZING books and then abruptly hit a whole lot of lackluster reads. I started slogging through these 3-star books, missing the glory days of back-to-back-to-back 4- and 5-star reads. And it’s hard to blog about books you’re not interested in, especially when they don’t have any food mentions (which are sort of integral to most of my posts…)
- I found out I’m pregnant. Basically right after SUYB April (the last one I posted), my husband and I got the news and it was a lot to take in. We’re both super excited — and, at this point, have had some time to process and tell people — but in the beginning, I could not concentrate on books. There were a bajillion thoughts running through my head constantly. I was always tired (I kept falling asleep with a book in my lap… or on my face), and I was often nauseated, which made it hard to read (or cook). When I did dive into a book, it was usually a pregnancy-related one, and since I had to keep it all a secret, I could hardly post about those reads. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, here’s what our little announcement looked like:
And, and now that I’m safely in the second trimester, I’m starting to feel much better and am getting back into reading (and cooking). So yay! Without further ado, let’s get into a long-awaited Show Us Your Books!
Valencia and Valentine is a contemporary fiction debut from Suzy Krause that came out just a few days ago. The novel is described as quirky and charming and perfect for fans of Maria Semple, Graeme Simsion, Fredrik Backman and even Gail Honeyman — all of whom I’ve enjoyed. Naturally, with those comparisons, I was excited to have the opportunity to join the blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours!
Ana Johns’ debut novel The Woman in the White Kimono is historical fiction inspired by true stories. It spans decades and continents, taking place in post-WWII Japan and the modern-day United States. I was intrigued by the description and excited to participate in this blog tour.
In the late 1950s in Japan, Naoko has been promised to the son of her father’s business associate but she is in love with another—an American sailor. Though she attempts to get their approval of their relationship, Naoko knows it would bring shame on the family if she decided to marry him. Still, she can’t help but follow her heart. Will the consequences of her decision be something she can live with?
For those of you who don’t know—and I didn’t—Barbara Pym was an English novelist, popular in the 1950s for her social comedies. She is the fifth woman Laura Shapiro discusses in What She Ate, and as such, this is the fifth post in my series about the nonfiction book about food.
Though her novels were not considered highbrow, they developed quite a following and have a beloved place in English culture. Pym wrote about relationships, about village life, and often about the church. She also included a lot of food in her writing, certainly mentioning the bad but more often celebrating the good of English cooking (when no one else was really talking about its positives).
Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, is a tough book to discuss—though we attempted to do just that for my last book club meeting. It was suggested by one of our members last year, shortly after it was released, and when it finally got chosen as our monthly pick, I was looking forward to reading it. It’s a story about sisters, about immigrants, about mental illness. It’s a raw and powerful debut that I can’t recommend enough.
The novel follows two Chinese-American sisters, Miranda the oldest and Lucia the youngest, in the years after their mother dies from cancer. Lucia is adventurous and full of life, and when it’s determined that she has schizoaffective disorder, Miranda does everything in her power to keep Lucia grounded and get her the help she needs.
Welcome to the fourth feature focusing on the women within What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro. This time I’m talking about Eva Braun, one of the more notorious women Shapiro covers in the book.
For those of you who don’t know, Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress (and, at the very end, wife). While Hitler took precautions to appear unattached in public, in private, it was well-known that he was with Eva. She hosted many of the meals at Berghof, a Nazi party retreat in the Bavarian Alps. If you saw my review of The Taster, Berghof will be quite familiar to you.