Reading isn’t optional for me. It’s a must. People ask, “How do you make time to read?” My reply: It’s easy. I make the time because it matters to me. Books matter to me. And when things are a priority to you, you tend to make the time.
(I remember a few years back I would use “I just don’t have time” as my excuse for not why I didn’t work out. I was lying. I had PLENTY of time. I just didn’t want to do it.)
I like talking about books. I like hearing what others thought about the book they just finished. I like learning about great books that I’ve never heard of before. I’m not currently in a book club, so I make up for it by listening to a couple of great book podcasts and following a few book-loving bloggers that I admire. But the problem is that it is all one-sided. I don’t get to respond. I don’t get to agree or disagree. I don’t get to share.
I’ve decided that once a month I’ll take a moment to share with you, dear friend and reader, what I’ve been reading lately. I hope you find my monthly book thoughts and recommendations helpful and interesting and maybe inspire you to pick up something new. So here I am, passing along the book love.
What I’ve been reading lately…
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I have always been a fan of Oprah’s Book Club. Rarely has she ever steered me wrong. And her latest pick did NOT disappoint! One of the ways that I judge how much I like a book is how much I long for it. How much I can’t wait to get back to the characters and the story. On a scale of 1 to 10 on longing to get back to a book, this one ranked a 10. I couldn’t wait to get back to Celestial and Roy and their story of a marriage interrupted by a wrongful incarceration. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out what happened to these two, but I also didn’t want it to end. (Another sign of a great book.)
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
So it would seem that I am a big fan of celebrity book recommendations. But much like her buddy Oprah, Reese Witherspoon usually has some great ones. I read this book in two days, TWO DAYS PEOPLE! That’s not normal for me, usually because I’m the kind of reader that has several books going at once and I flip back and forth between them. But this one was such an easy, entertaining, and unique story that I couldn’t put it down until I was done. The two main characters are first brought together on 9/11 and the story takes us along showing us the special bond they continue to have.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
With the two above exceptions, I usually run way behind when it comes to books everyone is talking about. I remember hearing about this one a couple of years ago on one of the podcasts that I listen to, and I just now got around to reading it. This was another story that sat in the back of my mind during the day, waiting for me to return to it. (Side note: I usually do most of my reading at bedtime.) This book is unique in that it tells you the ending at the beginning and you spend the whole book finding out how the characters got there. It is a sad and tragic tale on several levels. (Another side note: I just started reading her latest, Little Fires Everywhere. which apparently Reese likes too.)
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
I picked this one for several reasons. One reason was that it won the Prix Goncourt in France in 2016 (is the prize for best most imaginative literature in France). Another reason was I heard it mentioned on the New York Time Book Review Podcast. And yet another was that it was set in Paris (and I’m all about Paris and all things French right now.) The opening chapter immediately elevated my blood pressure. To say that it was difficult emotionally to read would be an understatement. The first sentence: “The baby is dead.” But like the books above, this was a story that had me so intrigued I had a strong need to find out why the characters did what they did. There’s something strong about knowing the climax of the story on the first two pages, but not knowing the “why.” Slimani used a real-life story in New York City and changed it up to create her own. And as disturbing as it was, I loved it.