Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Romi's Reading Round-up: December 2016

I’ve read some very interesting books lately that are certainly worth recommending. Here is my latest round-up for your holiday reading!

Books I Loved

Last Will by Bryn Greenwood: Sometimes I find a gem out of nowhere. I’m on a few lists that show me when books go on sale for less than a few dollars, and I tend to snap these up sight unseen. Last Will was one of these books. This started off feeling like a Rosie Project, but turned into a deeply moving look at how one damaged man learns to cope and love. I truly loved this book.

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney: This was one of those books that I stayed up far too late one night finishing. The ending was awful – why can’t authors take their time and realize that everything doesn’t have to be wrapped up in a nice little bow? But the book was fantastic despite the lame ending. I really liked both of the main characters.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon: It’s hard to go wrong with Chabon. The book was beautifully written and it was a lovely story. I didn’t like the back and forth chronology of the book…sometimes I couldn’t figure out what decade we were in with the main character or what was going on! But despite this, it was really well done.

The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel: This was another of those $1 finds. The book is about a tough and fascinating woman during the Prohibition Era who gets involved in rum running. Certainly not a topic or era I’ve read anything about before. Loved it.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty: Sometimes it’s a good thing when I don’t listen to the Goodreads reviews before jumping in. Wow they were harsh on this book, but I really enjoyed it. Yes, there were parts that dragged and yes, I think she played with the reader’s emotions a bit too much with her use of suspense, but I really loved the book. I felt for four of the main characters and I think that, perhaps, only someone who has been in the situation that the book outlines would realize just how realistically she wrote about it.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: What a gem. I’m finding that I disagree a lot these days with Goodreads. Not all readers liked this book but I just loved it. Don’t read too many reviews or you’ll spoil the book. Just pick it up and read it. Wow.

Books I Enjoyed

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold: About a third of the way into the book I realized that I’d read it already. Whooops! But I still found it fascinating. Yes, it was torn apart on Goodreads, but I thought it was an interesting look at the struggles that the narrator went through with her mother and where she ended up as a result. Not really for the faint of heart.

The Color of Water in July by Nora Carroll: This was a nice read. Nothing earth-shattering, but I definitely enjoyed the story of a confused woman going back to her childhood home to try to sort out things that had happened to her and misunderstandings that had taken place.

Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss and Hope in an African Slum by Kennedy Odede and Jennifer Posner: We have a lending library in the yishuv and it caught my eye. It isn’t my style or something I would ever think of reading. It was very eye opening about how some people are forced to live and quite inspiring. It was definitely a bit crazy, and if I were the girl’s mother I would have had a heart attack reading it (and watching her live through it), but it is amazing what some people are able to do in the worst of situations.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman: Well, she certainly was here…on every single page. I love Backman’s writing style and I really did enjoy this book, but I felt like it took a lot of work to get to the enjoyment. It was very slow going and seemed, at times, to be going nowhere. It really did have a lovely message and looking back on the book it was beautiful. But it was work.

Books I Could Have Done Without

The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley: This could have been a great book, but about half way through I started laughing at how ridiculously implausible it was. While the historical backdrop was interesting, way too many things happened to this poor boy and it became ridiculous. It was also difficult to read because it was sooo dark. I'm sure some people would love this book (as the reviews appear to show) but it wasn't one of my favorite ones.

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale: If you like clever twists and interesting turns then this book would entertain you. But I tend to expect more from my reading time. It was fine...but I never really connected with the main character or felt that I could feel what she was experiencing. And the big answer to the book's question was a bit of a let-down. Very much just so-so.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett: This is when you wonder if you’re insane, or if all of the people who rave about a certain book are insane. I love Patchett and I was looking forward to this book. I was looking forward to it so much that I had Josh buy it for me in a real bookstore in the States….for $30! Holy smokes. But what a terrible journey this was. The book centered around a tragedy that was sort of brushed under the table and never really the focus on the book. But the focus…that in itself is the question. What was the focus? Why were we meant to follow this and then follow that, and then jump to this instead? What was Patchett thinking? I thought this was dreadful. Anyone else agree?

What's Next?
Now I’m reading another little $1 find called An Exaltation of Larks that sounds incredibly odd and unlike my usual reads. I’ll let you know how I like it.


Love to hear what you’re reading and enjoying as well! 

Happy reading in 2017!!

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