Last summer, I was on a major reading kick given that I spent many, many hours a day breastfeeding Isla. Instead of wasting time on social media, I was determined to be glued to my iBooks app, and I finished a lot of interesting books. I published two posts – 2014 Summer Reading List Part 1 and Part 2, with detailed book descriptions and my recommendation to read or skip on the books. My reading dwindled in the fall and winter, but one of my 2015 Resolutions was to read more and I’ve stuck to it! I recently finished six novels, which I’m sharing brief synopses about below and also my opinion as to whether or not you should immediately buy the book and start reading!
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: I adore this book. It may be my favorite book ever. Seriously. I read it for the first time last year, and I cried ugly tears when it was over. Not because of a dramatically sad ending, but because I wanted it to go on and on and on. I read it again this summer and had the same reaction. The book is set between 1920 and 1927 and is about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. I am absolutely fascinated by the group of creatives who lived in Paris during the 1920s – The Lost Generation, as dubbed by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. The story follows their unlikely partnership, wedding in Chicago, and life in Paris. It’s historical fiction, which is my favorite part. I love to get lost in their conversations, strolls through my favorite city and drinks at some iconic bars I’ve also drank at. Verdict? This book is a must read.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: Last summer, I read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (review here), and I just loved it. A year later, I cracked open another book by Rowell – Attachments, which is about an “internet security officer” who monitors work emails at a newspaper. Lincoln comes across email exchanges between two co-workers/friends, Beth and Jennifer, and becomes fascinated with their lives. At one point, he realizes that his infatuation has gone too far, but doesn’t know what to do about it. Verdict? Definitely read the book to find out more.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell: After reading and loving Eleanor and Park and Attachments, I thought Rainbow Rowell was unstoppable. Until I read Landline. The book is actually well written, and the story is decent, but there is an element of fiction/fantasy to it that just didn’t seem to belong. The story is about a woman whose marriage is falling apart due to her obsession with work. She is supposed to go with her daughters and husband to visit her in-laws over Christmas, but cancels last minute due to work deadlines. She phones her husband from a landline at her mother’s house which she used back in college to speak to her then boyfriend, and mysteriously manages to talk to him in the past. Verdict? I do not recommend this book, unless you like this sort of fantasy fiction.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: My fourth book by Rainbow Rowell as Fangirl, and it was definitely a step up from Landline. The story is about a college student who writes fan-fiction (which I had never heard of until this book) about a very Harry Potter-esque character. She has no friends during her first semester (even deserted by her cooler identical twin sister), but forges friendships through her fiction writing class and blunt roommate. The story is actually a good read, but I would recommend skipping right over the sections of fan-fiction (italicized sections), as they were very weird to me. Verdict? Meh. If you choose to read it and don’t like it, don’t blame me. I definitely wouldn’t say NOT to read it, but there are others I would recommend before Fangirl.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple: I love this book! The main character, Bernadette Fox, is notorious amongst the other private-school mothers in an upscale neighborhood in Seattle, where her husband is a high flyer at Microsoft. She is extremely agoraphobic, even to the point of outsourcing every day tasks to a virtual assistant in India (cue shadiness). When her 15 year old daughter, Bee, claims a promised reward trip to Antarctica after acing her report card, she freaks out and goes missing on the trip. Bee feels it is then her duty to find her mother. Verdict? Yes, yes, yes. You should definitely read this book! It’s very exciting.
The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne: I just finished The Little Lady Agency this week, and I really, really enjoyed reading it. The story is about a girl, Melissa, who gets laid off at her real estate agency and is forced to look for alternative means to pay rent to her good friend, Nelson. She decides to start an agency to help clueless bachelors shop, entertain, and navigate social minefields. She even attends parties if a client needs a “date.” However, she does it all under the pseudonym “Honey,” and does not let her high-drama family find out about her new business. One client begins to take up a lot of her time, and she realizes she might even be falling for him… okay, if I go on, I’ll ruin the story, so… Verdict? If you enjoy chick lit, then you’ll love this book. I even ordered another book by the same author (Hester Browne), which should tell you how much I enjoyed it!
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: My mom told me to read this book, and I was skeptical because I judged the cover (not that the cover is even bad). The first two chapters were slow for me, but then I literally could not stop reading this thriller. It’s compared to Gone Girl, but I loved it ten million times more. Verdict? Absolutely add this to your reading list. And put it at the top.
We are Called to Rise by Laura McBride: This book made me ugly cry. It is so incredibly good. I highly recommend it (and Sasha does too – and he’s not a huge reader). It is a story of four individuals whose lives get intertwined through a series of events, and it will seriously move you.V erdict? Yes. Read it now, please!
Next on my reading list: Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler and The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne. I would love your suggestions as to what other books to add! Also, if you’re on Goodreads, add me using my email (firstname.lastname@example.org)!