I start another semester of Grad School this week, and have read 11 books during my break this month. I have several in progress as I failed my self-appointed task to cut down the number of currently reading titles. I'll give myself to the end of the month to really be done with that, but I think my goal in the future is to read 1 audiobook, 1 e-book, and 1 physical book, is a noble one.
Books with my kids don't count. We currently have two going. A road trip book (The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell, which is read by David Tennant on Audio which we're really enjoying), and a night time read before bed book (Inkspell, the sequel to Inheart by Cornelia Funke).
Anyway, here are some great books I've finished this month:
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt - I love Patrick DeWitt's style. His characters are hilariously pretentious and strange and at the same time, completely believable. His writing style is impeccable with words that bring you to another place and illuminate the story with function and glitter. His plots are unexpected and weird and ordinary in exactly the ways I prefer. This book is short but it may be my favorite of his. In the way great comedy is multi-layered and more enjoyable with each re-watch, I have a feeling this book falls into the same category. It's got such wit while describing rather mundane and slightly depressing rich people relationship problems. It follows the adventures of a woman and her son, who have lost their fortune, and must make something of the rest of their lives. Oh, and the dead husband/father has been reincarnated as a cat. I need my own copy so I can read it again. It's fantastic.
Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams - Initially I was drawn in by the cover, but then I heard the elevator pitch. A machine can tell you three things that will increase your happiness. Well, obviously I needed to read it and I'm very glad I did. This falls into the totally unexpected and wonderful category that DeWitt's novels also inhabit for me, and I was delighted, moved, and transported by this slim book. Dealing with those involved with the machine that decodes one's happiness, this book inhabits a few perspectives and shows us the motives, actions, progress, and mistakes of several characters. It's beautiful and thoughtful and a very quick read I think is worth your time. It won't be for everyone but I think it will give you something to think about even if you don't end up liking it as much as I did.
Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pierce - Let me preface this with the admission I made on Instagram, that I don't really like WWII novels or much historical fiction. AT ALL. The Horror, I know. It's fine. It's just not my thing. I have read too many that played with my emotions just for funsies and that's not cool. So I'm picky about what I read in that genre. I read this as an audiobook, and picked it up because the premise sounded exciting. The narrator has a lovely voice that was very soothing, but the writing is equally lovely. The plot doesn't center on WWII terror as I expected it to, but merely holds that as a backdrop for the events. Our protagonist is a plucky young women eager to make a name for herself as a journalist, and I related to her daring dreams that didn't quite consider the reality of her situation. She finds herself having to approve letters to an advice columnist. When she feels for those who's letters are being turned away without a second glance and decides to do something about it, ample amounts of chaos ensue. If you like historical fiction this is probably smack-dab in the middle of your wheelhouse. If you aren't a fan, like me, this is one that's worth a try. It's not too long, just delightful and well written enough to earn the feelings you generate for it, and the characters are real enough to believe and root for. Glad I read it.
Claire deWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran - I heard about this one a few times on a podcast and finally checked it out from the library. It's not that long so I ended up giving it a try. It's short chapters and incredibly compelling main character made it an incredible detective mystery. I am eager to read the next book in the series and would follow Claire anywhere (sometimes from behind my fingers but I'd still go). She is as spunky and unexpected as Veronica Mars but her humor and tone is grittier and a bit more introspective. I also love the hints of the fantastic and magically symbolic that gave this book it's atmosphere. It does deal with some unpleasant situations but seeing as it's a murder mystery detective story that was expected. I found it absolutely transporting. I love finding a great series with an amazingly flawed but genuinely smart detective at the center. I am so glad I finally got around to reading this one. I think there are two more in the series waiting for me and I'm going to savor them.
Let me know if you decide to read any of these or what you thought if you already have read them! As always, I'm more than happy to give you a personalized recommendation if you want one :) Happy Reading!
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