I don’t think I’ve ever read this many books in one month in my life (excluding picture books, obvi). A 36 hour weekend road-trip sure gives you some extra time though, and have I mentioned how much I love audiobooks? They allow me to immerse myself in a book while doing other things like cleaning or folding clothes or running (!).
Life Would be Perfect if I Lived in That House by Meghan Daum
I picked this one up purely because I related to the title. One of my favorite pastimes is going through MLS listings and dreaming of our next home. This is a memoir which follows Daum’s various moves across the country as she tries to find the perfect “home”. It was an interesting look into our society’s tendency to place such a high value on owning the right home, and how we often think that we’ll be so much happier when we move into a bigger house/ better neighbourhood/ better town, etc. For the most part I enjoyed her voice and writing. I didn’t love this book, but I liked it enough.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (audiobook)
I got this purely because its narrated by Jim Dale, who is probably one of the best audio book narrators ever. This book is about a circus that is open only after dark, with many magical elements, and the people who are central to the circus. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book ever since it came out a few years ago but unfortunately it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I loved the narration, I loved the magical world of the circus, but it fell short. I think this one is just a case of my expectations being too high. I would still recommend this.
This Is Happy by Camilla Gibb
I got this one purely because I heard the author speak. Kidding…I’m a fan of hers and have wanted to read this ever since it came out. The author event was just an excuse- and now I have a signed copy! I really loved this book. Its about Gibbs search for home, the way she creates a supportive and unlikely community around herself after her life falls apart. I love her writing, and so I loved this book. Hearing her speak about this book, and her previous books, really added a level of depth to it that I don’t think I would have got otherwise. I’m so happy I was able to make it out for that event last month.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth… (audiobook)
My friend and I are starting our own book club, with just the two of us in it. This was our first book. I listened to it with John on the way down to Utah, and we both LOVED it. Its told from the perspective of a dog reminiscing on his life and his people as he’s dying. What makes this great is the little bits of humor added by Enzo’s perspective. But I also love Denny more than I love a lot of literary characters. He’s just such a good guy who never gives in to bitterness or hostility, even after given many excuses to do so.
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (audiobook)
I’m now all caught up on this series (there are only 3 books). This one was a lot more disturbing than the previous ones, mostly because Rowling writes so convincingly form the perspective of a serial killer for parts of the book. *shudders* On top of a serial killer, this one also deals with rape, drug abuse, prostitution, and child molestation. So, be warned. I like Matthew less and less with each book, and Robin and Cormoran more and more.
Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance (audiobook)
I got this one purely because its had so much buzz lately, especially around and after the US election. This is another memoir. Vance is born in hillbilly country, Appalachia, and splits his time growing up between there and his grandparents and mother’s house in southern Ohio. I enjoyed this for its look into a group of people that I previously knew nothing about, and for his story of the complications of upward mobility. I would recommend this to anyone struggling to understand how Trump had so much support, anyone interested in stories of achievement amidst great setbacks, or anyone interested in the socio-economics of class. Its fascinating on several levels. You can watch Vance’s TED talk here, and find many interviews he’s done about the election and his book on YouTube.