The Vacationers

Vacation Books.jpeg

I was on vacation last week, and it was wonderful! I spent seven days in a cabin in northern Wisconsin. I did not have any cell service, internet, or a television. I spent time kayaking, playing with my dogs, playing cards, and doing plenty of reading. I read one book each full day I was there. This week I will be blogging and posting on my Instagram about each of my reads.

First up, is The Vacationers by Emma Straub. This was my first book by Straub, and I devoured it. It was full of gossip and rich people problems, making for a quick and fun read. I really enjoyed Straub’s writing and will most certainly pick up more of her books in the future. I really love following her on Instagram!

This book is about the Post family who is on a two week vacation on a beautiful Island in Spain. The Post parents are trying to sort out what infidelity means for their marriage, the Post daughter is trying to lose her virginity before she goes to college, and the Post son is deciding how to navigate his relationship with his older girlfriend and how to discuss his financial woes with his parents. Some family friends along for the ride throw in some added complications. Overall, this book is about family and how complicated those relationships can be. The book did a great job of revealing the tensions that can come along with a family vacation where each person has high (and often different) expectations. This is a great summer beach/lake read, for sure.

Happy reading!

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

This morning I finished Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place where you can still get lost in the woods and lose cell phone reception. I love walking out through the woods, just like Dillard, and I thought this book would be about her adventures, but I was presently surprised.

Dillard does not just talk about her adventures in the woods, however. What I appreciated about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek was the details. Dillard’s stories about sitting on a bridge for 40 minutes to watch a muskrat, or thinking about the atoms in the tail of a goldfish. She appreciates all of the small pieces that make up her love of Tinker Creek. The best way I can describe this book is like a prayer to the mystery of the world.

Happy reading!

Big Little Lies

I have been focusing on reading more frequently. While I usually look for larger chunks of time to read, instead I have been trying to read in shorter spurts, even if it is only one chapter at night before I go to sleep. I have been stressed to the max with work, managing my household, and taking care of 8 (yes 8!) animals at the moment. I have four foster kittens at the moment, but they are ready to be adopted, so hopefully that will lead things to slow down soon. Taking the time to read and unwind at night is helping me to fall asleep sooner, and not stay awake thinking of everything I need to do.

I finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty this week. This book was basically the juicy reality shows (think Real Housewives) from Bravo that I love so much. I loved the gossipy, secret-keeping characters who try to only show the best parts of their lives to the people around them. It’s so not my world, which made it a great way to escape. The pages just kept turning! I was able to figure out the twist/mystery, but appreciated how the book kept my attention.

The book centers around a few families who all have children in an elementary school. The kindergarten mothers cause particular controversy as they all try to sort out which of the kids has been bullying one girl in the class. You know right away that there is an incident where someone dies, and you hear quotes from witnesses and gossip mongers in each chapter, but you do not really know what happened or who died until the end of the book. Throughout you fall in love with Jane, the new mom in town. Jane, as a young and single mom is trying to sort out where she fits into the world, and in the school.

I will be adding The Husband’s Secret to my TBR, and will pick it up when I need a fast and gossipy read!

I’m jumping back into my books-to-read-in-your-20s list with my next two reads, which I picked up from the library today. I am seven books behind on my book challenge, but hope to play some catch up with my new reading routine!

Under the Harrow

Under the Harrow is Flynn Berry’s first novel, and I’ll be looking to read anything else she publishes. I do not usually talk to people about what I’m reading, but this week I said at least ten times, “I’m reading a book that is really effing with me.”

This book really got into my head. It stuck with me. It took me one week to read, but I could have read it much faster if it hadn’t freaked me out so much. This story is about a young woman named Nora who goes to visit her sister for the weekend. She expects her sister to be in the kitchen of her house in the countryside making dinner, but Nora finds her brutally murdered. Through the book Nora tries to sort out who killed her sister, while telling us about how her sister had been attacked when they were teenagers.

Nora’s search for her sister’s murderer, coupled with her pain keeps this book moving quickly. We get glimpses into Nora’s history with her sister, her current life, and the struggles that every family faces. Nora learns that she does not know every aspect of her sister’s life as she thought she did.

The Killing Forest

A few months ago I had a realization that there is a vast difference in the books that I read versus the shows that I binge on Netflix. I am Netflix-obsessed with shows that contain an whodunnit component. Give me a show where someone is murdered and we have to figure out what happened over the course of a season, and I am hooked! I love the suspense, and I love trying to sort it all out before the detectives do. If you’re into this, be sure to watch: The Killing and Broadchurch. Actually, I should just give you my Netflix password so you can see the whole list of these.

I had the realization, however, that I have not ever really read a truly suspenseful novel. So, I picked up The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel. And it sat on my shelf for ages. Until two weeks ago!

I really liked the story of a 15-year-old boy who has gone missing coupled with other mysteries that are revealed as the book moves on. I jumped into this series of Louise Rick novels, and I think that I should have started at the beginning, or at least I should have read a few of the earlier books first. This one had so much hype, though!

While I liked the story and the mystery, I was not impressed with Blaedel’s writing. However, it may have been the translator? If I do read another of her novels I will be looking for one with a different translator, and at the start of a series.

Doomsday Book

I did not finish a single book during the month of February. But, I took my sweet time with Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and enjoyed each and every page. All 559 of them.

I’m not into sci-fi, not just in books, but in TV and movies, as well. It’s just not usually my thing. I certainly do not have anything against the genre, but I’m just usually not compelled to pick it up, and leave movies saying, “that was alright.”

However, I truly enjoyed Doomsday Book. I would certainly call this sci-fi light. Kivrin, a student, decides she wants to study the middle ages, and will use time travel to fully immerse herself. However, as she arrives, she finds herself extremely ill, throwing off her entire trip. Meanwhile, back in Oxford, the virus Kivrin has is spreading and throwing the country into chaos.

While the virus spreads through Oxford, the historians who are working with Kivrin have to ensure they can set everything up to bring Kivrin home, but they realize quickly that something has gone wrong.

I can see one complaint of this book being that things move slowly, and the characters do a lot of waiting and guessing. I think that Willis used this approach to help the reader understand how the characters feel – just waiting to see what really happened, and how to fix it.

So, even though it took me a long time to get through this book, I would recommend it!

 

Talking as Fast as I Can

Good morning from the warm and melty Upper Peninsula. The past week has been really warm and everything is just a mess from this extreme melt. Really, it’s a great excuse to hibernate and read (you’ll notice I use this excuse often – it’s too hot to go out, it’s too rainy, it’s sub-zero, so I need to read!). Ah well, it works for me.

After giving up on a book last week (The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco), I took a break from my books-to-read-in-your-20s list to read one of the books I got for Christmas – Talking as Fast as I Can by the wonderful Lauren Graham. I am a huge Gilmore Girls fan. I regularly re-watch this show on Netflix, and listen to the Gilmore Guys Podcast. So, I have been excited to read this book to get all of the inside gossip. This book was wonderful. It had a great balance of gossip, insights, lol’ing, and tears. I cried through the entire last chapter of the book where Graham includes some of her journal entries from her time filming A Year in the Life. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know when I recommend you read this book!