Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I Read: May & June

 Hey Friends!

Looking for a good book recommendation?  Here's a rundown on what I read in May & June:
 The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (4 stars).  Holy cow.  This is the best Green book, yet.  What a story!  What an awesome cast of characters:  sad, brave, triumphant teenagers living with cancer.  Brilliant writing.  All the characters felt completely believable.  Loved it (and so did Emily!).
Tiny, Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed (3 1/2 stars).  This is a compilation of some of the "Dear Sugar" columns written by the author of Wild.  I liked seeing this side of Cheryl, and I loved that each of her answers was carefully considered.  Each piece of advice was given as if she was speaking to a treasured friend.  
 This Book Will Save Your Life, AM Homes (4 stars). Big, glorious story with an unlikely hero.  I loved it.  It asks the question of why certain people come in and out of our lives.
 The Mistress's Daughter, AM Holmes (2 1/2 stars).  Homes' adoption story.  Lots of family genealogy.  I'm not sure what to think about her birth mom, but her birth dad was a total jerk.  As you can probably tell, I got on an AM Homes kick in May, and read pretty much everything I could get my hands on, including this autobiography.
 In a Country of Mothers, AM Homes (2 1/2 stars).  This novel borrowed heavily from Homes' own adoption story, which I had just read.  The character of Claire ended up being pretty messed up and a little creepy.
 The Birth House, Ami McKay (3 1/2 stars).  This is a simple story with a nice ending.  It takes place in a quiet town in Nova Scotia.  The main character, Dora, becomes the town midwife and has to overcome stereotypes and fear to win the hearts of the townsfolk who are torn between how things have always been done and the allure of modern medicine.  In the process, she discovers her own strength and learns how to take control her own life.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra (3 1/2 stars).  It took me a good long while to get through this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it until the end.  This is the story of a village in Chechnya from 1994-2004 and the Russians and refugees who lived and struggled during that time.  Through a series of well-orchestrated coincidences, the reader discovers how all of the main characters are entwined with each other.  Sonja, (the driven surgeon), Natasha (her sister), Haava (the 8-year-old), Dokka (Haava's dad), Khassan and his son (the informer), & Ramzan all play roles in the fate of each other.  This book is sad and haunting and beautiful.   
 The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud (4 stars).  I loved this book about the complexities of friendship.  It's a book about betrayal and redemption and picking oneself back up after an intimate friendship ends.
 The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer (4 stars).  Sigh.  I'm so sad that this book ended.  It was a big, 'ole coming-of-age book that fully developed each of the main characters.  I loved it!  I loved the four main characters--flaws and all.  I loved watching them grow up and see life through each other's lives.
The Light Between Oceans, ML Stedman. (4 stars).  Gosh, I liked this novel about an emotionally damaged WWI vet who falls in love with a vibrant woman.  They live on an island and tend to the lighthouse.  After 3 miscarriages/stillbirths, a healthy baby washes up on shore.  Decisions are made, and there are consequences to those decisions.  This is a story of the love of a parents and the love of a spouse.  

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout (4 stars). This is a wonderful story filled with fantastic, complex characters who all grow and change.  It's about siblings and families and being there for each other.  It's about forgiveness and loving someone flaws and all.  




PS  I rate my books on a 1-4 star system.  As a general rule, I do not share books that get less than 2 1/2 stars.  I highly recommend any book that gets 3 1/2-4 stars.  


  1. I read "The Fault in Our Stars" last summer (I think) and I have been promoting it since! Love it!

  2. thanks for sharing these, Vicki! I've read a few of these but others are high on my To Read list... hope your July reading is coming along well :)