This post should be subtitled: Library Reading, because 90% of what I read this month was library books. December is slow month for new releases and for someone who reads ‘professionally’ it is like school vacation. Suddenly, instead of having to refer to a spreadsheet to see what I’m supposed to read next I just go to the library and look around for whatever catches my eye. Sometimes, I’m following up on other bloggers’ recommendations—something that worked well thanks to bloggers like Novel Visits, Paperback Princess, and Malcolm Avenue Review. All of which means, this is one of the most positive monthly recaps I’ve done in a long time! No real complaints or negative reviews. Woo hoo!
Next week I’ll be back with a list of the winter releases I’m most excited about. For now, here are some great books you can read before the end of the year.
Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagán
Published by Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: February 27, 2018
Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties: I enjoyed this novel about a woman whose life is thrown into disarray when her husband leaves her for another woman after nearly 30 years of marriage. What follows is how Maggie falls apart and then puts herself back together. It’s chick-lit for mature women in that while the novel’s core was about love and men, they were surrounded by aging parents, entitled adult children, and all the scary stuff that comes with being in your fifties.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication date: January 9, 2018
The Wife Between Us is about two women, Vanessa and Nellie and the one man they love. For Nellie, it is new love and Robert is everything she ever dreamed of—older, successful, and wealthy. Plus, he understands her fears and anxieties and happily takes care of her. Vanessa is on the other side of this equation. She’s Robert’s previous wife and now that she’s been unceremoniously discarded she can’t get herself pulled together and is determined to stop her former husband’s upcoming marriage. Is this novel chock full of stereotypes? Yes. But does it hold your attention as the plot unfolds and unfolds again? Definitely. Without any spoilers, there is an aspect of the novel that bothers me—again, because it’s becoming a trope, but this was still solid thriller reading.
Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky: An amusing, all-in satire about the monetization of aspirational blogs (think Goop). Review to follow
Daring to Drive by Manal al-Sharif: The true story of one woman’s decision to break the cultural ‘law’ against women driving in Saudi Arabia. Review to follow.
Elevation by Stephen King
Published by Scribner
Publication date: October 30, 2018
Scott Carey is a middle-aged man living a quiet life in a small Maine town. Quiet, until he starts losing weight. 40 pounds and counting. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except this is Stephen King’s new novel, Elevation, so there has to be more to it. What there is is that he weighs the same whether he is clothed, has rocks in his pockets, or not. And he looks exactly the same, no thinner. p.s. He’s completely healthy.
Elevation is King at his most creative, out-of-the-box-how-does-he-do-that, best. That’s no surprise. What is unexpected is that this slender book (easily read in an afternoon) is tender and bittersweet. Two words I never thought I’d apply to the master of horror, but well deserved for this tale that deeply touched me. And once you’ve read it, you won’t be able to look at the book’s cover without a sad smile. It is perfection.
The Gown by Jennifer Robson: Historical fiction about two of the women responsible for creating Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress in the aftermath of WWII. Review to follow.
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Published by William Morrow
Publication date: February 3, 2015
Apparently, a month of holiday cheer manifests itself in me by my sudden interest in novels about the darker side of human nature! The Kind Worth Killing is about a wealthy man who realizes his wife is cheating on him. He is angered to the point of wanting to kill her, but who does that, really? Instead, he voices this desire to a woman he sits next to on a long flight home. Her reaction? Not only does she think his wife absolutely deserves to die, but she’ll help him do it. Who is this mystery woman and why is she willing to help a stranger commit murder?
Author Peter Swanson assembles this novel like a web—the strands are invisible until they’ve caught you and you can’t get out. The chapters move between the characters and at each step another character’s background and motivations are revealed. It makes for satisfying reading as no matter which way you think things are going to go they swerve and head in another direction entirely…right up until the last page.
How was your reading in December?
Have a happy New Year and here’s hoping for a quieter, more positive 2019!