This June recap is a little special. Monday, July 3rd, is my mother’s 85th birthday and I want to give her the biggest shout-out I can because aside from being a wonderful mother, this blog, the podcast, my career as a librarian, none of it would have happened without her passion for books. She’s the lovely high schooler in the photo above and my love of reading is one of the most precious gifts she’s given me.
On to the books! June was quite the month for great and unexpected reading.
In 1811 the Richmond Theater burnt to the ground causing the deaths of hundreds of people. The House is On Fire is an engrossing novel about the days surrounding the fire and its aftermath, as told from the perspective of four people who were there. One is a young society widow, another an enslaved Black blacksmith, a stagehand at the theater, and a Black slave girl who accompanied her mistress. Extremely well-written and a creative blend of history and suspense.
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue: Review to follow
I Have Some Questions was a unique reading experience in that it took me four tries to finish it. The stalls were due to library holds, new releases, and an inability to stay focused. This is a slow burn novel with a literary overtone. Bodie is a successful podcaster who returns to her private high school to teach a mini-mester course on podcasting. One of her students decides to do a true crime podcast and revisit the murder of one of Bodie‘s classmates. This is the wormhole Bodie falls into.
Makkai is an unusual writer, in that while this is fiction she crams so many real-life details into the plot or the narration, that the theme, violence against women, often overtakes the story. Still, a very thought provoking read about relevant social issues.
The Art Thief by Michael Finkel: Nonfiction about one man’s obsession with art. Review to follow
When patriarch Gerry dies his best friend Fred, is the person chosen to give his eulogy simply because his children and grandchildren don’t feel capable. Little do they know that Fred’s going to drop a bombshell that has ripple effects throughout the novel, If We’re Being Honest. Even before Andy’s bombshell, the author uses each character as a Molotov cocktail set to explode at any moment. None of these characters are going to be reliable, and only a few will even be likable. Dislikeability is not enough to keep me from enjoying a book, as long as there is some texture to the person. Sadly, in if we’re being honest, this never materializes. Each of the characters steadfastly dreadful from beginning to end with the exception of matriarch Emma, and possibly the hapless Fred, both of them find themselves in situations they hoped never to face.
I hope everyone had some great reading in June. Have a happy long weekend! I’m away for a bit but will post reviews as I can.
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*I received a free copy of this book from Celadon Books in exchange for an honest review.*