Welcome to a new series on the blog! I’ve been wanting to share little book reviews each month because I feel like I read and read and it all goes in my brain and never helps anyone but myself. I’m hoping this will be a way to share the best books I’ve read so that you can benefit from my discoveries and mistakes. No reason to keep all the good ones to myself… or the bad ones, for that matter!
Plus it’s always fun to find out what other people read and loved. I hope that this will be a place where we can discuss books, share our favorites, and find some new good reads. Please share if you agree, disagree, or have something to add to these book reviews, or if you have something similar to recommend!
But for now, here are the books that took me from the mellow days of late summer to the curled-up-in-a-blanket books of deep autumn:
Seven books, most of them good, a couple of them rather mediocre, that I read in October:
- Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve loved two of Rainbow’s (what an awesome name!) other books, especially the sweet and endearing Eleanor & Park. Landline‘s premise is that Georgie and Neal’s marriage has gone sour and they are spending some time apart over Christmas — until Georgie discovers an old telephone on which she can call her Neal… in the past. Their lengthy conversations reignite their spark, but unfortunately they killed the spark for me. Skip the tedium and dive into Eleanor & Park or Attachments instead, which are far sweeter and better written. (Note: All Rainbow’s books include allusions to sex and quite a bit of language, so read at your discretion!) — 2 stars
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Liane is one of my favorite authors; I’ve read both What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret each in about a day. She is so talented at twisting the everyday life of elementary school families into life-or-death moral dilemmas, weaving together stories with larger-than-life characters and believable situations that get wildly out of hand. As usual, her book was easy to read but left me wondering, “What would I do if that happened to me?” for weeks afterwards. — 4 stars
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I avoided reading this book for as long as I could, thinking, “Why would I spend 432 pages of my life on a horribly twisted marriage?” But Elliott read it and could barely put it down, and when the movie came out, he wanted to see it with me. So I finally got my hands on the book, read the first few pages, and barely looked up. Nick and Amy’s marriage is horrible, but Gillian Flynn does not shy away from showing people as they truly are — selfish and twisted — or from revealing what happens when couples manipulate each other for power in a marriage. On top of that, Gillian is a brilliant writer with a spectacular imagination, and her writing and plot twists will leave you breathless till the last page. — 4 stars
- Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging by Marilyn Gardner. I loved this book enough to write a whole blog post and a book giveaway for it, which you can read here! Marilyn addresses the life of third culture kids: children who spent the majority of their childhoods outside their passport country. I grew up overseas, and her words unlocked whole rooms of memories and emotions for me. If you have an interest in living overseas or doing cross-cultural work, this book is a must-read. — 4 stars
- Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. Modern Mrs. Darcy (aka Anne, the author of one of my favorite blogs) recommended this short and sweet little volume for book lovers. Published in 1917, it is the story of a farmer’s sister who decides to purchase a horse-drawn bookmobile and escape her life of household drudgery. Love and literature, of course, find her along the way. Morley writes with rollicking enthusiasm that will bring a smile to your face, and the sweet turn-of-the-century style is a refreshing break from modern literature. — 4 stars
- Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer Scott. I’d been wanting to read this book for about a year, and finally I had to put it on hold at the library to get my hands on a copy. It’s always checked out! Yet unfortunately I found the book poorly written and implausible. The author spent one semester studying abroad in Paris during college, and — 10 years later — she resurrected the things she learned and describes implementing them into her LA lifestyle. Perhaps it was because all her personal anecdotes made her sound very un-Parisian, and because I had heard all her advice before elsewhere, but I found the whole book unbelievable and unoriginal. — 2 stars
- How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, Sophie Mas. It sounded like a fun and very light read, and it really was. A combination of short essays, funny lists, and beautiful photos, it’s easy to pick up and put down, and it has some unique style and life advice. Risque here and there, just like Paris. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions. It would make a great gift! — 3 stars
What did you read in October? Share your recommendations in the comments!
P.S. The winner of the book giveaway is announced here!