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What I’m Reading: Books of Summer Past

2015 September 16
by Becky

Though I fall asleep faster these days, my pre-bedtime reading is still getting me through a couple books a month. There’s always a book club read, our little group has been meeting for over a year now! It may sound silly, but joining and committing to this book club has been one of the best things I’ve done in years, each month I look forward to spending a few hours chatting with the incredible women who make up this group. It started as a few of us in the neighborhood, many on the same street, deciding to get together. From there we each asked another friend or two and now we’ve got at least 7 or 8 members at each monthly meet-up, taking turns hosting and choosing books. We show up with chocolate and prosecco and flavored popcorn, ready to discuss everything from the book to the tantrums our kids threw that week. We all have children around the same age, all live in the city, and all bring different perspectives to the table. It’s a highlight of my month!

In addition to the book club read, I usually finish one other book. Therefore I have a mixed bag of reviews here, including a few that kept me up to the wee hours pouring through the pages in an unstoppable need to know what happens next.

Please let me know if you’ve read any of these and send me recommendations!! I can never have enough options on my list.

JodiePicoult Euphoria MostBeautifulBookInTheWorld LetsPretendThisNeverHappened
Leaving Time Euphoria The Most Beautiful Book In The World Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
EverythingINeverToldYou CuttingForStone GirlOnTrain Delancey
Everything I Never Told You Cutting For Stone The Girl On The Train Delancey

1. Leaving Time I feel like I’m got through this book like an elephant, plodding along at a glacial pace, which is extra funny because the book is all about elephants. But, turns out, elephants are fast so I guess this is a horrible analogy. Anyway, I learned so many interesting facts about elephant sanctuaries and elephant behaviors from this book, but the story was really rough. Wanting to know what the heck happened was what got me to the end, but the answer left me extremely frustrated.

2. Euphoria is one of my favorite book club books to date—and it was my choice! I found it looking a few years back, trying to find something not currently topping the best sellers list. It was interesting, controversial, and I couldn’t put it down. Inspired by events in the life of Margaret Mead, the book follows anthropologists in the 1930’s as they study tribes in New Guinea. The feeling was unanimous in our group, the discussion fun and interesting. And I was pretty thrilled when, at the live taping of Ask Me Another here in STL, the VIP guest and local author Curtis Sittenfeld pretty randomly named Euphoria as her current book recommendation.

3. The Most Beautiful Book in the World: 8 Novellas was another book club pick, an easy summer read that I didn’t read a thing about before beginning. Have you ever done that, read a book without seeing a smidgen of summary? The whimsey and enchanting storytelling was different and exciting, each tale short and sweet. The authors imagination made this collection fun to read, each story completely unique and written beautifully.

4. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the story of Jenny Lawson and her eccentric family. Her childhood was wild and wildly funny, making for story after story of entertainment. The tales begin with her as a very young child and continue through college, marriage, to raising her own children who love visiting the family “farm”. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next! This is easy and fun, a great plane or beach.

5. Everything I Never Told You yet anther book club pick, one I successfully finished only to realize I’d miss the discussion night. It wasn’t my favorite book, but interesting and well written nonetheless. A mother’s unfulfilled dreams, good intentions gone wrong, a story of parents attempting to make a child’s life better than their own. If anything I learned more than a few ways NOT to treat my children. Always helpful.

6. Cutting for Stone is only half read, it’s a long one with a slow start, and I had to take a break to finish other books. But I can’t wait to finish it because the story is so darn intriguing! A pregnant nun? Having twins? And that’s basically the opening of the book. The setting is India, a place I find fascinating. Have you read it? Did you love it?

7. The Girl on the Train was awesome. I couldn’t put it down, never guessed the ending—exactly what every book list needs. I loved the writing because while it was a chick-lit-ish murder mystery that could have been cheesey and simple, this book added in some seriously dark storylines to really thickened the plot. If you liked Gone Girl, this book is for you.

8. Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage was delightful. My love of food and great respect for small business owners–especially restauranteurs—got me through this book lightening fast. The author gives the honest, gritty truth about a) having a husband with many interests and b) starting a business from the ground up. It reads like a novel but is very much a true account of the successful pizza eatery in Seattle. I recommend it often and use several of the recipes frequently.

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