Recent Reads

30 June 2014

I already told you that in the summer, I prefer to go full beach read. So most of these books fall into that category.

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

I read this because I like to read books that are "all the rage." I really enjoyed it. If you're like me and you hate knowing too much about a book before you've read it, then don't watch the movie trailer. You get about 95% of the plot in the trailer. I suppose it isn't very plot driven, but still...It's a quick read full of angsty teenagers...who have cancer. I thought Mr. Green did a good job of making the teenagers feel like teenagers despite battling debilitating illnesses. The relationship between the two main characters seemed a little underdeveloped, but I may have only felt that way because I read it really fast.

by Rainbow Rowell

While we're on the subject of love among high schoolers, I'll direct your attention to Eleanor and Park. It's the story of Eleanor who sits on the bus next to Park and soon starts reading comics over his shoulder, and it stays just that cute. Rowell does such a good job of conveying high school awkwardness and that all-consuming first love and the subplots of difficult family life give it some meat. 
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers is a book about a girl just graduated out of the foster system who is healing from a difficult past and learning to accept a different future. Laced throughout the story is her obsession with the Victorian language of flowers; her passion for it interrupts her destructive cycles. As I read I kept comparing this book to What Alice Forgot in that it had a pretty compelling concept that lost a little steam once I'd gotten used to it, but then it ended well. Overall, I really enjoyed reading it.
by Ann Patchett

When I read the synopsis of this book I was pretty uninspired. Opera and terrorists? How would that even work? But this book...I know a book has me when I stop being an English teacher while I'm reading it and just fall into the experience. Bel Canto did this for me. I loved it. It's hopeful and heartwrenching: a hostage situation meets Babette's Feast.
by Marilynne Robinson

If Bel Canto moves us out of beach reads, then Housekeeping has us at Full Blown Literature. It was my first experience with Ms. Robinson, and my is she something. The book was on the heavy side - cold, foggy - but it was short and her prose is so effortlessly crafted with such a mix of eerie female characters, I highly recommend it - but probably as an Autumn read over a Summer read since it definitely isn't CandyLit.


  1. Also just read my first Robinson which was Gilead. Now I'm eager to pick up Housekeeping.

  2. Housekeeping is one of my very favorite books! Maybe I'm stroking my own Comparative Literature major ego, but I totally agree with you that it's not a beach read :)

  3. Bel Canto right?!? Seriously, I still get chills thinking about it, yet it's incredibly hard to describe as a book someone should read. I've had Housekeeping on my to-read list for what seems like years so maybe come fall I'll read it! (And I've read all the others and agree with you. For the record.)

  4. I haven't read Our Fault is in the Stars, but every person I see everywhere is reading it. My Dad sent me this article.. Basically the author argues that this book is a very subtle teen introduction to Nihilism... Wonder what you think...

    1. Haven't read that article yet, but my first thought is that it wasn't very subtle ;) Thanks for the link!

  5. Loved the first three and really want to read the last two! Thanks for the recommendations. This has been a summer of books for me so far, and I hope it continues!

  6. Finally. Shout out to my main girl. Hopefully we can talk about her over lattes soon.

  7. Bel Canto has been on my list FOREVER, you've pushed me over the edge to read it. After my current book club book (Infidel) I'm gonna give it a go!

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