ten things tuesday

Since I'm in a reading bonanza, I thought I would share ten books I recommend.  In no particular order:

1)  Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn:  If you like a mystery-thriller with a side of humor, this would be the book for you.  The four main characters are "of a certain age" which I definitely relate to.  How society underestimates us is one of the themes of the book.  I enjoyed the shifting narrative that explains the characters' backstories and their firm commitment to being assassins to folks who deserve it.  It's like the Golden Girls meets James Bond.  And I'm for it!

2)  Spare by Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex:  I'm a royal watcher and fan.  Having said that, this is a compelling glimpse into the world of a second-born (spare) son living in the glaring spotlight.  What I especially liked is that he took complete ownership of his mis-steps.  And I had no idea about his military service.  I recommend the audio.

3)  The Guncle by Steven Rowley:  with it's bright, cheery cover and fun title I went into this expecting a frothy, fluffy book.  What I got was so much more!  What a heartfelt story and an exploration of grief, sadness, and loss.  I laughed and I cried.  The Guncle Rules were random and hilarious--and reminded me of my classroom rules. I loved the references to musical icons from Auntie Mame to Maria von Trapp.  It's ultimately a celebration of life.

4)  Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid:  Ultimately, it's a book about family:  Carrie and her coach father Javier develop a bond over tennis, however, Carrie's single-mindedness on winning prevents her from learning more about the love of people than the love of the game.  Javier is a devoted father and an incredible coach.    It's also a book about strong females.  Carrie behaves much as a male athlete would, unapologetically proud of how their hard work pays off instead of coyly saying a victory was luck.  Carrie is criticized for not smiling, which you never hear as a criticism of male athletes.  

5)  Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes: This is a story about an unlikely friendship.  The main characters come from different worlds, life stages, and backgrounds.  But how the innocent mix-up leads to this enduring and endearing friendship is quite a tale. I really enjoyed this book.  There were elements of great sadness, dealing specifically with a marriage deteriorating because of mental health issues. There were elements of triumph, specifically of middle-aged women claiming their power. The secondary characters are also excellent--in fact, I would like more of their stories! (Didja hear that Jojo Moyes!!!)

6)  The Bookseller: The First Hugo Marston Novel by Mark Pryor:  This is the first installment of the Hugo Marston series.  Set in Paris and featuring the bouquinistes, or booksellers of rare and used books, it's a mystery about book lovers.  Familiarity with Paris made the book enjoyable and relatable.  I am a fan of Hugo Marston!  I can't wait to read more.  I loved the audio.

7)  The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese:  The book spans 1900-1977 and follows three generations. Masterful storytelling. The length of the saga is daunting—700+ pages clocking in at over 31 hours. The narrative thread is not always linear, there are chapters that tell the happenings of a time from multiple characters’ experiences. It would make an excellent book club selection with themes of loyalty, honor, family bonds, class, and so many more. I think it could have been more satisfying if it was shorter or there were fewer subplots. There were moments I didn’t think I could continue, it was so minutely detailed, but the storytelling is rich and I kept thinking about the characters. 

8)  Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann:  A compelling look at a string of the most gruesome murders in history.  Yet it's history I hadn't heard--because it was against Indigenous people.  I liked that the three sections of the book had different perspectives.  I was prompted to read this because there is a movie and since I didn't know anything at all about the events, I thought I would read it and learn.  I recommend the audio version--excellent narration.

9)  Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano: I liked how each of the sisters is an individual dependent on the sum of them.  I found the dynamics to be relatable, for instance--at different times I'm closer to different sisters which is what happens in the book.  The mythology of childhood is also relatable.  My only complaint is that it was a bit long leading to some repetitive parts.

10) Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan: What a gripping story!  The characters are real and compelling.  It's a story about first love, family love, mystery, and new beginnings.  There are two major narrative threads that construct the action's timeline.  There are a couple of complex plot twists that I won't allude to as I hate spoilers.

And bonus:  anything by Ann Cleeves--she has a couple of mystery series that I'm gobbling up!

1 comment:

The Gal Herself said...

I loved Killers of a Certain Age. Very twisty, very funny.