Books #11

I’ve wanted to do a book post for awhile but my reading has slowed down and I also read some not great books. But I finally got back in the groove and read some good stuff. Here you go:

1 ) The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

I’m not really a fan of books that have a ton of characters and the story switches back and forth between them. In my experience there’s always one character/story line that you love and want to keep reading and the others fall short and feel like interruptions.

This book was one of those. So why am I recommending it? Because a friend who read it told me to hang in there and that the book gets really good towards the end and it did. It’s a book about a Southern town and a small group of people living there who’s lives intersect because of a tragic accident at the community pool. While I’m not a fan of the switching back and forth between 5 or 6 characters to tell one story format–about half way through this book I started to really like it and couldn’t put it down. So I’m recommending it. If you’ve read it, I’m curious what you think!

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2 ) Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8) by Linda Castillo

I didn’t even know the next book in the series had come out!! I’ve been so out of the loop since the baby came. I was so excited to discover it and that it was available without a wait. I started the book right away and like all her other books in the series, couldn’t put it down and stayed up way too late to read it.

In this book Kate goes undercover in a neighboring Amish community to catch a murderer and investigate the leader who is cult-like. This book was so exciting and gripping and I could not put it down. I think this might have been one of her best books in the series. It was so cool to read about Kate going undercover as an Amish widow, experiencing lots of mixed emotions about being Amish again, and uncovering a horrible network of crimes. The book was good!

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3 ) The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene

What a clever, unique book! I liked it so much! You start reading and you think you know what the story is about and what’s going on…and then all of a sudden nothing is as it seems. It was so well-written.

Instead of trying to describe the book I’m just going to share the description from amazon because I don’t want to spoil it!

“Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the headmaster of Vermont’s elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family, and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges. Luminous and atmospheric, bringing to life the tight-knit enclave of a quintessential New England boarding school, the novel is part mystery, part love story, and an exploration of the ties of place and family. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, The Headmaster’s Wife stands as a moving elegy to the power of love as an antidote to grief.”

There were a lot of surprises in the book and it was just so smartly written. Definitely read this book!

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4 ) The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I really really liked this book. A lot of celebrity memoirs fall flat for me but this one was fast-paced, fun, serious, dark, and hilarious. She sprinkled in funny stories and witty writing in between more serious topics.

“Girls with their hair down at the gym. Unless you’re covering horrible burn marks like that girl from The Craft, pull that shit up in a ponytail.”

Totally! I am always baffled at these women in my gym who don’t pull their hair up while they workout. It would make me crazy!

She talked about her dad’s MS diagnosis, her parent’s divorce, sexual assault she experienced, a domestic violence relationship she was in when she was in her 20’s, gun violence, and her issues with food:

“Her restrictions did not have the desired effect. Instead of giving me a healthy in-moderation-only attitude towards shitty-for-you food, I acted like an Amish kid on Rumspringa any time I was near it.”

I can totally relate to the above! That was my experience as a kid, too.

“So we signed up for this Crossfit-type insane workout and actually went most days. It’s one of those programs that puts you through Navy SEAL-style guerrila warfare training that is completely over-the-top and unnecessary unless you’re a runway model or about to compete in the Hunger Games. But we went. Every day we were on the verge of death. Sweating and wheezing. Walking out shaking and dizzy.”

That made me laugh out loud. So true.

“I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.”

So while the book was less about her comedy career and more about her life experiences, it was a good read and very engaging. It was also empowering and uplifting (like the above quote).

Very good book!

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5 ) Patient H.M: A Story of Memory, Madness and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

This was a really interesting book. It was about patient HM, who was one of the first patients in brain surgery/lobotomy and amnesia research. The author was the grandson of the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery on HM and he goes through his grandfather’s records and does years of research to put together this “memoir.”

I’ve read other books about this topic and this one was good because there was the personal aspect of the research since the author was related to the surgeon. There were parts of the book that needed some editing down and I found myself losing interest but then it would pull me back in and I’d be fascinated again. So based on that, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s worth a read, especially if you’re interested in science.

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6 ) The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

HOLY COW WAS THIS BOOK GOOD! Seriously! The first paragraph of the book started like a cannon explosion and you were on the edge of your seat for the rest of the ride. It truly did suck you in at the beginning and kept you guessing.

Tanya is on the run after her husband dies accidentally. She goes through the process of packing essentials, getting a new identity and going on the run like someone trained as a secret agent. You start to wonder, how is she so good at this? She changes her identity many times in the book as she goes on the run and the story unfolds quickly. It’s a fun read and keeps you guessing until the very end.

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for doing these little book reviews. I’ve read many books on your recommendation alone and find that we have very similar tastes in literature. I’ve been in a reading desert lately–having read a couple of stinkers–so this post was timely. Thanks again!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I love talking books. 🙂
      I hear ya. I went through a similar reading desert and felt very “meh” about a bunch of things I read. And a few I never finished because I just didn’t like them. I’m glad I could finish this post with such a high recommendation on a book. I loved the Passenger!

  2. I always enjoy your book reviews and we seem to have similar tastes. I love Linda Castillo have binge read all her Kate books. I tried to read both The Passenger and The Things We Wish Were True but I abandoned both of them. Thanks again for the reviews.

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