Hi readers! How are you today? Have you read any excellent books lately?
I haven’t written a book list since the first one back in March but I am always a particularly hungry reader in summer, a relic from lazy August days spent curled in my grandparents’ beach hut so I thought it was about time for another one. I’d love to know your recommendations below!
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
This broke my heart, once, twice, over and over again. A powerful study on grief and a loving tribute to the author’s late wife. Have your handkerchief at the ready.
Grace Notes, A Shimmer of Something and The Wet Engine by Brian Doyle
Doyle is a Catholic writer, but if you don’t mind sparing references to various saints and the Virgin Mary, he is also a thought-provoking and poetic essayist, covering an array of topics from summer camp to miscarriage to the trials of the human heart. One of my favourite writers.
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
After finishing the author’s essay collection This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage, I was intrigued to dip into her first novel. She wrote the book in her twenties and describes the process of doing so in detail in her essays. It was a charming and well-written tale – nothing hard-hitting or provocative, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
My book club read Wolitzer’s 2014 novel The Interestings this month, which is a compelling and charming read – the story’s scope and broad time frame made the reading experience a little like watching a few box sets of a favourite television series. I was inspired to dip into more of Wolitzer’s writing and thought The Wife was excellent, with a completely jaw-dropping plot twist that made me wish I was half as talented at constructing stories as the author!
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
This is a non-fiction book that reads like a novel, charting Rakoff’s year working as an assistant at an old school New York literary agency. It is beautifully written and, I think, a must-read for anyone in their teens or twenties who is slightly unsure about their future.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I really wanted to love this book and for the most part I did. It is a tale spanning Europe during the Second World War, documenting the stories of two young children – one German, one French – as they grow up amidst bombings and occupations. The writing was mildly overwrought throughout, but Doerr’s captivating way of story-telling won out in the end and I wept through the entire last chapter.
Other recent enjoyable reads: The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler, Julia by Otto de Kat, The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies by Brian Doyle and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve just received The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani in the post…looks like my weekend reading is sorted! x