Though my month started out very slow in the reading department (my recovery and the medication I was on made it hard for me to read), I greatly picked up the pace and completed seven books this month. A thrilling way to start the year and I expect to have another awesome year of great books ahead of me. Here’s what I finished:
Brain on Fire: I started listening to this audiobook in December, but finished it this month. I found this memoir fascinating about a 24-year-old journalist who developed a rare autoimmune disorder that nearly cost her her life. The audiobook was tremendously well done. Highly recommend, especially for fans of When Breath Becomes Air.
The Sun is Also a Star: Many friends raved about the YA book by best-selling author Nicola Yoon. It was a Book of the Month select in December 2016. I decided to give it a go. The story about a Korean American boy and a Jamaican girl who fall in love in one day was captivating, yet I didn’t love it. I felt like the end was way too rushed and left me unsatisfied. This book would definitely appeal to fans of Eleanor and Park.
Small Great Things: I read so many rave reviews of Jodi Picoult’s new book that I bought it at the end of 2016. I read this 450-page book in 2 days and though we are in the first month of the year, I am confident it will be one of my favorite reads of 2017. This book grapples with power and racism in America through the story of an unfair accusation of an African American woman in the death of a newborn son of a white supremacist. I cried multiple times as I read the book and can’t stop thinking about it. I implore you to read this book. (Friends have told me that the audio book is also excellent.)
Anne of Green Gables – read by Rachel McAdams: I have loved Anne of Green Gables almost my whole life. I read the book and saw the Megan Fellows movie for the first time in third grade. Over the course of my life, I have watched the movies 100s of times. It brings me comfort and joy unlike any other story. Since 25 years has passed, I decided it was time to read it again. I never thought anyone could do Anne as well as Megan Fellows, but Rachel McAdams came very, very close. The audio book was simply wonderful.
Check out this video of Rachel McAdams discussing it and her love of Anne and the book.
The Paris Wife: Fans of Circling the Sun will enjoy this book about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley and one true love. Set mostly in the 20s and spanning from Chicago to Paris and Spain, The Paris Wife honestly portrays the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of the jazz age. People have recommended this book to me for years and while I enjoyed it alright, I didn’t feel like it lived up to the hype. Hadley wasn’t terribly interesting, and I found myself more invested in the story of Ernest pursuing his career above all else, including the relationships that should have mattered most.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant: I found this book at my local used book store and bought it on a whim, not knowing anything about it. Well, I loved it! When reporter Vivian Schuyler receives an old suitcase said to belong a relative (Violet Grant) that hasn’t been heard from in 50 years, Vivian sets out to learn what happened. Alternating between Vivian in 1964 and Violet in 1912, the book’s 500+ pages fly. I read it in just a few days. Truly delightful and now I am clamoring to read more by the author Beatriz Williams.
Lily and the Octopus: So I don’t know if I should give them book 2 stars or 4 stars, which I guess by default makes it 3 stars. This book, about a man and his love of his dog who is dying (the octopus is a tumor), was on so many to be read lists last year that I felt like I had to read it, though my gut told me it wasn’t my kind of book. I read it in just over 24 hours, so that would make you think I would love it, but it was a) an easy read b)I just wanted to get it done and c)I skimmed some of the boring parts. It was sweet and I teared up at one point, but some portions were over the top. I can’t say I would recommend this book unless you are a huge pet lover and like reading sad books.
Also, in case you missed our big news, Matthew’s new children’s book When God Made You releases at the end of the month. If you have little ones in your life, you will definitely want to own a copy of this wonderful book. The lyrical prose are rich in truth, and the illustrations are truly spectacular. Please take a minute to click here and pre-order a copy (it’s just $8.75). You won’t be charged until it ships. Pre-orders ensure enough books are available when a book releases and are INCREDIBLY important. Thank you, thank you!
The February selections are live on Book of the Month. If you haven’t tried this fun subscription, get your first month for just $5. (I selected Pachinko, though Behind Her Eyes and The Animators both look really good too!).