Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld
(Drawn & Quarterly, 2017, 160 pages)
This fun collection of comics caters directly to book-lovers and English professors. I enjoy Gauld’s artistic style and dry humor and I’ve already started looking into his past work. There were a number of comics in Baking with Kafka that I wanted to rip out and post around my office and/or send to friends. I’d recommend this to anyone who has an appreciation for literary-based humor. 😉
Just to get a taste for a taste of his work:
Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
(Scribner, 2017, 309 pages)
Mrs. Fletcher can kind of quickly be described as a novel about discovery. Eve Fletcher is about to find herself an empty-nester as she sends her son, Brendan, off to college. She has plans to take a class at the local community college and find other ways to entertain herself but then a text from an unknown number calling her a “MILF” opens the door to a world previously foreign to her. At the same time, Brendan is having a hard time adjusting to his new college life. While his mother is trying to learn a little more about herself and her sexuality, Brendan finds himself at odds with how to properly interact with the opposite sex.
There’s a lot more going on here than this summary can address. What I will say is that I think this would be a good book club selection because of the many issues brought up. I’ll end with the last section of the Goodreads summary:
“Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.”
I’m not sure about the word “timeless” in there, but I did think this was an entertaining read. 🙂
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
(Algonquin Books, 2018, 320 pages)
This is the story of a marriage and what happens to a couple put in a situation they never could have imagined. Roy and Celestial haven’t been married long when one night their lives are turned upside down. Roy is charged with a crime he didn’t commit and is imprisoned. As Roy and Celestial’s families fight to overturn the charges and clear his name time goes by. We get insight into the relationship and how it changes through letters the two write to each other.
When Roy’s name is finally cleared years later the only thing he wants is to return to the wife, and the life, he knew before his incarceration. But does that life still exist?
This was a powerful novel that quickly sucked me in. I didn’t want to put it down. The character development was great and I couldn’t wait to see how the story was going to play out. I’ll definitely be checking out Jones’s backlist. (pub. date February 2018)
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
(Kensington, 2017, 263 pages)
This historical romance offered a unique twist on what we normally see. Set during the Civil War we are introduced to Elle and Malcolm as the country is first struggling to come to grips with what’s happening. Elle is a free black woman working undercover as a slave to spy for the Union. Malcolm is a white man who is also spying for the Union, though in the guise of a Confederate soldier. When the two realize they’re supposed to be working together things get complicated. They have to keep their identities secret from those around them, but at the same time there’s an attraction they’re both trying to fight… Can they accomplish the task at hand without blowing their cover or falling for each other?
I appreciated the diverse angle this romance took. It got high praise and while I wanted to like it more than I did, I can understand why it got so much attention. If you’re in the market for a unique historical romance (that’s not overly steamy) this could be just what you’re looking for.
Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say
by Kelly Corrigan
(Penguin Random House, 2018, 240 pages)
This was my first time reading Corrigan’s work and I really enjoyed her style. I’ll certainly be picking up her previous titles. The content of this book was just what I needed to read. It’s all about the power of language and reflecting to think of how to act in various situations. Corrigan is able to use humor throughout the book, but there are also some heavy and emotional moments as she lets the reader into her life and explains how it is she came to the realization of what needs to be said and why.
This was a heartfelt and valuable book. I’m glad it found its way into my reading rotation.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
(William Morrow, 2018, 448 pages)
I was lucky enough to snag an Advanced Reader Copy of this book (pub. date: January 2018) which I kept hearing about… It lived up to the hype 😉
Here’s the review I posted on Goodreads:
“I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this book. I was sucked in almost immediately. Even though I was tense almost the whole time I was reading it (suspense!) I hated to put it down. This is a quick read recommended to anyone. If you’re a fan of classic suspense films you’ll appreciate The Woman in the Window that much more for all the film references throughout.
There have been comparisons to Girl on the Train but this is of a much higher caliber. I was already recommending it to people before I’d even finished. Even if thrillers/suspense aren’t what you regularly read I think you’ll enjoy this as a good gateway into the genre.”
The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
(Berkley, 2018, 352 pages)
This forthcoming novel (Feb. 2018) will make you think of Grey’s Anatomy almost the whole time you’re reading it. I was a little wary at the beginning because it felt like the author was trying too hard to show off her literary chops but then the story hooked me and I couldn’t wait to see where Martin was going to go with the book.
Zadie and Emma have been friends since college. They made it through med school and now they’re both living with their families in Charlotte, NC. But when someone from their past turns up in town the women find themselves struggling with how to reconcile a traumatic past with their present lives.
Fans of Liane Moriarty will enjoy this book.