I’ve loved to read my whole life. There are few things I find as relaxing as curling up with a great book and tuning out my surroundings.
I feel less interesting as a person during periods of time where I don’t read very much. It’s all too easy to get sucked up in watching TV, reading magazines, listening to podcasts — everything except reading books. So, a few years ago I set a goal for myself of reading at least 52 books per year. I don’t always meet that goal, but I’m competitive even with myself, so it helps for me to have a goal.
Friends are always asking me for book recommendations, and I love sharing what I’m reading, so here are book reviews of everything I read this month.
Normally I read a pretty even mix of fiction and non-fiction, but post-election, I really just needed to escape reality, so I only read fiction this month.
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
The Thousandth Floor is about teenagers living in a skyrise in Manhattan in the year 2118 and it was so readable. It was in the same vein as Gossip Girl and The Hunger Games. My one complaint was that it’s only the first book in a series and I’ll have to wait nine months to read the sequel!
The Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
I’ve been reading Sophie Kinsella’s books for years. While she’s most famous for her Shopaholic series, I’ve always preferred her standalone novels. The Wedding Night wasn’t one of my favorites of hers, but it was a decently written piece of fluff.
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
I’m obviously late to the party with this one. Mystic River was published in 2001 and was consequently adapted into an Academy Award-winning movie in 2003. I loved this book — a mystery set in Boston, it was right up my alley. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but after reading the book it’s definitely on my list!
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
I can’t decide how I feel about The Wonder. Donoghue’s first book, Room, is incredibly compelling so I had high expectations for this book. Part of the problem was that I really couldn’t find a hook into the main character — she was just kind of meh. As a result, it was hard to get invested in the plot. On the other hand, the premise was really interesting.
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
I HATED A Reliable Wife and found it predictable, self-indulgent and downright gross. The sex depicted in it was completely gratuitous and didn’t add anything to the plot. I can’t for the life of me figure out why people like this book.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
I read Before the Fall in less than 24 hours. It’s a gripping, fast-paced thriller. I read it on a plane on my way home for Christmas which was an odd decision considering that the plot centers on a plane that mysteriously crashes in the ocean.
The Trespasser by Tana French
Tana French is one of my favorite modern authors. She’s certainly the first author I recommend to friends who love mysteries. The Trespasser is the latest book in her “Dublin Murder Squad” series and it might be my favorite. I was up till 4:00 a.m. one night finishing it, and I almost started reading it over again just as soon as I finished it.
PS: This New York Times book review describes the magic of Tana French better than I ever could!
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie
I grew up reading Agatha Christie novels so reading The Monogram Murders, the latest story starring Hercule Poirot, everyone’s favorite Belgian detective, felt a lot like coming home. Sophie Hannah did a great job reviving characters that so many people already know and love.
The Versions of Us by Laura Burnett
Reading The Versions of Us was a great way to end 2016. It was One Day meets Sliding Doors. The storytelling was non-linear which took a little getting used to, but all the characters were so lovable. For those of you looking for a feel good story, I’d highly recommend this book.
Check back next month for my January 2017 (wow, how is it almost 2017!) book reviews, and please share your own book reviews in the comments!