I had always found comfort between rows and rows of books: some familiar, some foreign, stacks of old friends and piles of new friends to be found.
-Emery Lord, “The Start of Me and You”
I cracked up at this Italian version of “Green Eggs and Ham” in Florence a couple weeks ago - I think Sam I Am would definitely have enjoyed prosciutto ;)
Cork Dork, Bianca Bosker: I picked this up in Colorado and ended up staying up my entire late flight home reading it - I’m fascinated with the wine world (which is news to nobody), and this chronicle of a journalist’s decision to attempt to become a certified sommelier - in just a year - was beautifully written, told a unique and riveting story, and taught me so much! Definitely worth a read if you’ve watched any of the “Somm” documentaries on Netflix or have a more than passing interest in wine.
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett: Another CO purchase - I somehow never read this despite its incredible critical acclaim, and I’m so glad I remedied that. The story of a high-profile political/corporate birthday party turned terrorist hostage situation sucked me in after the first chapter. Weaving in so much of the opera world that I love (the only female hostage is a world-famous soprano), the characters were beautifully drawn and the story’s gut-wrenching conclusion rocked me.
Every Note Played, Lisa Genova: This was a random find on Scribd - for serious readers, I really recommend/enjoy the site - telling the story of a world-class concert pianist’s diagnosis and illness with ALS. It additionally chronicles his broken marriage, frayed relationship with his daughter and struggle with his father and siblings - a fiercely intense, gorgeously-written novel. The way Ms. Genova illustrates the ravages of the disease was at times hard to read, but I think good writing sometimes isn’t easy to read…isn’t that the point?
Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis: Kels recommended this after she read it this summer, and it came at a great time for me to read it. A delightfully witty, self-deprecating self help book, geared at identifying the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves and breaking them down/reframing them to work through or overcome them.
The Proposal, Jasmine Guillory: I should have liked this more on paper, but I kept finding myself thinking as I read it - “I could’ve written this, and better.” It’s a fairly insipid love story, good for a beach read, nothing to write home about and not particularly memorable.
Welcome to Temptation, Jennifer Crusie: I had a severe need for some smart chick lit early in the month, and this fit the bill - it’s a typical smutty romance novel, but it’s also witty and incredibly entertaining, with a fresh plot that never really devolved into cliché. There’s also a murder mystery woven in, which I think is why I not only stomached this admittedly atypical read, but returned to it and enjoyed it just as much the second time.
Faking It, Jennifer Crusie: The sequel to “Welcome To Temptation,” and I may like it even better - again, it’s a love story/romance novel, but there’s also plotlines of art forgery and murder, and the characters are anything BUT perfect - quirky and relatable and fun to read. I think that’s maybe what sets Ms. Crusie’s writing apart from the Danielle Steels of the world (ugh, yuck) - her novels, while clearly written to appeal to romance readers, never rely on hackneyed tradition and are well-written and genuinely interesting reads.
The Hopefuls, Jennifer Close: I really enjoyed this novel both the first and second time - the story of two young political families in DC, and their ultimate efforts on a campaign in Texas to get one of the husbands elected to office, paints a fascinating and flawed picture of the political world.