It’s been a month of light reading—if this month’s books were food, they’d be iceberg lettuce and rice cakes and a tall glass of Crystal Light. I think the lightness was the result of starting quite a few failed novels. I’ve never felt badly about tossing books aside unfinished if I’m not enjoying them, and I must have started at least 5 ‘heavier’ books this month that I just couldn’t get into. The light ones were the survivors, and to be honest, September was a busy, stressful month, so I’m kind of glad to look back and see that I fit in some frilly reading. Cross your fingers with me that October is much less—how to put it?—much less “I need to call the doctor for anxiety meds stat.”
One Plus One (Jojo Moyes) I know there are some diehard Jojo fans out there. I feel fairly meh about her . . . enjoyable, but not a favorite. This novel tosses together a down-on-her-luck housekeeper and one of her clients, a tech millionaire who steps in when she desperately needs a hand. It’s cute and light and fun, but ultimately pretty forgettable. I think it lacked the depth and thoughtfulness of Me Before You (reviewed here—I liked it), but if you need a quick, fun romance, it delivers. If you’re up for a romance that’s a bit more hard-hitting and thought-provoking, I’d go with Me Before You instead.
Landline (Rainbow Rowell) Maybe this will be the running theme of today’s post: Popular Authors I Think Are Meh. If Jojo can be said to have a loyal following, Rainbow is over here at the head of her own fanatical cult. The people looooove Rainbow. As for me? I’ll admit, I’ve sampled the Kool-aid—I did love Attachments. I thought it was so sweet and clever and lovable (reviewed it here). But Eleanor & Park was an enormous flop for me (I couldn’t even force myself to finish it) (but it has plenty of fans, so if you think I’m nuts and want to try it, you might like to know that it’s currently $4.99 for kindle, as of the writing of this post). Landline fell somewhere between the two for me. It follows the lackluster marriage of a comedy writer and her stay-at-home husband during one rough week during which he takes the kids home to visit his family for Christmas without her. She is only able to reach him via her old landline . . . but instead of talking to her modern-day husband, she discovers that she’s actually talking to him in the past during a similarly tumultuous week early in their relationship. Rainbow definitely has a great way of writing that is so lighthearted and lovable, but while I enjoyed it, this story didn’t do a whole lot for me. Like One Plus One, it was light and fun and enjoyable, but I never fell in love with the characters or their relationship, so I wasn’t very invested (stay together, break up . . . I don’t care).
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling) I almost feel silly including this—we’ve all read Harry Potter by now, right? But this was my first time listening to the audiobook instead of sitting down with a hard copy (which I’ve done at least half a dozen times). Between crocheting and jogging and cleaning, I have a lot of time that could be spent listening to books . . . except that I have a hard time finding audiobooks I really love. Too heavy/literary and they’re impossible to pay attention to; too lighthearted/silly and they feel like a waste of time. Jeff recommended listening to Harry Potter on audio (the series got him through his marathon training a few years back), and he was absolutely spot on. The audiobooks are fantastic, and Jim Dale brought old Harry to life in new ways. I’m halfway through The Prisoner of Azkaban now, and am loving it, too.
Counting by 7s (Holly Goldberg Sloan) This little novel is in the same vein as Wonder (which I felt fairly neutral toward) and Out of My Mind (which I loved—reviewed here). Willow, a 12-year old genius who has never had a friend, is left completely alone when her parents are killed in a car accident, but she touches and changes people and her community without even realizing it. I really liked it—the characters are lovable, Willow is sweet and quirky, and the happy-sappy ending made me a bit teary, I’ll admit. I loved seeing how Willow affected the people around her, and how she grew and adapted to her new life. My main issue with it is that all her quirks and oddities practically disappear right as her world is shattered. Early in the book, she seems like she might be autistic/obsessive compulsive (example: counting by 7s to comfort herself), but when her parents are killed, she seems to almost consciously/purposely drop her tendencies. I’ll admit, my knowledge of these things is limited, so maybe I’m wrong . . . but wouldn’t a child who uses that sort of coping mechanism (counting) cling to it more than ever if her world is disrupted? And there’s sort of a weird money dynamic throughout (warning: these might be spoilers)—one character wins the lottery; another character, whose children are hugely affected/disadvantaged by their poverty, turns out to be secretly rich (tell me, what mother would hide/hoard her own wealth and choose to raise her kids in a garage?). Just weird. But despite some flaws, I liked it a lot—it really is a lovable, sweet, heartwarming book.
What did you read this month? Any recommendations for me?
I'm linking this post up with Everyday Reading's Third Quarter Review and Link-up and Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature link-up.