My book selections have been called eclectic in the past. And they have perhaps never been more eclectic than they were in June.
We've got a post-apocalyptic thriller, a cinematic memoir, a romantic/historic mystery, a supernatural horror . . . odd stuff, this month. Odd stuff indeed.
The Children Act (Ian McEwan) I know McEwan from Atonement, which I read for a class in college and loved. In this book, an English judge must rule on whether a 17-year old leukemia patient who is also a Jehovah's Witness should be forced to receive a potentially life-saving blood transfusion against his wishes, while dealing with her crumbling marriage. Lots of interesting moral/ethical questions, and I've found myself thinking about it over and over since finishing it. I didn't love it, and the ending felt really unsatisfying to me . . . but I think it's worth looking at.
Bird Box (Josh Malerman) My sister-in-law recommended this one, and I learned too late that she was actually only recommending it to Jeff, not me ("You're not supposed to read it! It's too scary for you!"). Something--no one knows what--is causing people to kill themselves. The only way to stay safe is to not look outside. And 5 years later, one of the very few survivors must journey out in an attempt to bring her children to safety. This is creepy and quite gruesome, but so hard to put down, too. The lack of answers is frustrating, but the ambiguity may make it creepier since you fill in the blanks with whatever scares you the most.
The Splendour Falls (Susanna Kearsley) I'm on a bit of a Kearsley bender lately. Her blend of modern life with historical romance works for me. This one, though? Definitely not my favorite. She has such a nice way of writing, but I found this book slow and boring and hard to stick with. The mystery wasn't particularly mysterious, the romance wasn't all that romantic, and I never much cared whether the characters found answers to their questions. It was a relief to finish it, simply so I could mark it off and move on to something else. I'd recommend skipping this one and picking up The Rose Garden or Mariana instead.
Within These Walls (Ania Ahlborn) I always research books before I check them out--this one was the first book in many, many months that I picked up purely because it was available when I needed something to listen to. This horror is about a crime author who is invited to interview a cult leader and death row inmate responsible for the deaths of 8 people--with the catch that he must move into the house where the murders were committed (and, wouldn't you know, it turns out to be haunted). If you've watched The Following (which I started and was intrigued by, but it was too dark and creepy for me), this book has a very similar feel.
As You Wish (Cary Elwes) If you grew up watching The Princess Bride every chance you got and planning to get married in Buttercup's wedding dress and slowly shouting "aaaaaaas yoooooouuuuu wiiiiiiiiish!" while rolling down steep hills at the playground, chances are you will love this memoir by Cary Elwes (who, of course, played Wesley) about the making of the movie. And even better, if you listen on audio, the actors, director, author, etc. all read their own behind-the-scenes memories. I loved it, and am now desperate to watch the movie again.
What did you read this month?