What the cat dragged in – mini book reviews for random reading

November 23, 2014 at 10:33 am 3 comments

imagesMy reading has been a bit odd lately and all over the place.  While of some the books I have read really have been good, I just don’t have a lot to say about them. Instead I have been waiting for that one book that I felt like writing about and it hasn’t come. But it is cold and snowy and time to get reading so rather than waiting I thought it was time to throw this list out there.

1. The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls: With this book, Walls returns to what she is really good at – writing about kids who have to overcome issues with their absentee parents.  Twelve year old Bean and her older sister are abandoned by their mother, left in an apartment eating the same frozen meals over and over.  They finally decide to the hit the road and head across the country to find their estranged family and visit their mother’s hometown.  Of course in true Walls style, the journey of finding their family is heartbreaking and life changing.  I really loved the characters in this book so much so that there were moments where I really just wanted to hug both girls and tell them everything will be okay.

2. Paying Guests by Sarah Waters: This book bothers me, and I am about to tread dangerous water here.  I feel like there is a big hole in LGBT literature.  But just because that exists doesn’t mean that an author should get to submit a substandard story about that community and get it published. I feel like this novel is a recycled story that I have read a thousand times but with the twist that it is about two women.  Frances and her mother, hit hard by the post WWI economy in London, decide to rent out the top of their home to a young married couple.  Ultimately, Frances and the young woman fall in love but of course the husband is in the way so….I think you see where this is going.  Waters can write, and I have really liked some of her books, but I do expect her to put forth some effort. And this was effortless, in a bad way.

3. The Lie by Helen Dunmore: Another post-WWI book in England that addresses the issue of post traumatic stress disorder. Daniel who served in the trenches returns to his hometown but decides to camp on the land of the town’s recluse.  When she dies she leaves her land to Daniel and so he farms the land and lives simply while grappling with his memories of everything that happened in the war.  This book is beautifully written and I think it is worth reading. I will say that I think it was a bit over my head so when I finished it I just thought “huh” in that “well that happened” kind of way.

4. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: I love this author.  She takes seemingly simple lives of stay at home moms and delves into them, showing all the complexity and hardships that every life has.  It is brilliantly done because they aren’t really fluff books, but they read so easily it feels like a guilty pleasure.  This book opens with a cop investigating a murder so you know things end badly but in the next scene a well put together stay at home mom who has just turned 40 donning ridiculous high heels twists her ankle while trying to yell at another driver on the way to school.  So it is silly but real (I sprain my ankle all the time) while hitting on some really tough issues.  Moriarty is never heavy-handed in her storytelling and her light touch is the perfect example of what a good writer can do and say without pulling out a soapbox.

5. Night Film by Marisha Pessl: This book was pretty amazing and, if I am honest, scared me to death in parts.  Cordova is film director with a cult following.  Scott McGrath is an investigative journalist whose life was ruined when he began investigating Cordova years before only to find himself slapped with a defamation suit and a very large monetary judgment.   However, Cordova’s daughter, the beautiful, young and talented Ashley, is found dead on the floor of an abandoned N.Y. City warehouse in what appears to be a suicide.  Scott can’t help but find himself once again obsessed with Cordova and trying to find out what the truth is about Cordova’s daughter, his large estate in upstate New York, the underground movie releases, the rumors of devil worship, the disappearance of many of the actors from his films, and countless other mysteries that make up Cordova.  I will warn you, the truth is hard to figure out so for some readers that might be unsatisfying. But I really enjoyed the ride so I was okay with ending the book with some unanswered questions.

And so these are my random reads for the last month or so.  It is now time to find my favorite winter blanket, make sure I have all the tea I need and line up the books.  Happy reading and keep warm.






Entry filed under: November 2014 reads. Tags: , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lolly  |  November 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Have you read “The Dinner”, by Herman Koch? Or “The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared”. I’m going to recommend “Night Film” to my book club next!

    • 2. Emily C  |  November 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      I haven’t read either one but I will put them on the list!! Thank you, I am always looking for recommendations.

  • 3. Claire 'Word by Word'  |  December 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Some great cosy reads there, I like the sound of The Silver Star, it feels like it would make a great movie, one where you need to be at home with a blanket.


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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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