What I'm Reading – Leave Me

This book should have resonated with me. Much like the main character, I’m also middle aged woman with too much to do and too little time, who also fantasizes about running away and starting a new life from time to time. (And I’m also a big fan of Forman’s YA titles.) Unlike me, Maribeth Klein, the main character, actually does run away from everything.

And yet…the pacing was slow, the plot was predictable, and I never found Maribeth Klein to be particularly compelling (obviously here’s where she and I differ). ūüôā

Plus I kept wanting to whack Maribeth upside the head when she kept ignoring the obvious symptoms of her heart attack. (This is not a spoiler – the heart attack precipitates Maribeth’s flight.)

Leave Me was published by Algonquin Books in early September (I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review). It’s been getting positive reviews elsewhere, so you still may want to give it a try if the premise sounds interesting. Let me know what you think!

What I'm Reading – A Great Reckoning

Every August I look forward to settling in with the newest Louise Penny. Penny’s crime novels¬†center on the tiny town of Three Pines, located in Quebec. A Great Reckoning is the twelfth in her Chief Inspector Gamache series.

There are times I wonder why I like these books. Sometimes they are a little too cozy for my taste, or they veer into sentimentality. But I still come back to them. Throughout the series, the characters all struggle with questions of how to keep going in the face of pain, horror and loss. If the answers are sometimes cheesy, they are also often incredibly poignant and beautiful.

Plus the town of Three Pines has such a charming, storybook feel (even in the face of recurring evil), that I usually start checking real estate listings from Quebec. And I’m usually hungry, thanks to the frequent bistro scenes. (Just waiting for a Three Pines cookbook to make its way to the marketplace.)

While this could be read as a standalone, there are enough themes, characters and history carrying through from past novels that newcomers might want to start at the beginning of the series.

A Great Reckoning will be published on August 30, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press. I received an advanced copy via¬†NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What I'm Reading – The Underground Railroad

This book. Wow. This book.

I pre-ordered The Underground Railroad¬†for my library months ago. I love Colson Whitehead’s work (Sag Harbor, Zone One) and was so excited to see he had a new novel coming out. Then when I got an ARC via NetGalley (in exchange for an honest review), I did a happy dance around my house for hours.

By now the book has made the news,¬†now that it’s an Oprah’s Book Club pick and because of its early release date. (The book was originally slated to come out in September, which is why I thought I had more time to prepare a review.)

The Underground Railroad charts the journey of an enslaved African named Cora. She is born into slavery and escapes Рfor a time Рon the underground railroad (which is an actual railroad). The novel is fierce and brutal, poignant and heartbreaking.

There’s a spareness and remoteness to the tone and writing, which brings¬†the realities of slavery into a sharp, jagged, visceral reading experience. These things happened. These wounds were caused. These lives were brutally cut short. This humanity was stripped.

This is essential reading.