I’m so excited to recap the books – some amazing, some not – that have been keeping me busy over the last few months. I’m splitting these posts up a bit so that you’re not trying to read through mini-reviews for like 20 books, so check back this and next week for the rest! I’ve managed to catch myself up a bit to my reading goals for the year – I’m currently at 53 out of my 80 book goal, so I’m only 3 books behind. (I had a healthy assist from the quick-read Pottermore Presents Series and I’m not ashamed in the least.) So! On to the books!
The Miniaturist (Jessie Burton)
I LOVED this book. I know that it’s gotten a few mixed reviews, but I was so enchanted by it that I immediately picked up Jessie Burton’s The Muse (see below) after I turned the last page. The Miniaturist follows the story of Nella following her marriage to a wealthy businessman in Amsterdam. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but there’s intrigue, violence, romance, and magic! I generally hate traveling with hardcover books and I found myself on the road with this one barely noticing the bulk because I was so obsessed with the story. Highly recommend!
The Muse (Jessie Burton)
I loved The Muse about as much as The Miniaturist but for totally different reasons. Where The Miniaturist feels almost claustrophobic in its setting – with nearly all the action taking place in one house – The Muse spans decades and countries and feels deliciously expansive. Taking place during the Spanish Civil War and 1960s London, Burton wonderfully sets out the mood and emotion of those times for the reader to sift through. I also really enjoyed the portrayal of the immigrant experience of the main character, Odelle, in a way that didn’t feel forced or offensive. My only disappointment in this book is that the cover wasn’t as beautifully designed as The Miniaturist, so…basically I have no complaints!
The Heart Goes Last (Margaret Atwood)
The Heart Goes Last was simultaneously delightful and disturbing (so very Atwood). The dystopia in which the main characters, Stan and Charmaine, doesn’t seem quite as doom and gloom as The Handmaid’s Tale but that’s probably because there’s a lot of humor and absurdity laced throughout the story. My general complaint about the book is that the Big Baddy is almost cartoonishly evil, but it helps to get the point across so the exaggeration serves its purpose. If you like Atwood, you’ll be a fan!
Burial Rites (Hannah Kent)
This book was so haunting. I felt as though I was in a bit of a trance while reading this book. Burial Rites follows Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be sentenced to death in Iceland, in her final months. The story felt like a gut punch. Kent does such a good job of taking a historical figure and bringing her back to life by relaying the fictional hopes and fears that Agnes experiences while waiting for her death. I felt so sad when I put the book down, not just for having finished or the subject matter, but because the way Kent write Agnes makes her feel that she’s almost a part of you. Really, really beautiful story-telling.
The Story of Forgetting (Stefan Merrill Block)
This book was predictable while remaining moving. The Story of Forgetting is a multi-generational story with a strong focus on love and loss that’s brought together with references to science and legend that help bring the story to its climax. Sometimes, even if you know where a book is going, it’s nice to sit back and be transported. I gave this a 5-star rating initially and I think I’d revise that to a strong 4, only because a bit of distance from it helped me to realize how much of the plot is dependent on filler.
I also read Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney and it was total garbage. I’m so glad that I have it on Kindle and not as a physical book because I honestly don’t think I’d be able to stand seeing it on my shelf. Total self-indulgent trash, in my opinion! No stars.
Okay – more to come soon! As we squeeze the last ounces out of summer, I hope that you’ve gotten a few good recommendations! And, if you’d like to keep up with me and my reading goals, make sure to follow along on my bookstagram, @bobbireadsbooks! Regular Today, I’m Bobbi. stuff is, as always, over on @todayimbobbi!
= Paperback • = Kindle