Here’s what I’ve been reading this summer:
Divergent series by Veronica Roth
This series went the way of The Hunger Games, where I couldn’t put the first book down, tolerated the second, and was ready to poke my eyes out by the third. Can someone please point me towards a young adult trilogy that doesn’t subsequently get worse?
Matched series by Ally Condie
1984 + Twilight – useless heroine – vampires. Really clean and easy read, but followed the trend described above.
The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
I picked up this book without knowing what it was really about, and worried a little when I found it included some political commentary about Colombia. I’m not super aware of current events if they’re not royal family related, but I kept reading. Even though so much of this novel is about the setting, it was so well-written that I forgot I knew nothing about Colombia.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Public service announcement: Not all New York Times Bestsellers are created equal. This novel could have been about 400 pages shorter. I don’t think this would have helped the unreliable narrator be any more likable, but it would have helped me not hate it so much. Long story short: a boy steals a picture of a goldfinch, won’t stop taking about it for 800 pages.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
This is how you do historical fiction. Written from a slave and slave holder’s point of view, Sue Monk Kidd knows how to write strong female characters you can love.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This book about a missionary family that moves to the Congo to spread Christianity had been on my to read list for a while. If there’s any place I know less than Colombia, it’s the Congo. I had to stop a few pages in and read the Wikipedia entry on the Congo in the sixties. I was not expecting this book to haunt me like it did.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
After my sobering Congo read, I turned to young adult fiction again, hoping to rest in a story of high school crushes. This is not what I was looking for. The narrator’s dad is a veteran suffering from PTSD, and she just can’t catch a break.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Eat Pray Love meets Into the Wild. The book reviews promised an inspiring read, but I was not inspired. The author writes about her time spent hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the nineties, and how much she was able to change. It’s a good thing Reese Witherspoon will be playing her in the film adaptation. Reese, please save us from unlikable characters.
Currently reading: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
I hadn’t noticed how dissatisfied I was with the books I’ve been reading until I wrote this. Maybe it’s my fault for not knowing how to pick good books without the guidance of a syllabus, but it’s been so long since I’ve read a book that has filled me. I think it’s okay for readers to want more. I know I do.