My Five Fave: Books Recently Read

I’ve been doing a lot of reading the last few months. I have a little book club of ladies and that’s been a big encouragement. Taking vacation in February also helped me flip through hundreds of pages. But I realized I had a running list of books that I want to read and I just never get around to it.

No more — I’m a reading machine and I’m reading what I want to. (And what book club wants me to.) And I have a new five fave to share — just some books that I ended up liking more than I expected. So I’m not going to tell you about the books themselves… you can read the summaries on Amazon. Instead, I’m just going to tell you how they affected me.

1. American Gods  2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane  3. The Handmaid’s Tale  4. The Sun is Also a Star  5. Dark Matter

My brother had been recommending American Gods to me for at least a year before I finally decided to pick it up. After being on a Harry Potter binge for months (I had never read the books before), I thought a good break would be a nice adult novel. I’d heard that Neil Gaiman’s book fell into several genres at once, be it fantasy or thriller or horror, but I didn’t know what to expect. I ended up falling in love with the book and Gaiman. I read it with such intensity that I could picture every character, every scene and couldn’t get enough of it. Even though it’s been over a year since I’ve read it, I’ve had conversations with friends about it like I just finished it. And I may have gotten a little excited to hear that Starz was making the book into an original series. I cannot wait to see it because the casting is spot on… I mean, it’s ridiculously good.

If you haven’t read Neil Gaiman, I highly recommend him. And start with this book — you will not be disappointed.

I talk about books I’ve read with several different folks and a high school friend said if I like Gaiman, I should ready Good Omens next. I did. And I was really hard to follow along because there were so many characters and half of the book was written by Terry Pratchett — I liked it, but I didn’t do flips over it. So I took a break from Gaiman for a while, but at another recommendation I downloaded The Ocean at the End of the Lane for our cruise earlier this year. It was a quick read (even for me as a slow reader), but so enjoyable. The characters were odd while the story was weird and creepy and scary at times and unexpected… made me fall in love with Gaiman all over again. It’s a little trippy but such a fun read.

With book club, we’re taking turns picking books and The Handmaid’s Tale was one that I think we weren’t expecting to take away so much from. I’m not big on dystopian novels; I enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy and book one of the Divergent series, but I did not like 1984. Like, at all. So I didn’t think I’d like this book much either. But with the narration from a woman’s point of view, a handmaid’s point of view, and knowing that the world she’s living in is only about four years from the lifestyle she used to know… let me just say it was a great book club discussion. We talked a lot about what we experience now with women’s rights, even discussed the new president and his appointments, and asked ourselves “Could this happen to us?”

We’re also looking forward to watching Hulu’s original The Handmaid’s Tale and seeing Atwood’s story come to life.

The Sun is Also a Star was another book I started and finished on our cruise. I’d heard that the main characters go on a journey through NYC together, but was delighted to see how the story was told; from both of their points of view, with interjections of stories of the people the interact with or a quick history. It’s a YA book, but it’s very well written, thought out and I didn’t feel like I was reading a teenager’s book; I was just reading about two teenagers.

This month I got to pick the book for book club! And I’m really proud of us for all choosing different kinds of books to read — I’m happy to add a little science fiction to that list with Dark Matter. I hadn’t read Blake Crouch before, but I heard that Wayward Pines was great and saw only good reviews for this book. But I really enjoyed it. Like I said, I’m a slow reader. On vacation I can find time to read a book in two days, but when I have work and chores and life… it can take me weeks to finish a book. I had Dark Matter completed in three days and I was yelling at myself for reading it so soon because book club doesn’t meet for another two weeks! It’s inventive and explores alternate realities full of twists and thrills and… you should totally read it.

My reading hasn’t stopped either. I’ve actually gotten more excited since my friend encouraged me to get the Goodreads app. I linked it to my Kindle and so many titles appeared, books I’ve downloaded over the years… made me proud of myself to know how often I still read. (And this doesn’t even count the real-life books I’ve read!) Albeit, they are mostly fiction, but none the less they are books. Check out my Goodreads page if you want to see what on my list.