It can be totally overwhelming to pick a new book and when reading time is limited I want to make sure that my choices are going to be well worth it. About once a month, I share my reading list in the hopes that it makes your reading list a bit easier to navigate and more importantly helps you discover books you really love. After all, life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy!
On My Nightstand This Month
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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Somehow in my educational experiences I never ended up reading this book and when I saw the buzz around this book both for it’s political message and the newly released mini-series on Hulu, I knew I wanted to read it. This is my first book by Atwood, who’s writing style can take some getting used to. The narration is done by Offred, a handmaiden in a new society that values women only for their ability to give birth, who still remembers her old life and weaves in and out of the memories that she has. Both a warning and a satire of policies that institute morality, Atwood uses the novel to speak to much bigger themes. I did find the book thought provoking and at times eerily foreshadowing of some of today’s political arguments but overall it wasn’t my favorite style of writing and I wished the ending had more conclusions to the mysteries of many elements of this dystopian world.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
I haven’t read any of the Shopoholic series for which Kinsella is best known but I saw this YA novel recommended and thought I’d give it a try. I will admit the fun cover was a deciding factor. Audrey is a British teen who’s found herself battling some mental illness after an “incident” at school. She wears dark sunglasses, even inside with her family, in order to keep the world out but when her brother’s friend Liam starts coming around, Audrey has to decide whether letting someone in is worth disrupting the safe cocoon she’s built. I enjoyed this book for it’s quirky writing and fun characters (Audrey’s mom was charmingly hilarious) and for the gentle but eye opening way it acknowledges the many ways that we deal with our mental health, especially teens. It would be a good mother/daughter read as well. For fans of Elinor and Park or John Greene but without as much tragedy.
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallero
This came out just a few weeks ago as the second novel of the Charlotte Holmes Series. I really enjoyed the first one and you can see my review for it here but was kind of disappointed with this sophomore attempt. Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson team up again as the ancestors of The Holmes and Watson and attempt to locate a missing uncle while traipsing across Europe for the Christmas holidays. While the first book saw them solving a specific mystery, this one seemed to wander a bit more and involved a much more complicated plot line that ultimately I didn’t find as easy to follow. There was also less banter between Watson and Holmes, which was one of my favorite parts of the first novel. If you enjoyed A Study in Charlotte, you might still want to pick this up since I’m guessing there is more to come in the series but otherwise, I’m not sure I”d recommend this one.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I just finished this one yesterday. It’s my book club’s selection for April and wow, what this a great selection. I can’t wait to discuss it with others which makes it a perfect book club pick. Two British women, a pilot and a spy, are shot down over France during WWII and these two best friends must work to find each other. There are two different perspectives in the story which make it an interesting literary read and the writing is tight and well voiced. The book is marketed as YA but I think only older teens would appreciate the complex themes and the higher vocabulary. The first few chapters are a bit confusing as they’re told as a series of flashbacks but hang in there because it’s totally worth it and when you get to the end you’ll want to re-read it to see what you missed the first time. Perfect for readers who enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (Audiobook)
In order to buy myself some peace in the car on the way to school, we’ve been listening to audiobooks. My boys are 4 and 7 and the both love listening (and are very quiet for them) so I’ve been grabbing a few titles from the library. I’ve seen lots of recommendations for The Penderwicks but when I saw the audiobook was available I grabbed it. It’s a delightful story of 4 sisters who, along with their father, spend the summer in a cottage on the grounds of the great Arundel Hall. Their adventures lead them to all kinds of mischief and our whole family has come to love the Penderwick sisters very much. The audio version is very well done and I think the various voices the narrator uses help my boys to follow the story more easily. They’ve been begging to listen to it each morning so I’m glad there are several more books in the series we can move on to. You can grab the audiobook for free with Amazon’s 30 day free trial of Audible, if your library doesn’t have a copy.
What have you been reading this month? Need help finding your next title? Leave me a comment with a few books you’ve recently loved and I’ll recommend a new title for you.