book club, book recommendations, book review, books

The Power in Putting Down Books

I’ve become impatient as I’ve aged.

Or maybe more discerning.

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two.

Ironically, as the kids have grown and I’ve found myself with more time for reading, I’ve become less patient with the books I read and less willing to just stick it out. Because really, if I can’t stand the book after 10 or 20%, what am I waiting for?

I actually get a bit of a thrill out of putting a book down. I feel like I’m telling myself that I can trust my intuition; that I’m good enough not to waste my time; that I’m worth the enjoyment and not the frustration. And this is true, even when I go against the current as I so often do with Goodreads and Amazon ratings. What can I say? If a book doesn’t sing to me, then I’m not willing to just endure the noise.

With that said, let’s start with books that have sung to me lately. And there have been a lot more strewn across the floor and abandoned than there have been enjoyed.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfeld: I’m not always willing to go with the flow of magical realism, but this book hooked me. Its tone is hypnotic and mysterious and the story line definitely kept me engaged. I didn’t fully even understand the ending (this is where my dad comes in handy since we are a book club of two) but I was willing to ride with it and to simply enjoy the plot and interweaving characters for the sheer pleasure of them and of the writing style.

One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk: The idea of this story caught my attention, even though it’s quite far from my normal read. It is a modern day Pygmalion story that involves social media and its influence on us. I found it quite compelling and really enjoyed the main characters and their journey. It was a light and fun summer read.

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen: As light as the last book was, this one is that heavy. What would it be like to escape your abusive relationship by being able to go into a witness protection program of sorts; by being able to disappear and create an entirely new identity? Would he find you? Would you be willing to lose everything for this new reality? Quite well done and certainly a topic that needs to be addressed, and often.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok: This is the powerful story of one girl’s struggle as an American immigrant from Hong Kong. The poverty and conditions described here are unimaginable and important to understand. I would have enjoyed the book more, I think, as an autobiography rather than a work of fiction, since it appears that much of it was autobiographical. But it was quite an engaging read.

Night Road
by Hannah Kristin: I really didn’t like the first third of this book. I thought the characters were flat and stereotypical and the story line was boring. But then – the story took off when it reached the tragic peak and did an incredible job of portraying living with grief and regret. The characters really came to life and their struggles took on a drama and internal angst that was engrossing.

With all of that said, what did I not like reading recently? Well, I’ve apparently discovered that I don’t like Japanese fiction, even if everyone else on Goodreads appears to love it. I hated – absolutely hated – The Convenience Store Woman and The Traveling Cat Chronicles (which I let myself put down after 15%!). The Friend by Sigrid Nunez felt oppressively pretentious and I left it on the curb, as the dog in the story had been. Finally, Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans was so confusing that I laughed out loud at the nonsensical style after about 10% and left that heart to straighten out on its own.

Other books I’ve abandoned lately? Forgiveness Road, Normal People, In West Mills, Family Matters and Lean on Pete. I told you – I’ve been very busy, very testy, and very discerning.

I’m currently reading After the End by Claire Macintosh and Summer’s Child by Diane Chamberlain.

I’d LOVE to hear what you’re reading, hear why you disagree with me about some of these books and hear what you love!

Happy reading to all!

 

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