Below are the last few novels that I read in 2014. Before these I read another 25 this calendar year that I mentioned on this blog in one post or another which brings me to a total of 31 novels read in the year-which is about how many I usually manage. One things on my list for the year was to ensure that there is always time to read and I am glad I have done so. So many of these novels provided, not only entertainment, but insight into many situations, places, circumstances, times, and things. I think all my reading is one of the reasons I once got the most fabulous compliment ever that I had an “excellent vocabulary”. Look forward to all the books I will read next year as well.
Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago-This is one of those take you to another world (in this case 19th century Puerto Rico) novels. It starts in Spain with a young woman obsessed by the journey to the Caribbean her explorer ancestors made. It follows her life as she marries the right person to convince to move to the island and try their hand on a plantation. It then chronicles her experiences and those of her family and the slaves that are connected to them. Some weird sex stuff was thrown in which I did not think was necessary to the story but I noticed comes up in novels by other Latin American writers. Who knows! Anyways, I would recommend this novel for when one wants to escape one’s own life!
Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick-This novel is about a stranger who comes to a small American town and gradually settles in although no one knows much about it. He buys up all kinds of real estate and takes a job as a butcher (despite not needing the work). The town begins to accept and like him. He then meets a woman who lives in the town. There is an affair. There is a murder suicide. Despite all this, there is some depth lacking but perhaps that is what makes this book have its own style. I could definitely tell it was written by a male.
Never Love a Gambler by Keith Ridgway-This is a short book comprised of three rather dark short stories. I read it on my winter cabin vacation and I was not that impressed as I do not think they are all that much my style. I would not say it is a bad read but not one that I enjoyed all that much. Generally, I think I rather dislike short stories and prefer long novels.
Lydia’s Party by Margaret Hawkins-This book is about a group of women who have known each other for years and them coming together for an annual party. However, at this annual party one of the characters has a major announcement to make.
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vadddey by Ratner- This book takes place in Cambodia and revolves around a noble family whose lives are forever changed when the Khmer Rouge arrive at their doorstep. The novel then follows their lives over the next few difficult years. The story is based on the author’s own experiences growing up. She left her home as a refugee as a child and eventually found herself in the US. A bleak tale but one that sheds light on a time and place that most of us do not stop and think of.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead- This novel is definitely one that should be read in the summer. It takes place on a beach town/island and during the two days before the wedding of a young couple. It focuses on the family of the bride (WASPS), a few of her friends, and some of their turmoils. Not the best book in terms of depth, quality, or meaning but a fun read, I thought.