This year, in addition to randomly selecting books at the library, I decided to look at some lists of books recommended by others and order them in to my library branch. After all, the library branch in my community is quite small and the selection can be disappointing sometimes when I do a random walk about. Luckily, this is just one branch of the library so books can be ordered in for free from all the other dozen or so locations-and they are delivered to my branch. It is only February and I have read a bunch of fabulous books-some better than others-but a lot of great ones that are must reads…in my opinion.
So Long, Marianne by Kari Hesthamar-I literally read this book-the whole thing-on January 1st of this year and it may be the most enjoyable book I read this year. I loved it. It based on a period of time in the life of a Norwegian woman named Marianne. She falls in love with a man, they move to Greece where he writes a successful novel, they meet all kinds of other artists, they marry and then he abandons her and their young son for another woman, she meets a new man who happens to be Leonard Cohen, and their relationship is explored. Marianne is often unsatisfied but makes the best out of her life, learns to love, learns to grow and adapt, and a lot more. It is a realistic love story in which love can come to an end with one person or another due to different lifestyles, values, and situations.
Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique-This book follows a pair of Caribbean sisters as they grow up. I felt this book had potential but then wavered in some parts. Other parts were very interesting and entertaining. The novel is probably also a bit longer than necessary.
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan-A few years after the Titanic, another ship sinks and some of the passengers make it out on to the lifeboats. The plot of this novel focuses around one lifeboat and what goes on in it while the group is stranded at sea for 3 weeks. After rescue, some are arrested for their actions and tried. It explores moral dilemmas. I wonder if, in today’s day and age, men would sacrifice themselves for women? Definitely enjoyed this book and think most will.
Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron-This novel takes place in Rwanda and follows the life of a young man with Olympic dreams. He is of Tutsi background and the novel illustrates the difficulty of life in the 1990s. A well written and enjoyable book with serious themes. The history of African countries is rarely taught in schools in North America but it really should be. I think so many people would have no knowledge about anything going on/that went on if it were not for films and novels-even the media sometimes will only give a few minutes to something serious when it is far away or not involving those who have the power to control coverage.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter-This novel is about a string of characters connected in odd ways. It all starts in Italy when a young hotelier hosts an American actress in his establishment. A few crazy days follow and the novel goes back and forth in time to connect these two characters with some modern ones. Not my kind of novel but still was somewhat of an enjoyable read.
A Grown Up Kind of Pretty- by Joshilyn Jackson-This novel is about three women in the same family who are 15 years apart due to teen pregnancies. It follows a difficult period in their lives when one of them has a stroke while also bouncing back to earlier days and memories to tie the story together. I found this novel quite entertaining as it contains a mystery and some modern day adventure as well. A nice read that I gobbled up in a few days during my ski trip.
A Walk Across the Sun- by Corban Addison-This book is about human trafficking and the sex trade. The main character is a lawyer whose Indian born wife leaves him after the death of their daughter. He ends up going to India after her and due to some drama at work to take on an internship with a trafficking NGO. The rest of the novel involves one particular case he gets involved in and his personal life. A book that is hard to put down once you start as you wonder where the story-and the characters-will go next.
Dollbaby- by Laura Lane McNeal-This book takes place in New Orleans during the 1960s. The setting alone makes it worth the read if you love New Orleans like I do. The novel is about a young woman from Washington State who is dropped off at her never before spoken of eccentric grandmother’s home in New Orleans after her father passes on. The main themes include race, belonging, and family. Great characters, lots of fun, and a great setting. I finished it in two days.