Books, books, books – is there anything else worth talking about amongst the humidity and back sweat sweeping through Brooklyn? I’ve been trying to cut back on buying books this year and while I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my word, tonight I splurged and now have “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” and “Every Girl Can” on their way to Google. If you have any recommendations, please send them this way, but until then, these are some of my recent recs for your summer TBR list.
A Definite Read
The Improbability of Love – For the past six months almost every BookTuber I follow has been raving about this novel set amongst the galleries of London’s art scene. The story is told from six intersecting narratives that begin to collide after an aspiring chef, Annie, buys a mysterious painting from a pawn shop. As you might guess, the painting is a super famous work of art that is being hunted by a series of people determined to keep the piece’s history a secret. The story could have easily become just another art chase ala “The DaVinci Code,” but due to Hannah Rothschild’s clever use of the painting as one of the narrators and the story’s surprise plot twists, I couldn’t put this down. Favorite book of the summer, hands down. If “Improbability of Love” is very your style, also consider “Modern Lovers” and “The Portable Veblen.”
Nimona – Beautifully illustrated and written, this dark comedy of a “villain” and his shapeshifting sidekick Nimona is a sweet story of the power of friendship overcoming the tragedy of the past. Nimona is a snarky, sassy sidekick whose enthusiasm for destruction and villainy comes to a head when the secrets of her past come into question. If you liked “Lumberjanes” (my favorite comic also by this same author) and “Through the Woods,” this book will be a light, quick, and enjoyable read for you.
Beautiful Ruins – People have been losing their minds over “Beautiful Ruins” for the past two years and finally, with summer hot on my heels, it felt like the right time to read it. The story takes place in the differing worlds of the Italian coast in 1962 and present day Hollywood as an almost love affair comes back to transform the lives of five different people. While I don’t quite agree with NPR review that it is “a literary miracle” (cue eye roll), this was one of my favorite books I have read this year.
The Meh List
This is the second graphic novel from Alison Bechdel, author of “Fun Home,” that revolves around her complicated, misunderstood relationship with her mother. Unlike “Fun Home,” Bechdel is writing about a parent who is still living which leads to the text to use most psychological research than personal experience to propel the story. Despite my best efforts to not compare it to “Fun Home,” “Are You My Mother?” left me wanting a story as rich and reflective as Bechdel’s previous work. While I am glad I read it, I am still at a loss as to who exactly I would recommend this book to.
And finally, The Mystery of Mercy Close. While I am the biggest fan of Marian Keyes – she’s one of the few authors I’ve read everything they’ve written – I did not enjoy this novel at all. The story dragged on without much purpose and suddenly wrapped up in the end without any clues to help the reader figure out the mystery on their own.
For all my book thoughts, should you be able to handle them, here is my ever growing column.