October was a big Louise Penny month for me! I've been slowly working my way through the series, allowing myself to read one book a month, but with fickle library holds it worked out that I read two. How the Light Gets In is number nine in the series and so far my very favorite. It had a great "murder of the week" case, plus the ongoing story about the corruption in the Surete came to a climax. It was thrilling and suspenseful and all of the beloved characters showed some faults and weaknesses that mad them even more real. I love how Penny uses poems, history, food and art throughout her series and this one was really cool to read her introduction about getting the title from Leonard Cohen (love him even more!). After that whirlwind, it was kind of nice to slow down and enjoy Gamache's well-deserved retirement in Three Pines in The Long Way Home. The more I think about it, this was a really great book that helped you learn more about the community of Three Pines, but reading it right after my favorite I was initially just lukewarm about it. In summary, if you haven't read this series yet I don't think you'll be disappointed. It takes a little while to really get truly amazing, but by book four it will be all you want to read.
I read Conversations with Friends because I loved Normal People. In my opinion the latter was the better of the two, but I really like how honest and real Sally Rooney writes her characters. Something about her style is refreshing and enjoyable to me. I'd happily read anything else she writes!
I already talked about Mexican Gothic in this post, but I'll just recap by saying it was a great Halloween read. Perfect amount of spooky gloom and not too terrifying!
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is one that will stay with me for a long time. I read Remains of the Day last year and I actually liked this even more. The boarding school setting is something I always enjoy and it starts off pretty typical as you meet the characters and find out about various cliques and favorite teachers. Soon you realize, from odd phrases sprinkled into the dialogue, that this isn't quite a normal boarding school. In my mind, it's a modern day Frankenstien, that asks, "just because we can, should we?" This is definitely a standout of my year in reading.
A good friend of mine recommended B.A, Shapiro's The Muralist and I was glad she added it to my radar. I always enjoy a book that floats between two time periods and this one follows a modern day young woman who works at a Christie's auction house and her aunt, an artist that vanished in 1940. It was fun to read about the NYC art scene on the cusp of WWII and features Jackson Pollack, Mark Rathko and even Eleanor Roosevelt. It was also fascinating to read about the immigration process and how difficult it was for Jewish Europeans to be granted refuge. A lot of history along with a spellbinding story.
BONUS: I just adored the book I read aloud to my kids this month: Fish in a Tree. I wasn't sure what it was about but it became clear to me that the troubled protagonist was suffering from dyslexia. This story is her journey into learning how to read, how to ask for help and how to make connections with people. It slayed me! So good.
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