Reading Roundup: October 2019

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

I listened to this as an audio book while coming back from a road trip. I didn't like it as much as some of Reay's other books that I've read. The audio format didn't help, since the narrator made some strange choices in how they pronounced names and depicted Italian accents. The book also felt slow and the main character was inconsistent in her actions.  

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

The problem with the trend in unreliable narrators in crime fiction is that if the author doesn't do it well, it just feels like sloppy writing. This book had a big twist in the middle, but it wasn't set up well and instead of feeling surprised, I just felt confused and a bit betrayed. The characterization was lazy as well, and some of the plot threads just faded away without a good resolution. 

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

Perhaps it is a bit of a spoiler to say that the poem referred to in the title never actually appears in the book. I have mixed feelings about this. From a writing perspective, I like the idea of a book structured around a famous poem that everyone in the world of the novel knows, but that the reader never gets to experience. As a reader, however, it was a little frustrating to never get the references because I never got to read the thing being referenced. That was my main complaint with the book, however; mostly it was a good read and I have been thinking about it since.

An Equal Justice by Chad Zunker

This was a free e-book I got from Amazon, and since my expectations were low, I mostly enjoyed it. The characters are all stereotypes and some of the action is unbelievable, but the plot was well-paced and held some surprises for me.  

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee

This book is fairly dense and meanders a bit, but mostly I found it fascinating. The book covers Hernando Colon's entire life, so it takes a while before it gets the part about his library, but even the beginning bits were interesting. I didn't intend to read this book right around Columbus Day, but the coincidental timing worked out well.

The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan

After finishing The Ruin I couldn't wait to read more from McTiernan so I immediately requested this through inter-library loan. My feelings about this book were very similar to the first book in the series--I enjoyed it and thought it was well-written, but the author is not as good as Tana French or Kate Atkinson.

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

Although this book closely follows the formula of most of Kinsella's other books, I really loved it. The main character is believable and fun, and she grows up a lot throughout the novel. I also thought the love interest was well-written in a three-dimensional, believable way. The family in this book was still a little awful in the end, but I grew to see why the protagonist loves them.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

For our October book club we had to read a book with ghosts, so I decided to pick this one. I had read a lot of great things about it, but still wasn't sure it was something I would enjoy. I absolutely loved it and think I might read it out loud to P.B. when we are ready for another bedtime book. I wish I could get my kids to read more (that's a subject for another post), because if I could, I know they would like this.


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