Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews: Reading at the Lake

While my kids loving being out on the water- kayaking, fishing, boating - I am perfectly content to sit up by our cabin with a good book.  In fact, I saved some of the books I had been looking forward to just for the short trip we took.

In just the few days we were away, I devoured three fantastic books.

All Adults Here by Emma Straub was Jenna Bush Hager's book club pick for May. I love everything Jenna has picked so far, and I also have loved Straub's previous books.  Sometimes high expectations end up letting me down, but not in this case.  I thoroughly enjoyed this family drama.  Astrid has been keeping a secret from her adult children and when she witnesses the accidental death of a long-time acquaintance she decides she needs to really live her life and be honest with her family.  Her children have their own struggles and secrets as well, and each of their stories also make up a great portion of this novel.  Part of me would like to call this family dysfunctional, yet I recognize that each family had its own dynamic and degree of dysfunction.  

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett- this is another novel that has been raved about a lot.  This, too, could have ended up badly but Bennett's sophomore novel may be even better than her debut.  Twin sisters leave their small Louisiana town as young adults.  One sister returns years later with her daughter.  The other, Stella, seems to have disappeared.  We get glimpses of both sisters and their children at different times in their lives, and realize that when Stella left Desiree, she did so because she was able to "pass" and married a white man.  Secrets never stay secrets for forever, and the way Bennett addressed Stella's choices and the impact they had kept me turning the pages quickly.  This might be the book that I can't help but press into every reader's hands for the foreseeable future.

Beach Read by Emily Henry - this was my third vacation read and I liked it a lot....I may have loved it had I not read it right after the two books above.  They were a tough act to follow.  This is a rom-com, perfect for a summer afternoon.  January and Augustus, college writing rivals, end up living next to each other as both struggle with writer's block.  Although they initially resurrect their feelings of animosity, eventually the two spend time together and fall in love. Of course, nothing is that easy, and there are plenty of problems along the way.  A little predictable, perhaps, but I really enjoyed this one, and the fact that the story centered around books and writing.

I came home with a few books in my bag that I hadn't even had time to touch, but I thoroughly loved the ones I picked up to read and only wish there was more time to spend at the lake reading.


Mystica said...

Those were good choices.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I thought All Adults Here was pretty good and I do want to read The Vanishing Half.