My round up is going to seem terribly sparse this month and I also have to admit that I have lowered my reading challenge (on Goodreads) from 100 down to 80. If I could include magazines and blogs, the number would zip up fast! But alas, life gets in the road of reading and I never thought I would be so happy about it.
Looking For Me, Beth Hoffman
The second I saw that Hoffman had a second book coming, I reserved it at the library. I fell in love with her writing style in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. I also fell in love with the combination of her portrait of The South and her reverence for architecture, gardens and old houses. I adored Looking For Me, it is filled with beautiful description, great characters and an eloquent portrayal of the bond between siblings.
Teddi Overman is the owner of an antique store who lovingly restores furniture, with an eye for its former glory despite the decayed appearance. She is haunted by the disappearance of her younger brother over 20 years ago. The strands of her past and her present are woven together to reveal a moving story of devotion, family, hope, love and loss. It is truly worth a read.
This is just a taste of the evocative language: “He saw holiness where others saw only the ordinary. Trees formed the spires of the cathedral where his prayers were gentle footsteps over sacred terrain.” p95
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
This was a well-crafted literary adventure story that combines Google and old books. Clay Jannon, one of an innumerable number of 20-somethings who began their working life in the midst of the recession, was made redundant less than one year into his first full-time job. He begins working the nightshift in an odd secondhand bookstore, where few customers actually purchase books. By the end of this beautifully descriptive book, Clay (and his cast of eccentric friends) has unraveled the mystery behind the 500-year old literary cult. Read my review of it here.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
One of the best books of the twentieth-century, actually I placed Fitzgerald at number six in my Top Ten Favourite Authors ever, The Great Gatsby is a memoir of the Jazz Age. Nick Carraway narrates us through the tale of the summer he met an enigmatic man named Gatsby. He mingles with fabulously wealthy, idle characters with dubious morals and plenty of gin. At the close of the summer, Nick is left paying the price for living incongruently and two people are dead. Find my review of the recent movie here.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
It’s probably no secret that I adore Audrey Hepburn, and, having recently watched the movie, I decided it was time to read the book. I didn’t love the book, except for the fact that it gave me further insight into the movie. Holly Golightly is a very young woman, of terrible upbringing, who lives fast and finds comfort in Tiffany’s (the jewelry store). She breezes into the life of a struggling writer who falls in love with her and he is left telling the story long after she is gone.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays, Joan Didion
This collection of essays released in the 1960s, was Didion’s first nonfiction book. She captures people, places and a time in a distinct, revealing way. I particularly enjoyed her portraits of the magic of New York and herself at 28.
In the final essay of the collection Goodbye to All That, she sums up her eight year stay in New York that left her drained and depressed:
“That was the year, my twenty eighth, when I was discovering that not all promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.” p233
I’m very excited to report that Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald has arrived from the library waiting list, so once I have finished the two I am in the middle of, I get to begin!