Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a quirky, wonderfully weird story about an eclectic/dysfunctional family. Bernadette, the mother, is a recluse who detests any and all parents of the private school her only child attends. Bee, the daughter, is bright beyond her years, extremely intelligent and successful at her school, who requests a family trip to Antartica for doing well in middle school. Elgie, the father and tech genius, seems distant from the family and busy with work. That is, until Bernadette disappears.

This book was so much fun to read and no way to properly describe what happens without giving away so much. When does mental illness reveal itself? How easy is it to hide behind brilliance and run away? There’s so much that happens in this book and then it’s retold from another perspective and I had to rethink everything I was thinking. Who’s delusional? Who’s hiding information?

Great, easy read!!

Read April 2020

The Shadow District

The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason, is a novel set in Iceland during World War II and the present day. A young woman is murdered during World War II. A man in present day is murdered and one of the few possessions he had was a newspaper cutting about the murder over 60 years ago. Are the two events related? How?

This is an interesting murder case, when the detectives are solving 2 seemingly unrelated murders. But its also interesting to learn how World War II modernized Iceland and had many farmers, who’d been living their lives not too different than their ancestors, moving to urban areas due to the war effort. Found women found themselves having more freedom than prior generations could imagine and how that changed Iceland.

Interesting read.

Read November 2019

I Owe You One

Sophie Kinsella always puts out an enjoyable book because her characters feel real, even when they’re slightly extreme. In I Owe You One, I would definitely say her characters are well written, but since Fixie Farr takes so much blame from her family and feels the need to fix everything and everyone around her, its a little painful to read at times. How mean can family be and still think that they are in the right. All responsibility for their family business falls on Fixie, but no one will listen to her. Even her love interest is such a user its hard to read that he just walks in and she automatically makes him dinner while he grabs a beer and heads to the TV. Doormat much? I stuck it through because no matter how hard it was to see Fixie be treated so poorly, I hoped that it would get better and she’d finally find her own value and voice.

Great characters.

Read September 2019

The Historian

I love this novel by Elizabeth Kostova! I’ve read The Historian multiple times and I always enjoy the scholarly fictional approach to the search for Dracula. Kostova has her characters chasing each other and myths around Europe in different generations and different pairings, but its an exciting ride.

Once again a great, interesting read!

Read November 2018

The Burning Girl

I read Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl awhile ago, and it didn’t really stick with me. I liked it at the time and there’s a lot of good scenes with Julia and Cassie as they grow and grow apart from middle school to high school. Many of the scenes made me cringe thinking back on my own adolescence and loosing friendships over big and little things. But the end of the novel made me so sad about how people can hide things and even looking back, you can’t know for sure what was happening.

Read October 2018

Hour of the Wolf

Hakan Nesser allows us insight into the murderer’s mind in the Hour of the Wolf when we see the first accidental murder and the following cover-ups to hide the crime. Alongside the murderer, we follow the investigation led by Chief Inspector Reinhart, Van Veeteren’s successor. When Van Veeteren’s son turns up murdered and left in a ditch, the whole team must work tirelessly to find their mentor’s son’s killer.

The murdered confounds the police since the crimes are not decisively connected. The first murder seems completely unrelated but is the key to understanding what happened and what will happen. Van Veeteren must also come to terms with his son’s past and how it connected to his murder. The key to understanding the crime comes from him with his ability to look into a criminal’s thought process to deduce the reasoning behind the crimes.

Good read.

Read October 2017

 

The Gunslinger

I must preface this with the fact that I like Stephen King’s novels and was excited to read the first of the Dark Tower series based on the recommendation of several people who were rereading the entire series since a movie is coming out. I read the introduction in my copy of The Gunslinger which was written by King himself. In it, he talks about how he feels this was a young novelist’s book written in youth and surrounded by pretentiousness.

There’s not much that happens in this novel, but I imagine that it was written to help set up the remaining series. Not having read any of the other series, I cannot say whether it works for that or not. What I can judge is this novel by itself since that’s how I read it.

The Gunslinger as an independent book, is not exciting and incredibly drawn out. I had a hard time getting through the chapters of nothingness as we follow a character through a bleak world. I cannot tell the exact setting, but I’m guessing that its in the future after something has gone awry in the world. Some of the scenes were gripping but many others were not.

I haven’t decided if I’ll read any further in this series, but if I do, I hope the story is better than this.

Read October 2017