Station Eleven * Still Alice * Cutting For Stone * Yes Please * When You Reach Me * The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry * All The Light We Cannot See * Big Little Lies * Infidel * The Girl On The Train
Am I the only one who started reading way less after having kids? I think it must be a combo of a) not really having much time to yourself, and b) being perma-tired, but for the past few years, I've found myself opting for the easy, mindless lure of the TV over books time and time again.
But luckily, that's changing. I've been reading a ton lately. This is partly because I now take the train to work instead of the bus (which means I can read without getting nauseous--score!), and partly because I recently joined my first-ever book club, which basically forces me to plow through books quickly. (BTW, is it normal for book clubs to spend about two minutes talking about the book and then two hours drinking wine and gossiping? Okay, cool. So it's not just us then. Thanks.)
Here's what I've read (and loved!) lately. Some for the club, some just for me, but all awesome. And all worth downloading--stat!
Station Eleven - Loved this book. I don't want to give too much away, but it follows several characters in a post-apocalyptic world after a deadly flu kills nearly all of the Earth's population. It's incredibly eerie, but still hopeful, and makes you really appreciate the many things that we take for granted in the world.
Still Alice - I wanted to read this book before I saw the Oscar-winning movie, so I devoured it in a weekend--but then still haven't seen the movie. The book is great though. Sad, scary, and a very quick read. Can't wait to see Julianne Moore portray this character now!
Cutting For Stone - This was the first book we read for my first session of book club, and I'll be honest: It was like pulling teeth in the beginning for me. I found the first third or so pretty slow. I probably would have just given up had it not been for the club, but I'm so glad I stuck with it, Because suddenly, a flip switched and it turned awesome. Moving and epic.
Yes Please - I love Amy Poehler, and I so wanted this to be Bossypants, Tina Fey's amazing, laugh-out-loud book. It's not Bossypants-good (uh, what is?), but it's still a fun, funny, girl-power read. Some of my book club friends didn't like the way Amy came off in the book, but I thought she seemed cool. I'd totally want to be BFFs with her. (So, Amy? Call me.) Also, I'd say it's worth reading simply to learn more about the bizarrely close relationship that she has with Seth Myers. (Seriously, after reading the book, is anyone else convinced they are having a long-term affair??)
When You Reach Me - This book combines two of my favorite things: a good YA novel and time travel. It follows a young girl growing up in NYC who starts receiving mysterious notes--annnnnd I'm not going to give away much more than that. I especially love how the author ties up every tiny detail in the story, and also how, since it's really meant for teens, it's a quick read. I couldn't put it down.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Here's another one that I read quickly and couldn't put down. This is a super simplistic version of what happens in this book, but it basically tells the story of how the lonely, crotchety owner of a small-town bookstore has his life altered through books--and the people he meets in his life. A nice, feel-good story that will really speak to book lovers.
All The Light We Cannot See - Another book club choice that, again, is a bit slow to start, but turns really good. The characters are unique and well-developed, and it was really interesting reading about WWII from a perspective I hadn't really heard before. This is one that people are really talking about, so definitely read it if you haven't already!
Big Little Lies - This is the one I'm reading now (I'm about 70 percent through), so I guess I'm sort of cheating since I haven't finished it yet, but well, here I am. I had heard several people (whose literary tastes I totally trust) recommend this one over the past few months, so I finally downloaded it. Part murder mystery, part funny/sarcastic look at crazy suburban PTA mommy culture, it's a fun, beachy (or, in my case, subway-y) book that I'm totally enjoying.
Infidel - This controversial memoir is definitely tough at times (there's a female circumcision moment that seriously turned my stomach), but it is absolutely fascinating. Written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali/Muslim-born activist and writer, the memoir is an unflinching look at Islam, and the treatment of women in some Muslim countries. It's a book that many, many people out there do not want you to read. (The author has received multiple death threats and has been in and out of protective custody.) This is a book that I never would have picked up had it not been for my book club, but I am so, so glad I did. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Truly eye-opening.
The Girl On The Train - This is the book that has been billed as "the next Gone Girl." While I wouldn't go that far, it is good--and it's a definite page-turner. If you haven't read it yet, it's totally the perfect lazy beach read.
And, while I have you, these two books are next on my list: The Perfume Collector (that's what we're reading for our next book club pick), and Some Girls (this one's just for fun. As I mentioned here, it's a true story about the author's life in a harem. I mean, talk about must-read, no?)
So, tell me: Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And if you've read something great lately that's not on the list above, please, please let me know in the comments below. I'm always looking for something new to read!