DUSTING OFF ANOTHER NEGLECTED BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s neglected book was purchased in October 2018:  A Well-Behaved Woman, by Therese Anne Fowler.

I purchased this book because I have enjoyed this author’s work…and I loved the blurb:

The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York, written by Therese Anne Fowler, a New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, in A Well-Behaved Woman Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules—and how to break them.

***

I hope to read this one soon.  I love this weekly event that inspires me to dust off those almost-forgotten books.

What have you found this week?

***

ANOTHER BURIED TREASURE…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s forgotten book is from December 2017:  The Girl in Times Square, by Paullina Simons.

I picked this book to buy because I had heard good things about it, and I loved the blurb:

International bestselling author Paullina Simons delivers a riveting novel about a young woman whose search for her missing friend turns into a life-shattering odyssey.

The truth will change her forever.

Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace.

Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily.

But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Lily’s search puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend . . . until she faces a final confrontation with her own life-changing destiny.

***

Why have I not read it yet?  I know that the 598 pages are a big part of it.  I am always reluctant to commit to the longer books, since I have so many others that are clamoring for my attention.  But I have to get over that!  I hope to do that soon.

***

What books are you ignoring? 

***

SEARCHING THE BACKLOG…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s feature is a book I purchased in June 2017.

Purity, by Jonathan Franzen.

I know why I haven’t yet read this one.  577 pages!  But sometimes we have to bite the bullet and read!

Here’s the synopsis:  Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother–her only family–is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life.

Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world–including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong.

Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters–Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers–and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.

***

I am hoping to read this one soon.  I have read two other books by this author.

What books have you overlooked?

***

GOODBYE TO OCTOBER!

Where did October go?  I know that I enjoyed several books, but I am still not up to speed.  Here are my two favorites of the month, but they vied with some others, too.

***

Genres:

      Mysteries, Thrillers:  4

     Contemporary Fiction:  4

     Nonfiction:  2

     Literary Fiction:  1

***

And here are the books I read; click titles for my reviews.

OCTOBER 2020:

1.Confessions on the 7:45 (e-book), by Lisa Unger – (352 pages) – (mystery) – 10/13/20

2.Invisible Girl (e-book), by Lisa Jewell – (353 pages) – (mystery) – 10/27/20)

3.Library of Lost & Found, The (e-book), by Phaedra Patrick – (368 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 10/11/20

4.Life in Pieces (e-book),by Dawn O’Porter (320 pages) – (memoir) – 10/9/20

5.Lost for Words Bookshop, The (e-book), by Stephanie Butland – (335 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 10-24-20)

6.Rage (e-book), by Bob Woodward – (480 pages) – (memoir) – 10/16/20

7.Remain Silent (e-book), by Susie Steiner – (307 pages) – (mystery) – 10/19/20

8.Return to Virgin River (e-book), by Robyn Carr – (258 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 10/20/20

9.To Tell You the Truth (e-book), by Gilly Macmillan – (320 pages) – (thriller) – 10/3/20

10.Truth About Melody Browne, The (e-book), by Lisa Jewell – (359 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 10/6/20

11.You Should Have Known (e-book), by Jean Hanff Korelitz – (437 pages)  (literary fiction) – 10/30/20

***

NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN OCTOBER 2020:    11

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN OCTOBER 2020: 3,889

BOOKS READ YTD: 117

FAVORITE TITLES: 

Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger

Rage, by Bob Woodward

***

How did your month go?  Stop on by and share.

***

A REDISCOVERED BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s neglected book is an oldie!  I purchased it in March 2014, and when I started reading it, I was not loving it.  But then something happened!  This week, HBO began showing a miniseries based on the book, and they renamed it The Undoing.  I am enjoying the series, so I started reading the book.  I am still reading it, and I am on page 238!

The Undoing (Previously Published as You Should Have Known), by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Description:  Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended.

Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

***

I do believe I will actually finish it this time!  What book have you rediscovered today?

***

REVIEW: INVISIBLE GIRL, BY LISA JEWELL

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

 

Invisible Girl introduces the characters in alternating sections, beginning with a young girl who likes to hide out and watch people. She is called Saffyre Maddox and she has been in therapy with another character, Roan Fours, whom she likes to follow and watch, along with his family. What is going on behind her actions, and what happens to her one night when she suddenly goes missing?

Meanwhile, we learn more about Cate, Roan’s wife, along with her teenage children, Josh and Georgia. Their lives seem normal enough, but Cate worries a lot about them and her husband Roan, who has given her reasons to mistrust him at times.

Saffyre’s story unfolds slowly, until we begin to fill in the missing pieces of what happened to her. Even as she emerges from her “invisibility,” other puzzling tidbits come to light about other characters: like Owen and his true story; about a man who hurt Saffyre years before; and about Roan’s secrets. In the end, there was a stunning reveal. 5 stars from me.

***

ANOTHER NEGLECTED BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s forgotten book is from a favorite author and was purchased in September 2017!  The Summer That Made Us, by Robyn Carr, should have been an instant read…but other books, distractions, etc. 

The description pulls me in today, just as it did when I added it to my shelves:

Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins, they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.

That was then…

For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now…

After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

***

I am pulling it forward on my Kindle!  What have you rediscovered today?

***

REVIEW: REMAIN SILENT, BY SUSIE STEINER

Newly married and navigating life with a preschooler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job that allows her to potter in, coffee in hand, and log on for a spot of Internet shopping—precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance. But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she’d assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child while in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couples counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.

But when Manon is on a walk with her four-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job full-force, trying to solve the suicide—or is it a murder—in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.

 

I like the character Manon Bradshaw, having read and enjoyed previous books in the series.  Her internal monologues are astute and sometimes funny, while her diligence on the job shows through, even when she sometimes feels frustrated by her colleagues and her superior officer who seems bent on changing the way Manon does her job.

Manon’s coworker Davy is another character from previous books, and Remain Silent is told between the two of them via alternating narratives.

Will Manon eventually discover the answers in the strange case involving immigrants and slave labor?  Can she find her way to balancing her home and work life?  Another story that I enjoyed, and which earned 4.5 stars.

***

A BOOKISH DELIGHT ON THE BACKLOG…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

My newly rediscovered book was purchased in June 2018: The Lost for Words Bookshop, by Stephanie Butland.

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

***

I have loved finding these bookish novels about libraries, etc.  I can’t wait to read this one.

What have you rediscovered this week?

***

REVIEW: LIFE IN PIECES, BY DAWN O’PORTER

From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn has been doing a lot of thinking about life in lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard. Discover the daily diaries that track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal.

‘There’s been a lot of well-meaning but mad advice on how to contend with the strangest period of human history any of us has ever lived through. Dawn O’Porter redresses the balance by telling it as it really has been: holding out for 5pm to crack open the tequila’ Mark Watson

As soon as I began reading Life in Pieces, I was smiling and sometimes laughing at her view of 2020. Unlike her, I am not a mother of small children, but a senior citizen; however, having been in that role, I could definitely imagine how the year would play out from her perspective.

Her occasional jabs at those in charge in this strange new world particularly resonated with me. None of us are happy to learn that politics has played such a role in how events unfolded for us.

Now I am just hoping to make it through the year…and beyond, if necessary, but it is great to read books like this one along the way.

I like her description of events: “I am speaking to my family more. I am working on my marriage more. I am nesting, organizing, preparing for disaster, making sure that, if the world goes to shit, we will survive. I am loving harder than I’ve ever loved in my life. I was alone with my grief, but now the whole world is grieving too. A solidarity that we can’t deny.”

I love when a book pulls it all together so nicely, reminding us that, in the midst of uncertainty and chaos, there is a silver lining. 5 stars.

***