This book was a Christmas present and I have to say it is my favorite book I’ve read this year. While it started out slow, I’m not exactly sure why I thought it was slow because there was a home invasion but I wasn’t really feeling it. But then I got to Lo’s time on the boat and wow I could not put it down!
Maybe it’s my unhealthy obsession with the Titanic and tragedies at sea (a story for another time) but I was hook line and sinker for this book. I would describe this book as a psycho-thriller, I was on edge the whole time and just as I thought I figured it out, there was a plot twist to hide the truth yet again.
I will say I had some serious Shutter Island vibes going on here. But I was completely wrong, there’s so much going on here and that’s the least of Lo’s worries.
If you’re looking for something to keep you on the edge of your seat that isn’t scary (I’m not good with horror movies) this is it!
Welcome to What I’m Reading Valentine’s Day edition! You might be thinking “The book was called Autumn but it’s February” and well get to that!
Over break I went into Boston and while I was on Newbury Street I stopped by Trident Books. It’s right next to Pure Barre and I don’t know how I never stopped there before!
They have this cute bookshelf at the front of the store called Blind Date with a Book! Ta-da! So I’m writing today to tell you all about my blind date. How this works is that all of the books on this shelf are covered in paper bags and have pictures drawn on them so you have no idea what’s underneath.
The shelf was filled with so many books and I was so torn on what to pick until I saw this:
I took the commuter rail in to the city and on the way home I finished the book I was reading at the time and so I was left with a decision: open the book now and risk tearing the paper or wait until I could show my mom (she’s also a huge fan of Trident Books). Still having 30 minutes left on the train I opened the book. Very. Carefully.
The cover was absolutely stunning. I fell in love with the book almost immediately.
So now onto the real deal…
Autumn by Ali Smith is the first in a series of 4 seasonal novels. Summer has not been released yet which is fitting as it seems summer is years away at this point.
At first glance, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Smith’s writing can be overwhelming until you get used to it. She alternates between the story and another narrative that took me awhile to pick up but I’m so glad I did.
If you like linear plots, this is one you should put aside (unless you want to challenge yourself and expand your bookshelf of course). Smith switches between past, present, and everything in between. This book covered everything from intergenerational friendships, a pop-artist, feminism, and Brexit.
The wise people of Goodreads have put my feelings into words and I will share that with you know: I’m not exactly sure what I’ve read. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed what I read, I’m just not exactly sure I picked up on all of the references she included. I think Smith is a brilliant writer and I will definitely be picking up the other two, and eventually a third, but I don’t think there’s anyway I could have possibly picked up all of the things Smith addressed.
While I was able to understand the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Gluck, and I fell in love with it, the Pauline Body part was just too much for me. If there had been less Body I think I would have enjoyed it more but it tied together Elisabeth’s childhood to finding her thesis. It’s just that it kept going on and on and on.
That being said, I am very excited to pick up the next few books in her series. Something I find extremely interesting about this series is that it’s called a “series quartet” in that they’re stand-alone books that relate to each other as seasons do.
One of the last books I read in 2018 was Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes. I was looking for the third book in the Me Before You series when I went to the library but I stumbled upon this instead.
I’ll start by talking about my love of Paris for One. Moyes did it again, this was both an empowering book about finding yourself and falling in love all at once.
This was one of those books I wished was a million times longer, even more so because it’s a novella and not a full novel. At the same time though, the story was so well done and as a firm believer in quality over quantity I’m content saying this left me wanting more. Maybe we can compromise on a sequel?
Nell was such a lovable main character and made me want to fly solo. While I’ve never been to Paris, I took five years of French in junior high/high school and it felt familiar going to all of the places I had learned so much about. In ultimate Parisian style, Nell finds herself on the back of a moped to to take in all the city has to offer and you feel like you’re right there with her.
Nell reminded me of another lovable heroine I read recently. The way the people in Nell’s life talk about her paralleled the way Eleanor Oliphant‘s coworkers talked about her.
My favorite scenes happened along the Seine with the bateaux mouches that glide along the river. I think when my time to travel to the City of Lights I’ll be finding a locally owned boat for my tour 😉
The short stories however, weren’t as special to me. I felt like there really wasn’t enough to them that they stood out to me. My favorite short story was called The Christmas List. This story followed a woman in search of the perfect Christmas gift but has the most unexpected ending.
I think Moyes is such an excellent romance writer because she uses strong female leads and throws in a little humor here and there. Another thing Moyes incorporates is the use of the classic plot twist, and it’s one that isn’t what you expected and comes when you least expect it.
The Last Lecture is a book Professor Randy Pausch wrote to go along with the lecture he gave at Carnegie Mellon. In fact, that’s how I came across this book. One of my assignment’s for my Healthcare Language class was to watch this excerpt Pausch gave on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
After watching the video and learning he was a former Disney Imagineer with a motivational message I texted my mom telling her how interesting it was. A few days later I got an email from the post office at school and when I went to pick up my package my mom had sent me a copy of his book! I started reading it during the school year but set it aside because finals got the best of me.
I was happy to pick up The Last Lecture as soon as school was over and the rest of the book did not disappoint. Pausch shares his wisdom through stories of his experiences throughout his life.
While I won’t tell you every piece of advice he gives readers one of my favorites was: “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted” (chapter 39).
If you enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie you will definitely enjoy The Last Lecture. So what are you waiting for, go pick it up and let me know what you think!
It’s almost time to hit the beach and do I have the perfect book for you! I read Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart on a trip to Boston a few weeks ago and it was so good I finished it on the train ride home!
This memoir follows Marjorie as she leaves her small hometown to work in New York City for the summer. She travels to the city with her sorority sister Marty and together they work as pages in the Tiffany store on Fifth Avenue. The story starts just before the end of WWII and the only reason the girls got the jobs as pages was because all the young men were enlisted at the time! Marjorie and Marty were the first girls to work on the floor at Tiffany’s.
The book is filled with their adventures- everything from dating midshipmen to seeing Judy Garland walk into their store on her honeymoon. If you want to experience the magic of NYC in 1945 this is the book for you! It’s such a fun and quick read it would be perfect for lounging on the beach.
Let me know what you think and feel free to leave any recommendations in the comments!
If you love Fixer Upper you will adore The Magnolia Story.
The unique thing about this book is that it is mainly in Joanna’s voice and they use a different font for when Chip jumps in. That was probably my favorite part of the book, it felt just like what they come across as on their show. Their book has the same voice that they have when they are on TV. Although they had Mark Dagostino help them, you can tell they were very active in this process.
Something that may surprise you, it certainly surprised me, was that life has not always been smooth sailing for the Gaines. They’ve had a bumpy road that only makes you root for them even more. They stay true to their values when they’re thriving and when they’re surviving.
I was also surprised by how many business ventures Chip has been on. Reading Capital Gaines is definitely on my to do list.
This book definitely wants to make you move down south, flip houses, and live on a farm without a TV. Chip and Joanna make life seem fun. Even when they were at low points they found ways to make it work and enjoy the process.
While I was in the middle of the book they announced that they are having a 5th kid! While I’m disappointed they are taking a break from Fixer Upper I’m excited to see what new things are coming for Magnolia.
If you need a book to keep you entertained during the Fixer Upper hiatus, The Magnolia Story is your next read!