February may be a short month but it sure was filled with reading. In the winter nothing feels better than snuggling up with a book and staying in! I’ve been making the best of commuting by bus by reading and listening to audiobooks as much as possible. This month I stayed in more than I went out and managed to plow through 5 (okay 4 and 1/2) new books. I love the calming effect reading has on me and have found I sleep so much better when I read before bed.
Rules of Civility
In Amor Towles debut novel, Rules of Civility, he follows the life of Katey, a young woman living in New York city during 1938. The novel begins on New Year’s Eve when Katey and her friend/roommate meet an upscale banker named Tinker at a jazz club. The three become good friends and go on wild adventures together in New York City. As Katey falls for Tinker tragedy strikes altering the course of all three friends’ lives forever.
Do I recommend it?: Yes! Yes! So much yes! This book is not only an interesting and unpredictable storyline but the writing itself is lovely. I found myself pausing to reread passages simply because they were too beautiful to pass by so quickly. If you think you would like a book that is part The Great Gatsby part Valley of the Dolls this novel is a MUST read for you.
The Dollhouse intertwines the stories of two women, Rose a journalist living in the Barbizan Condominiums in New York City in 2016 and Darby a woman living in the Barbizon Hotel for women in 1952. Looking for her next story Rose is intrigued by the elderly women living on the fourth floor of her condominium building. The historic building, originally a boarding hotel for women in the 1950s was recently renovated to condos but allowed some of the long term residents to continue living on the fourth floor. Intrigued by the fascinating history of the hotel’s former residents Rose begins researching the women and uncovers a tragedy that left one mysterious old woman hidden behind a veil for the rest of her life.
This book hopped between Darby’s life as a 17 year old girl moving to the city for secretary school and Rose as she learns to be on her own after a particularly harsh break up. While both of the main characters sort of bothered me (they seemed weak and particularly pathetic at times) the plot line moved quickly and kept me reading with fervor.
Do I recommend it?: As far as great writing and character development goes this book doesn’t offer anything new and exciting. However, this novel has an intriguing plot line that is certain to draw you into the story. If you don’t care about life changing writing and want a page turning plot line, The Dollhouse is a fun novel.
Talking as Fast as I Can
Once I started Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) I couldn’t put it down. I was shushing Jordan so I could read in the car. I was reading on my lunch break and I was skipping the gym so I could stay home and read in the bath tub (ha the excuses I come up with). I recently watched The Gilmore Girls Year in the Life on Neflix so I was intrigued when I saw Lauren Graham’s book. Lauren’s voice is everything you would imagine from watching her on screen-lively, silly and prone to ridiculous tangents reading each chapter felt like a discussion over wine with my best friend. Lauren discusses her childhood, acting school, dating/dieting in Hollywood and of course the ins and outs of Gilmore Girls. Lauren strikes me as incredibly authentic in both her acting and her writing, after reading I definitely want her as one of my celebrity besties (;
Do I recommend it?: Love Gilmore Girls? Need a light hearted laugh? Talking as Fast as I can is a delightful quick read.
Love’s Executioner: & Other Tales of Psychotherapy is a nonfiction collection of tales from a therapist’s office. All true stories, based loosely around “love” describe a patient’s treatment in psychotherapy from start to finish. An retired elderly dancer falls in love with her much younger therapist. A cancer patient deals with his sexual frustrations and rape fantasies. A mother overcome with the grief of loosing her daughter to cancer copes with the terrible feeling that “the wrong child died”. A recently retired accountant faces severe migraines that he believes stem from sexual impotence. The accounts from psychologist, Irvin Yalom, were riveting. While reading I really found myself thinking in depth about each patient. I loved that this book spurred me to think about human nature and the emotions and issues we all encounter throughout life. I love books that make me think about life through different lenses.
Do I recommend it?: If you’re into psychology and find yourself wishing you could peek into someone else’s therapy session this book is a terrific read.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
I am a little over half way through The Lonely Hearts Hotel but I am certain I will finish it before March begins so I want to share a bit on it now. My first honest thoughts-it’s a WEIRD book. This unique love story follows two orphans raised in the same miserable orphanage in Montreal in the early 1900s. The story itself is filled with both whimsy and tragedy as the young orphans (Pierrot and Rose) fall in love, are separated and reunited. While the author is clearly a gifted writer many aspects of the book are over sexualized and frankly pedophilic. It was very difficult for me to make it through the first 50 pages not due to a dull story line but because of all of the instances of sexual abused described so candidly and vividly. I am no prude but I found the sexual accounts quite disturbing. That being said the flowery descriptions and cinematic analogies make this book feel magical.
Do I recommend it?: If you can stomach very brash sexual descriptions than the story line and whimsical tale in The Lonely Hearts Hotel is other worldly and intriguing. However be forewarned that for many who aren’t frightened of sexuality by any means the sexual nature of this novel is crass and distractingly distasteful at times.
What have you read this month? Do you have any wonderful suggestions for me? Next on my list is Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and I’m hoping to read The Engagements before it’s made into a movie (directed by Reese Witherspoon).