4 Long Books

I love to read and go through a lots of books.  I thought I'd share four books I've read that I feel are great.  All of these were very popular books recently so you might have already read them but if you haven't - give them a go.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Well, it's New York in the 70s which is always enough for me but if you need more there's conspiracy theory, murder, drugs, art, relationships and intertwined character plots.  A girl gets shot on NYE and the book follows a handful of characters whose related stories spider web from the shooting.  Hallberg writes of a world that doesn't exist anymore but luckily, I can experience it in his writing.   

The Magus by John Fowles

It just doesn't stop with this one - prepare yourself for many, many twists.  It will turn you into a very curious and untrusting reader.  The plot follows a young man coasting on a teaching assignment in a lonely island in Greece. His boredom is soon interrupted by a mysterious and wealthy resident of the island. 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I don't think I went out much while I was reading The Goldfinch - I couldn't put it down and just wanted to be home reading. (Very nerdy but I don't care - I love a good book!)  It's about Theodore Decker who survives a terrorist attack at The Met and takes a painting with him as he escapes. You read as his unravelled life passes into adulthood full of complexity but still haunted by the goldfinch painting. I spent a long shift at work casting a movie version of it with coworkers.  (I work with a lot of actors. It's a favorite game.) If you've already read this one try her other book Secret History.  

Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

I just read this one on our beach vacation. There are flaws but it is so entertaining and the main character is incredible. I was sad when it ended - ready for more of her story of farmer to circus performer to courtesan to prisoner to nun royal maid to opera singer to... you get the idea. It's a fun ride. 

Four Books I Couldn't Put Down

I have a long commute on the train between work and home.  It's about 50 minutes.  Most people groan when I tell them how long it is but secretly, it doesn't bother me at all.  I use the time to listen to music, zone out, make to do lists, brainstorm blog posts or weekend plans, I write, I do homework but most of the time I read.  I love reading and it's so great to have 50 uninterrupted minutes twice a day to relax and read.  

As you can imagine, I get through a lot of books.  I'll be posting my favorites once a month so check back if you ever need a recommendation. 

Sometimes I get a good one that, even if it's not great or important, I just can't wait to get another chance to read it.  As in, I don't want to do anything after work, I just want to go home and read... I love that.  

Here are four books I could not put down: 

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn was given to me by Cameron when we were dating and it's strange, a bit gross and completely entertaining.  The story follows a woman, formerly part of a freak show family whose mother and father intentionally tried to create 'freak' children: an albino dwarf,  a son with flippers for limbs, beautiful conjoined twins and a telekentic younger son.  I don't want to give too much away but things get crazy with a family power struggle, a disturbing cult and a revenge plot creeping along.  This is the one I give to people when they need something to read.  It always gets a good reaction thought creates a pinch of suspicion around the recommender. 

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Oh, this one.  Everyone read Gone Girl but I think this is her better book.  An unstable reporter returns to her hometown to cover the mysterious murder of a young teenage girl. It eerie suspenseful plot made it impossible for me to put down.  No dull moments and it keeps going to the very end.  

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld was just fun to read.  It's light, funny and to the point.  It's a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: Liz is a 38 year old magazine writer, her sisters 20 year old crossfitters, Mr Bingley is a doctor turned reality tv star... you get the picture.  Setting and most of the social situations are different but the main plot is pretty much the same.  It's brilliant and funny.  

City of Thieves by David Benioff was recommended by Cameron's sister.  She was so right - it's a great book.  The story is set in Russia during WW II with two captured young men on an impossible task of locating one dozen eggs for a Soviet officer with the probable failure to do so resulting in their execution.  Even through the bleak setting, there are moments of warmth and humor. 

How about you?  Read anything good lately? Read any of these>