Back to the Library

I hope you guys had a great weekend. I got to meet up with one of my dear friends who was in town and as usual we had a great time catching up since her last visit a couple of months ago. The other exciting news this weekend was that I finally went back to the library after a break that I think started back in September.

Don’t get me wrong, I still borrow books but limit myself to audiobooks and I use the Libby app for that. This time though I really wanted to check out a graphic novel and a poetry book I had heard good things about.

I love that the two look like they go together with their red covers. Anyway, Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez is the poetry collection. I first heard about this book via NPR and I believe it was one of their best books of the year. The other book is also another NPR recommendation and it’s Good Talk by Mira Jacobs. This is graphic memoir and through a quick look through I see illustrations mixed in with photography so I’m excited about this one.

While I did take a look at the new books shelves, I refrained and only picked up these two which were my holds. I love the library but I need to make sure to focus on all of my books.

Anyway that’s about it and now I have to find a new book to read tonight because I finished my mystery last night. Have a great week ahead and more book talk soon!

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New Arrivals

Here are the latest advance review copies that have landed in my mailbox:

Rachel’s Legacy by Julie Thomas. From the description: When Dr Kobi Voight is given a set of old letters by his mother, he has no inkling that they will lead him around the world and deep into his family’s tragic past. Within the letters – written in Hebrew and filled with delicate illustrations – lie the reflections of a young Jewish woman, forced to give up her baby daughter while fighting with the Resistance in Berlin.

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams. From the description: One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper: To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime? So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar. From the description: Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this moving, richly imagined novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a thirteen-year-old girl, whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across their ancient land.

Follow Me by Kathleen Berber. From the description: Everyone wants new followers…until they follow you home. Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all.

A bit of romance, world literature, history and suspense. I think I’ve got some great reading material ahead. Have you heard of any of these and which one would you start with first?

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Ok, Good, Great

Here is a quick round-up of books I read toward the end of last year that I wanted to give a quick mention to.

My Name is Lucy Barton
By Elizabeth Strout
Source: Advance review copy

“To begin with, it was a simple story: I had gone into the hospital to have my appendix out. After two days they gave me food, but I couldn’t keep it down. And then a fever arrived. No one could isolate any bacteria or figure out what had gone wrong. No one ever did.”

While I’ve been a huge fan of some of Elizabeth Strout’s books this one didn’t hit the mark for me. Lucy recalls when she is in the hospital recovering from a surgery and what was supposed to be a relatively routine operation has turned into a lengthy stay. Her mother, whom she hasn’t seen in years, comes to be by her side. The two share a complicated past that we learn about through Lucy’s memories.

I wanted to see some major revelation at the end or some understanding but I feel like nothing much happened and the book just left me wanting and that’s why this one was just an ok read for me.

After She’s Gone
By Camilla Grebe, Translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel
Source: Advance review copy

“Dad says that everyone had jobs in Ormberg back then: either on a farm, or in the ironworks, or at Brogrens Mechanical or at TrikaKungen. Now, only the farmers have jobs. All the factories closed, and the jobs moved to China. Brogrens Mechanical stands silent and abandoned, a skeleton of corrugated sheet metal on flat land, and the castle-like brick building of the TrikaKungen textile factory has been converted to refugee housing.”

Detective Malin Brundin is sent to Ormberg, her small hometown, to investigate the death of a young child. Her hometown isn’t very welcoming to strangers and so she’s expected to pave the way for the investigation. Matters are complicated even more when the two others investigating the crime are in trouble. Hanne, a profiler who is suffering from early onset dementia, was found in the forest alone and confused and her partner, Peter Lindgren is missing. The only clue as to what happened to the two lies with a mystery woman who was seen when they found Hanne. Unfortunately the woman they are looking for is Jake, a teenager who has his share of secrets. Although this book features some of the characters from The Ice Beneath Her, I would say it can be easily read as a standalone and if you enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction, then I would say this is a good one to check out.

Ask Again, Yes
By Mary Beth Keene
Source: Advance review copy

“Brian Stanhope came bounding down the station house steps. He and Francis had met on the first day of academy, and it was by chance that they’d both ended up at the Four-One. In academy, they’d been in a tactics class together, and after a week or so Stanhope had approached Francis as they were filing out the classroom door. ‘You’re Irish, right? Off the boat, Irish, I mean?”

These two police officers end up as neighbors raising their young families. For Francis’s wife, Lena, she finally thinks this will be an opportunity to have a friend. She loves her home with Francis but it’s a bit lonely being away from her family. However, her dreams of friendship will fall by the wayside because Anne Stanhope has a lot of personal struggles. One fateful night will have consequences that will last a lifetime but it is through the years that we see that love and friendship have a way of surviving. I thought this was a beautiful story and at times it was very sad but overall I thought it shared a powerful message on forgiveness. This one ended up being one of my favorite reads last year.

Let me know if you read any of these and what you thought.

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