May 2021–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Did I Say That Out Loud? by Kristin van Ogtrop (Length: 192 pages).   This book of essays on middle age is written by the former editor of Real Simple magazine, one of my favorite magazines ever. Each essay has something oddly relevant to my life as a middle-aged (but in my mind I’m 29!) woman. They are all witty, profound and interesting enough to read the entire book in one sitting. This is a must read for any woman born in the 1960s or 1970s!

Book #2:

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand (Length: 433 pages). I find Hilderbrand’s novels to be consistently enjoyable–they’re not high-brow literature by any means, but she’s a decent writer and I never fail to finish a novel she’s written, so there’s that. This one is set in Nantucket, per usual, but the set up is a bit different in that two lovers meet once a summer during Labor Day weekend, for 28 years. (A la the Same Time, Next Year movie.) I found the writing to be stronger than her usual novels, with excellent character development. (The plot and setting take a back seat, predictably so). There is a tear-jerker of an ending, however, so be forewarned.

Book #3:

What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins (Length: 429 pages).   This novel was written by a judge and a former family law mediator about the aftermath of a teen homicide/suicide in a community in the Pacific Northwest. I listened to an interview of the author on a book podcast and she explained that she lived in a Quaker community for a month in order to understand that religion and culture, and I found the Quaker characters in this book to be the most interesting. This quote from the novel about Quakers really struck me: “. . . those who believed that loving presence and listening hearts saved far more souls than the millions of words written by man in God’s name”. The writing is fantastic here, as are both the plot and the depth of the character development. (The dog Rufus is one of my favorite characters in the book–apparently he’s modeled after her family dog). This novel is also quite the page turner as a few mysteries are revealed. This is absolutely a must read, and would make a fantastic book club choice!

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