Monday, May 7, 2018

Recommended Reading

I love when a totally unplanned theme comes together. All four of these books were recommended to me - three by people who'd already read them, and one for an upcoming book club discussion.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin Is focused around the question of what might happen if you knew the date you were going to die. Four siblings find out just this via a psychic who tells them just this. Each of the siblings finds out the information independently, so there isn't any knowledge of what fate each has been told. The story then branches into four short stories of sorts. There is a section focused on each sibling within a certain set of years. This one was quite interesting and not like anything I'd read. The siblings make a variety of choices as a result of their individual predictions - for better or worse. The book then goes through the years (with each sibling being the focus for a section of years) to show what goes down. In addition to following the story, it also made me think how I might react to each prediction they're given as well as wonder if I would want to know this information.

Read this book if - You enjoy a short story collection - This one very much reads like four individual vignettes even though they are connected. You like books built around stories that pose questions you haven't ever considered.

I'll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer is true crime like no other true crime. Y'all, this book is amazing for so many reasons. So many of those reasons relate to the author (Michelle McNamara). If you're not familiar, Michelle died before she was able to complete this book. Her husband (Patton Oswalt) and some of her collaborators worked to get this published for her posthumously. Michelle is a researcher like no other. The depths in which she explores this case are mind-blowing. She leaves no stone unturned (literally, not a one, as she explores everything) to try to find a killer that has eluded police for over 40 years. Even more incredible is that two weeks ago, they finally found this monster. The chapter of this book entitled "Letter To An Old Man" is hauntingly beautiful as it describes what it would be like when he was finally caught. I could go on and on about this one, and you should 100% find your way to this one. 

Read this book if - You have read any true crime book in life ever. You have any interest in true crime. You want to be captivated by a researcher who immerses herself in solving a mystery that has terrorized so many. 

(Oh, and for the first time ever, I'm offering a second type of recommendation. You'll see why.)

Read this book when - You are not home alone. You are not about to go to bed - and honestly, maybe even in the nighttime hours. You are not prone to hearing strange noises/things that go bump in the night. You are prepared to be freaked the heck out by what you read. Y'all, I promise it's an incredible read, but the scariness of this killer's crime will hit real close to home and make you feel/see/hear/think things.

Before We Were Yours was historical fiction by Lisa Wingate. The history it covers was something I wasn't familiar with at all - The Tennessee Children's Home Orphanage. As is a common storytelling format in historical fiction, this one has a story in the past and present. In the past, it focuses on siblings who are taken from their family's shantyboat in 1939 to the orphanage. In the present day, it focuses on a woman in a wealthy family who begins to realize her family's past (specifically her grandmother's) is not as clear as it seems. One of the most compelling parts of this one is the tragedy of the orphanage. While the characters are fictional, you also have to remind yourself this is a real thing that happened. I won't tell you this story isn't a sad read because that would be a lie. I will tell you there are other emotions infused throughout that make this one worth the feels it provides.

Read this book if - You are a fan of historical fiction. You appreciate historical fiction that exposes you to aspects of history that aren't as well-known. You like your historical fiction infused with a bit of mystery on the connection between past and present.

Rosie Dunne by Cecilia Ahern was this month's selection for my online book club. Oh, and one note, this book is also called Love, Rosie and/or Where Rainbows End in the UK. The love I have for this book is primarily because of the unique format. Everything is told through correspondence - letters, emails and instant messages. In other words, there is nothing, but these communications to tell Rosie's story. Rosie's story revolves around her long-time friendship with Alex, as well as the unexpected twists and subsequent unrealized of her life - both in her relationship with Alex and other things. The storytelling in this one was so great, and I devoured this book as I had to know what happened to Rosie next - mainly as it related to Alex. I definitely did not expect to love this one as much as I did, and I'm happy I can now spread the word on its quirkiness.

Read this book if - You like a fiction read that has some unexpected twists and turns primarily around romance. You want to check out a fiction book that is in a nontraditional format. You need a book that will just make you smile.