This month in books

Life as Mom is hosting Booking It again, so I’m posting an overview of books I’ve read since the last roundup, with links to the more in depth review posts I do each week.  If you like to read and/or review books, head over to Life as Mom to link up or read the other entries.

The Marriage Project is a fun way to put your marriage on “project status” and really make it a priority to build your marriage for three weeks.  The book includes projects and tasks for each week and is written in a way that is both encouraging and doable even with a busy schedule.  I think any marriage could benefit from a burst of attention, and would recommend this book to couples at any stage of married life.

The Little Stranger is an excellent novel about Britain between World Wars I and II, exploring concepts of class, social change, and family relationships.  The writing is amazing with the exception of the disappointing ending.  I appreciated the author’s decision to build tension without resorting to lascivious writing, which is apparently a departure from her previous books.  If you can handle a letdown ending, I’d highly recommend this book.

Noah’s Compass was not my favorite of Anne Tyler’s novels, but she still delivers great writing and compelling depictions of themes like identity, family, and finding one’s place.  As I mention in the longer review, if you’ve not read Anne Tyler before, I’d recommend her books Digging to America or The Accidental Tourist instead, but Noah’s Compass is good if you’ve read the rest of Tyler’s works.

Writer Mama would be a great reference if you’re looking to build a career of writing articles or non-fiction.  The author gives great advice for building your platform and leveraging your writing to achieve your goals.  Although I’m not going in quite this direction, I still found many of her ideas helpful and applicable to fiction writing.  Bloggers would also benefit from this book.

The Writing Life is less a how to manual and more a personal memoir of writer Annie Dillard.  I love to read about how other writers approach the craft, and Dillard’s amazing imagery and vivid writing would be  a pleasure to read even if you’re not a writer.  I found her sections on having realistic expectations and setting a schedule particularly encouraging.

Mistress of the Monarchy is a historical account of the life of Katherine Swynford, an important link in the British royal family.  If you’re an avid history buff with a particular delight in British history, you might enjoy this book, or, like me, you might find it about twice as long as it needed to be.  I recommended alternatives in the comments of the longer review.

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a collection of short stories by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Ishiguro is an incredible writer, but short stories are not my favorite genre so I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the author’s other works.  The stories all involve coming to grips with loss and reality in middle age, a topic that I find disturbing but a good choice of subject matter.  If you like short stories or tend to read in short spurts, this might be a great book for you.

Her Fearful Symmetry was a dreadful disappointment after Audrey Nifenegger’s promising first novel The Time Traveler’s Wife.  Really, I can not in any way recommend this book, but in the longer review I give a few examples of better choices from the mystery/historical genre.

What did you read this month?  I’m always looking for suggestions to add to my reading list!

2 thoughts on “This month in books

  1. I’m like slug in the book dept. right now, but I’m really enjoying The Dirt on Clean by Katherine Ashenberg. It’s pretty interesting!

    I always enjoy your booklists/reviews. I love seeing what other people are reading – it gives me such good direction if/when I’m lagging.

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