Recent Reads / 01

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Recent Reads is a series for me to feature books I’ve read (or experienced) recently along with my verdicts.

Here we go…

The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

I quickly devoured this whodunnit. The plot is straightforward, but I’m always a sucker for an unreliable narrator. Lo is a travel writer who has recently experienced a traumatic break-in at her apartment. She thinks this upcoming Arctic Circle luxury cruise will help her relax and take her mind off things, but — while on the cruise — she thinks she’s witnessed a murder. Did she really? Or is she just sleep deprived? Or has she been drinking too much? I caught one twist and thoroughly enjoyed the ending.

Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

A collection of narrative poetry that captures the excitement and pitfalls of adolescence as a minority. Absolutely beautiful. I listened to this one read by Ms. Woodson herself, and I think that’s the best way to go.



H Is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

I went into this memoir with high hopes, and I really wanted to enjoy it. It’s won so many awards and garnered such praise! Macdonald wrote H is for Hawk after her father’s sudden death, and she explores her grief as she trains a goshawk.  There are some really lovely moments, especially as Macdonald describes her sadness and realizations about her father’s life and her attachment to him. However, I think the book ultimately falls flat as she interweaves her retelling of T. H. White’s similar experience in training a goshawk.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
by J.D. Vance

A 32-year-old Yale Law School grad’s memoir? Does he even have enough material for a memoir? He does. Vance’s successes belie his adolescent struggles in a blue-collar, self-proclaimed “hillbilly” family. I got the impression that Vance’s impetus for writing this memoir was primarily political; however, those asides don’t detract from his gripping narrative.


by Ann Patchett

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I’d never read Patchett, but I hope to rectify that soon. I picked up this novel at the airport before Chris’ and my long flight from Boston to Milan. I devoured it and then immediately re-started it. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.

Commonwealth is a story of two families through generations and the repercussions of an infidelity. Sound familiar? (In fact, Anna Karenina’s first line would make sense here: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”) But Patchett’s first line is just as gripping: “The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin.” I do love a good first line.

Do you agree or disagree with any of my verdicts? Want to recommend any of your recent reads? Let me know in the comments!

6 Replies to “Recent Reads / 01”

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