Recently Read v. 7

While I wasn’t blogging for quite some time (this is my 5th post of 2017 so I’ve already blogged more in 2017 than I did in 2016!), I was still reading! I read some great books in 2016. Here’s what I’ve read most recently.

Station Eleven

Oh my gosh, I loved this book. I have an affinity for post-apocalypse/sci-fi/dystopian future scenarios and this book was the perfect combination of that and real humanity.

I don’t want to give anything away but if you liked the movie Contagion or World War Z (although this isn’t a zombie book, I promise), you’ll probably really like this. The description on Amazon doesn’t do it justice and neither can I. This was my favorite book I read in 2016.

The Rosie Effect

The Rosie Effect is the follow-up to The Rosie Project which I reviewed here (along with some other great books). If The Rosie Project was about getting married, The Rosie Effect is about…you guessed it….babies.

When he and Rosie get pregnant, Don goes into research mode and approaches fatherhood the same way he initially approached finding a wife – in an overly scientific fashion. As you can imagine, mild chaos ensues.

I enjoyed reading from Don’s perspective again. He’s a narrator unlike any other I’ve read and I think he’s helped me to better understand people with autism.

Still Alice

Still Alice is about a woman’s diagnosis and progression of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, written from her perspective. I found this to be incredibly heartbreaking, especially as the author did a phenomenal job of demonstrating how Alice’s illness is affecting those around her (and often how unaware Alice is).

If you’ve known someone who has suffered from Alzheimer’s or dementia, this will hit close to home and really give you insight to what may be happening from their perspective. It was heartbreaking and it felt so real. It is absolutely worth a read. I felt shocked the entire time I was reading that this illness actually exists. It’s so cruel.

I actually watched the movie adaptation last night and was astounded by how much they stuck to the book.

As a side note – my copy of this book is the movie edition of the book printing. You know, it has Julianne Moore on the cover with the whole “now a major motion picture” (shown above). I have to say, I always try to avoid buying these editions. They seem somehow less authentic. Anyone else?

American Wife

I picked this book up at a used bookstore in Florence after I’d read all the other books I brought to Italy during bouts of time zone induced insomnia. This book that follows the life of Alice Lindgren, a fictional character loosely based on the life of Laura Bush.

It is fairly long and goes through her life from childhood all the way through to her time as first lady. The book is not a biography but there is so much that is pulled from Laura Bush’s life, it actually made me grow quite fond of her. It was fascinating to take a (fictional) peek into what life might be life for some of America’s iconic, privileged families.

It also left me wondering how often she disagreed with her husband in their private life. Alice frequently disagrees with her husband, something that I’d never pondered might be an experience that many first ladies share. I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy learning about the people behind politics (or at least imagining how their lives might be).

War Brides

Set in a small village in England, the book follows the lives of several women leading up to World War II and then their stories as they intertwine throughout the war and decades in the future. I feel like there was one too many characters, as I frequently forgot which storyline belonged to which character and who was married to who. It has a 4.5 star rating (with over 10k reviews) on Amazon which I think gave me unrealistic expectations.

I did enjoy the storyline of the young jewish girl, Tanni, who is abruptly married to a family friend in order to get her out of the country. I had never considered that this sort of thing happened but I’m sure it did.

I read this most recently and I’m decidedly meh about it. I really enjoyed much of the story up until the sort of over-the-top ending.

What I’m reading now: The Girl With All the Gifts

I’m loving this book so far. This was an Amazon recommendation based on Station Eleven. I can’t wait to see the movie!

Looking for more recommendations? Here’s Recently Read Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, and Vol. 6 (this one is probably the best batch).

So tell me, what have you read recently (or are reading now)? Recommendations please!

  • As an SLP student, I really ought to read both The Rosie Project (and The Rose Effect) & Still Alice for the perspectives you just described. Definitely next on my list! I’ve just finished reading Big Little Lies and I’m so excited for the HBO mini series starting up next month. I just started up Brooklyn, but I’m having trouble getting into it.

    Also – I’m right there with you about the movie covers feeling inauthentic. I try to avoid them as well!

    • They’d both be great reads for SLP students. I was most fascinated by Don’s perspective in The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. The Rosie Project was better but once another book came out, I had to read it because I loved the characters so.

  • Christopher Andersen writes biographies on American presidents, their wives and their marriages. You should check out George and Laura: Portrait of an American marriage. I’d love to see if you see the same overlaps!! Thanks for the recommendations; I shall add some of these to my list… and try and prioritize reading. I’ve got a bunch of flights coming up, so no excuse really.. lol.

    • I just hopped over to Amazon and looked at George and Laura. I’d definitely be interested in checking it out. American Wife made me so curious about the real story behind their marriage. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Ooh, goody – adding a few of these to my Amazon cart! Especially The American Wife – I’m big into the “people behind politics” at the moment after finishing the West Wing and going through complete withdrawal!!

    • I got through a few seasons of the West Wing but didn’t finish. Maybe 2 seasons in? Is it worth continuing? I liked it but it’s pretty intense for a binge watch. I love Aaron Sorkin’s writing so much but you really have to pay attention.

      • Omg I binged it in two months because I couldn’t get enough haha!! Honestly, Seasons 1-4 are the best, and it becomes slightly less good after Sorkin leaves at the end of Season 4. But Seasons 6 and 7 are based on a presidential campaign, so that’s always interesting 🙂

  • Station Eleven sounds good! I’m going to add it to my list.

    • So so so good. Let me know what you think if you read it.

  • Kimmie Merkley

    What a great list! I totally agree with you about movie book covers- I never like them as much. And I actually just picked Still Alice up from the library and am glad you liked it!

    I posted some of my recently read books right here:

    • You’ve got some great recommendations! I want to check out Pit Bull.

  • Curtis Sittenfeld is my favorite author – since you enjoyed American Wife you should check out her others! Prep is my favorite but you have to be okay with being very frustrated by the main character, haha. I really liked Man of my Dreams, and Eligible is a modern take on Pride & Prejudice- highly recommend! I really want to read Still Alice and Station Eleven!

    • I definitely will check out more of her books. Eligible sounds like something I’d really like. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • I loved American Wife too! I didn’t know I liked Laura Bush until then. Also, I agree with the movie covers. Can’t books just look like books? (it’s all about $$$, I know, I know) Glad you’re back in the blogosphere. I like your recent content better than any of the fashion sponsorships and grow your blog by XXX content that’s everywhere else.

    • Thanks, Shannon. It’s hard because those kinds of posts are so “shareable” and wind up making more money in the long run. But these kinds of posts are more “me”. I’m trying to just bring blogging back to a place that it’s fun for me again.

  • I don’t read during the school holidays, never seem to have the time, War Brides sounds like a book I would like

    • I read right before bed but some weeks I nod off 2-3 pages in. Sometimes weeks go by where I feel like I’ve read the same few pages. It’s definitely hard to find the time sometimes.

  • I actually have American Wife but I haven’t even read it! lol. I’m finally going to now, so thanks for the review. I also watched the movie Still Alice and it was heartbreaking. I wouldn’t mind reading the book either. Station Eleven looks interesting, adding that one to my reading list 🙂

    • Definitely read American Wife. It was one that I bought in a moment of desperation (there weren’t many english books to choose from in Florence) and then I loved it. Also if you already saw Still Alice, you probably don’t need to read the book. They really stuck to the book in the movie adaptation. Happy reading!

  • American Wife is still on my list to-read! I might need to pick it up soon. I also want to read the Rosie Effect! I enjoyed the first book, so I’m sure this one will be good also 😉 Glad to have found your blog & more book recos! xx

  • I have Still Alice downloaded. I just keep reading other stuff first. I’ll get to it eventually.

  • Just got The Rosie Project for Christmas. As I don’t have much free time as a working mom, it will probably take me six months to read, but I’m looking forward to it.

  • I’m totally with you on trying not to buy the movie cover print books! It makes me feel like other people will think I’m just buying it because of the movie but that’s almost never the case! Plus, 9 times out of 10, I like the original cover art. I put Still Alice on my ‘to read’ list on goodbooks after reading your review- I cannot wait to read it. Alzheimers disease is one of the scariest diseases imaginable… I’m sure I’ll cry while reading it.

    If you’re interested, look into my book challenge on goodreads-

  • I’ve heard Station Eleven is really good but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet! And I go back and forth with The Rose Effect. I LOVED the Rosie Project but I’ve heard mixed reviews about the second one and I’m worried it’s going to ruin the first book!

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