Dear readers, welcome to Title Talk, 06.2020. Haven’t posted a book review since 02.2020 when I reviewed several children’s books and Long Bright River by Liz Moore. And before that, 10.2019 when I shared my review of The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib. The books in those posts were selected by my online book club. And both have stayed with me over the months when some days I can’t remember my own name.
When I started writing this blog, I thought it would be mostly book reviews. And maybe some library lesson plans thrown in for good measure. Probably because I originally began blogging to fill the idle hours after retiring from a 25 year career as a librarian. Books had been so much of my life for so long. Funny how the blog morphed into something else – less about books which were once so much a part of my former life. And more about a whole range of things that fills my life these days.
So what books am I sharing for Title Talk 06.2020? Some goodies, to be sure. Have a look.
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Title Talk 06.2020
Have spoken about my online book club several times on the blog. It is probably where I focus most of my lifelong librarian/book lovin’ energies these days. And the reason I read the books in this post in the first place! If you are looking for looking for a low key book club, “Come Read With Me” but just be the perfect fit for you. We will be voting for our July this coming weekend. Let me know if you’re interested in joining the gang.
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
“[Brown] excels at bringing the complexities of women’s lives to the page, and her latest novel questions how much has really changed for women over the last 60 years. The pacing is brisk, the characters are appealing, and both time lines are equally well realized. Thoughtful, clever, and surprisingly dark.”
In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society. [source]
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads but was happy to see that some of the gals in the club awarded it 5 stars. The story compares the lives, marriages and choices of Alice, the present day character, with Nellie living in the 1950s. While I have experienced abuse on a smaller scale to what Nellie falls victim to at the hands of her husband, neither she nor the other main character really moved me.
On the surface, the story line seems like a comparison of the ‘typical’ stay-at-home housewife from 2 very different eras. But as it progresses, Recipe for a Perfect Wife turns darker, delving deeper into relationships, secrets, and society’s expectations for married women. Was surprised that I ‘figured out’ one of the subplots all by myself!!
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
“Serle takes a fairly generic rom-com setup and turns it into something much deeper in this captivating exploration of friendship, loss, and love.” —Booklist
This book earned 5 shiny stars from me even though the premise is based on the plausibility that one can foresee their future in a dream. I listened to this book on Audible and devoured every word. Probably set some kind of personal best record for finishing an audio book! Where the characters in Recipe fell a little flat with me, Dannie and Bella are my new (make believe) BFFs. Both resonated with me, as I could see a little bit of myself in these 2 very dissimilar young women.
Not a big fan of rom-coms or even love stories over here. Although this book is described as a love story, I loved it because it is so much more. An examination of what makes us who we are. Type A and Type B personalities. Nature versus nurture. Lots to think about, to contemplate as these well developed characters and their relationships with one another unfold.
Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer
“The back-and-forth between Beth in the 1990s and Grace’s notes from the 1950s creates momentum, and readers of epistolary novels will nod at Grace’s depiction of the lack of choices for women of that time. Contrasting that with the stigma of getting mental health help, which was still strong in the ‘90s, Rimmer paints a picture of women finding their strength then and now.” –Booklist
Exploring the expectations society places on women of every generation, Kelly Rimmer explores the profound struggles two women unwittingly share across the decades set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true. [source]
Although I originally gave this book 4 stars, thinking about it again now has convinced me to up that to 5. So much of this book hit close to home. The adult children in the book having to relocate their elderly parent with dementia. The relationships between siblings wanting what is best for their parent and each other. All of them coming to acknowledge moments in their combined childhood that had been buried and long forgotten, or never clearly understood.
The story bounces between Beth’s life in the 90s and her mother’s life at the time of Beth’s birth, close to 40 years earlier. Rimmer examines an array of ticklish themes such as abortion, abuse, depression, elderly care and a woman’s ‘proper’ place in the home, in society. I think this book will speak equally to the dilemmas and choices facing Baby Boomers as well as Generation X and Millennials. A multi-layered story with a perfect ending.
What are you reading these days? Have you found more time for reading during this crazy Covid crisis? I am not sure I am reading more but I am trying to juggle more than one book at a time. Which proves challenging some days!! Especially when 2 of the 3 books I am reading have a character with the same name. Looking at you, Grace. And Grace. And Grace.
Hugs and kisses,