March 25, 2016

Reading Lately + Beyond Words Book Club Link-Up

This month was really disappointing when it came to reading. I only read two books! It was partially because of how busy this month has been but it's mostly because it took me almost three weeks to read "The Memory Keeper's Daughter." I hate it when that happens!

Carolann and I are hosting our first link-up for they Beyond Words Book Club today! The link-up will happen on the last Friday of every month and you can share your thoughts on each month's book club along with what else you've been reading! Here's a look at my month:

"Havana Real" by Yoani Sanchez - This book was disappointing. I thought the book would be Yoani Sanchez telling her story but it's just four years of her blog posts translated by someone who admits to only having 5 weeks of intensive Spanish. I've read Sanchez's blog so it was nice to see her posts dating back quite a bit, but this definitely wasn't what I thought it would be.

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards. - This was our first book club book and I loved reading everyone's thoughts about the book on the Goodreads group as we were reading it. Unfortunately, I hated this book. Hated. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads. From the beginning, the author tried the "shock and awe" method in regards to everything and it got old.

The book starts in the middle of a snow storm when Norah Henry goes into labor and her husband, David, has to deliver the baby. After delivering a healthy baby boy, she unexpectedly delivers a second child, a girl with Down's Syndrome, which David gives to the nurse telling her to take the baby to an institution and then tells his wife that their second baby died.

Then the book carries on for 400 pages of each of their individual lives and you just keep waiting for them to intersect again, for Norah to find out that her baby never died, for David to make a confession, for the nurse to show up on the doorstep years later...something...and none of that happens. The "plot twist" occurs maybe 25 pages before the end and the book resolves in a "happily ever after" way that isn't realistic and didn't help the book in any way.

"The Little Paris Bookshop" by Nina George - I haven't finished this book yet, but I'm close enough to finishing that I'll put a partial review up and update this post after the fact. First, this book has the words "Paris" and "Bookshop" in the title which means that I was definitely going to read this book. It's beautiful. I absolutely love the language of this novel. Sentences like, "The air was a velvety 82 degrees" are just perfect. The novel is about Monsieur Perdu, a literary apothecary, who prescribes books for emotional ailments. From the book,
I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognizes as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors. All those little feelings and emotions notherapist is interested in, because they are apparently too minor and intangible. The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end. Or when you recognize that you haven't got your whole life left to find out where you belong. Or the sense of grief when a friendship doesn't develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion. Or those birthday morning blues. Nostalgia for the air of your childhood. Things like that. 
My issue with this book is that it seems like the author had two novel ideas (ha) and merged them into one. In the first, a man who mends broken hearts and souls with books but can't find the cure for his own aching heart and, in the second, a man who falls in love with a book written under a pseudonym and tries to find the true author. These stories run parallel in "The Little Paris Bookshop" and don't seem to align very well. With 75 pages until the end, I don't seem them coming together either, but we'll see.

If you're a member of the Beyond Bloggers' Book Club or want to join, voting is now available on the Goodreads group for our second book! Click over to Goodreads to request to join the group and cast your vote! Voting will be up through next week! The books we're voting on this month are:
What have you been reading lately?
Have you read any of these books?
If you read "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," what did you think?

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