93. What a Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr
This book was extremely readable while also being insanely ridiculous all at the same time. The protagonist Michelle returns home after spending over a year in the hospital recovering from a horrible car crash that she can’t remember. Her husband is distant and has moved himself and her son from CA to NY, her 16 year old daughter is missing, and a young rock star was apparently killed in the crash while riding in her car.
The book is written really well so that you want to find out what exactly happened with the crash and why her daughter has gone into hiding. However, the entire premise of the book relating to lawsuits and all the lies everyone tells her seem out of the realm of reality, which drove me nuts while reading it. If you can get past some some really far fetched premises it’s a good book. If you can’t then this probably isn’t the book for you. I give it a 6 out of 10.
92. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta
Yet another memoir in the long line of memoirs describing a horrible childhood thanks to a drug addicted mother that eventually led to the writer’s own addictions. There was nothing that made this book stand out from any of the others. Unless you’re super into these types of books I’d give it a pass. I give it a 5 out of 10.
91. Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See by Julian Garey
This book follows a man with bipolar disorder, who leaves his family and gives into his illness. You follow him as he travels for years following wherever his mind leads him, to his eventual treatment in a mental hospital while also weaving in his past including his own father’s descent into bipolar disorder. It’s a fascinating look inside the mind. As someone with a background in psychology I found it to be a really good portrayal of what it must be like to live with bipolar disorder while also demonstrating how extremely difficult it is for the people surrounding him. I give it a 7 out of 10.
90. A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
The story revolves around married couple Ben and Helen and their adopted daughter. After Ben makes a disasterous mistake in the midst of a mid-life crisis and essentially destroys everything the family has, Helen rebuilds her life, while their daughter seems to flounder in the midst of it all. I found the book to be disjointed at times taking huge leapfrogging over the story it seemed to be setting up into something connected but would seem to be multiple steps away from where you just were. It was a quick read that found fairly enjoyable while I was reading it, but it’s nothing that is going to be stick with me or that I’m going to rave about to anyone. If you come across a copy go ahead and read it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it. I give it a 5 out of 10.
89. Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
Willie Sutton was a famous bank robber, who I somehow had never really heard of until I started reading this book. Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention because after I started reading the book he came up multiple times in conversation entirely unrelated to the book. Anyway, the book is a historical novel imagining what happened during a meeting he had with a reporter the night Sutton was released from jail. As the author states much of the existing information on Sutton conflicts, so he uses what is available to retell Sutton’s story with literary license. If you’re looking for a strict biography this book is obviously not for you, but otherwise I would recommend it. It’s well written, obviously well researched, and does a good job of setting a tone that takes you into the time period. I give it an 8 out of 10.
88. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
One of my book clubs has been making its way through a series on classics. One of the members chose The Tempest to read for this month’s selection. It was a play I had neither read nor seen performed before. It was ok, but definitely not one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. It’s always good to get another one of these especially a fairly well known one under my belt though as it helps with understanding other literature, movies, tv shows etc. that allude to Shakespeare. I give it a 6 out of 10.
87. The Red House by Mark Haddon
This book was largely forgettable. I had to go look up the summary in order to even remember what it was about to write this review. It centers around an estranged brother and sister who decide to vacation together with their families in the English countryside. In many ways it reminded me of Stewart O’Nan’s “I Wish You Were Here” except not as good. Haddon’s earlier books particularly “The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime”, are much better. Go read one of those instead. I give it a 5 out of 10.
86. And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host
This is a young adult book, but again like many young adult books these days I think it has broad appeal despite the main characters being teenagers. Madeleine is a burgeoning young artist only concerned with being able to finish a portrait of her famous cousin when the world turns upside down. The story takes place in Australia, but there is an alien attack affecting the entire world. Spires suddenly emerge from the ground shooting out a glittery dust that when inhaled turns people either green or blue, each color signifying different changes in their bodies and abilities. Madeleine bands with a group of teenagers from a nearby boarding school and a few others they pick up along the way to try and figure out what is happening and how they can defeat it and return their world to normal.
Overall I found this to be an enjoyable book. I had a hard time following some of the descriptions, but that may just be due to my lack of imagination. My inability to picture what was being described didn’t really affect my ability to enjoy the book though. It was an imaginative book with well written characters. If you’ve been enjoying the wave of excellent young adult novels over the past several years you will probably like this book too. I give it a 7 out of 10.
85. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
I should really just stop reading Chabon’s books because they obviously are just not my thing. They always seem to get these rave reviews, but I wind up reading them and am at best underwhelmed. The story revolves around Archy and Nat who own a record store that is being threatened by the impending arrival of a megastore being built around the corner. Meanwhile their wives Gwen and Aviva have a midwife practice together that is facing its own problems due to a birth gone wrong. I by far found Gwen’s story to be the most enjoyable. Every time the store switched focus away from her to another character I immediately felt myself losing interest. If you like Chabon’s other books I’m guessing you’ll like this one as well because I’ve heard other people who are not me say good things. I just didn’t find it all that enjoyable. I give it a 5 out of 10.