If you’ve read any of these I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Also tell me about what you are reading now.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
It is 1922 in Moscow when young Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in the attic of a luxury hotel for having “succumbed irrevocably to the corruptions of his class.” While I was not bored, I found the first third of the book to be slow. When I reached the halfway point though, I perked up and did not want to put it down as I neared the end of each chapter. I realized then the story had just been paced to follow a man under house arrest for decades. With a cast of characters that come and go and an ever changing political backdrop, in his confinement the Count finds a fulfilled life within the walls of The Metropol.
This ended up being a book that I hurried to finish and then was sad when there was no more. It left me feeling satisfied, and I thought about it several days after I finished it. I’d also like to add that my good friend Rhonda at a Thankful Heart recommended this. She is an avid reader with great taste. You should follow her blog if you don’t already.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
5 years ago I was sitting in a waiting room during my third trimester ready to see my OBGYN. I was flipping through some magazine and saw this book listed as a must read for the summer. I had a baby and didn’t read it that summer or several after. Recently though I read a review (again on Rhonda’s blog) of a different book by the same author that reminded me that I had never gotten around to Where’d You Go, Bernadette? So when I got off work early the Friday of Labor Day weekend and the kids and my husband were all engrossed in their own projects, I snuggled in to finally read it.
It is uniquely written because it is told from different perspectives via documentation. I realize that sounds like it would boring or confusing (or both) to read. It wasn’t though. Through notes, emails, reports, chat messages, and more we learn about an oddball mom and her eventual disappearance.
About the middle of the book there were a handful of hilarious miscommunications between Bernadette and her husband. I wish the story would have continued down that road. Instead it took a slightly more serious turn. It was still a fun read though. I particularly liked and appreciated that Bernadette’s character is a modern day woman cut from a different cloth.
The Boy Who Loved Too Much: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness by Jennifer Latson
Williams syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes those who have it unable to distrust. People with Williams are friendly, cannot detect sarcasm, and have lower social inhibitions. A majority of people born with the disorder have lower IQs and specific health issues. Journalist Jennifer Latson followed and wrote about a single mother, Gayle, raising her son, Eli, who has Williams syndrome.
The topic itself is interesting. Latson does an amazing job or intertwining scientific information about Williams syndrome with Gayle and Eli’s personal story. So we get the text book type information but in a context that is related to actual people.
This was a pick for the month by one of my book club members. In true book club form this is not a book I would have chosen to read myself, and due to timing this was a hard read for me. Several months ago my son was diagnosed with autism. While I have been reading about autism, it has mostly been about signs, symptoms, treatments, the more clinical stuff.
The Boy Who Loved Too Much shows Gayle as she is looking for answers, gets the diagnosis, struggles with accepting it, and after. I could only read this book in small bits at a time. Parts were too close to what I was going through and too raw for me to read too much at once. Yes this book explores Williams syndrome, but at the heart of it, it is really about a mom trying to do what is right for her vulnerable son.
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