In the last few years I’ve written a “best books of the half-year” post (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015). This year feels different, and I’m not going to do the same, but I have been reading a lot and I wanted to share some of those titles. This is only books since I last wrote about what I’m reading, so it’s far from comprehensive. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and enjoying lately.
The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel – I loved this book, which spoke so beautifully of the past, ghosts, regret, and the road not taken.
The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer – I love this writer’s voice, which I encountered for the first time in Andre Agassi’s Open: An Autobiography. Still reading this one so not done yet, but oh, so beautiful. My favorite line so far: “we exalt what is at hand.”
Daisy Jones & The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid – A truly unconventional narrative structure which worked, in my opinion. This made me think a lot of A Star is Born and I loved it.
Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen – I’ve read two Anna Quindlen novels during the quarantine (the other: Every Last One) and preferred this one. Lovely. The idea of making art out of our lives really resonated. Perhaps what I mean is: we exalt what is at hand.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne – as you can see I went on a large Boyne tear (The Heart’s Invisible Furies is one of my all-time favorites). All I have to say is WOW. This one, about a child’s perspective on Auschwitz, is gutting and beautiful at the same time. Boyne knows heartbreak and loneliness, that’s for sure.
History of Loneliness, John Boyne – More loneliness, in the title and pervasively throughout. One of my strange fascinations is the papal conclave, so I was interested in this view on the papacy as well.
A Ladder to the Sky, John Boyne – This novel has a Talented Mr. Ripley feel, and some entertaining references to famous 20th century writers.
Moonlight Mile, Dennis Lehane – Found in the Little Free Library by our house. I love Dennis Lehane. So Boston, and he can write a gripping page turner populated by deeply humane characters, which is a combination I love.
Friends and Strangers, J. Courtney Sullivan – I read this before quarantine but it comes out June 30th and I could not recommend more highly. A thoughtful and fun (again, that magic combo!) exploration of motherhood today, and what it means to work, friendship, and marriage.