Book ruts: they happen to all of us. My most recent book rut is angsty and decidedly across-the-pond in flavor; I just finished bingeing on Samantha Young’s entire On Dublin Street series, and while I loved it, I now need a palate cleanser after all that emotional upheaval and first-person Scottishness. (Three first-person books in a row starts to feel like an English 205 seminar on the epistolary novel, you know? I’m looking at you, Pamela.) Here’s what’s on my docket—perhaps one of these reads will shake out of your current reading groove and inspire you to venture into uncharted territory:
Some Thrilling Nonfiction
The recent passing of Louis Zamperini at age 97 coincided with the first trailer for Angelina Jolie’s film version of Laura Hillenbrand‘s nonfiction epic, Unbroken. I won’t go into all the details (because between the obituary and the trailer, you’re spoiled enough), but suffice to say Zamperini led an awe-inspiring life, in the most literal sense of that phrase. The book is a fast, cinematic read, and even before you get to the real meat of Zamperini’s story, enjoy these delightful details of the 1936 American Olympians’ Atlantic crossing:
Everyone was fighting for training space. Gymnasts set up their apparatuses, but with the ship swaying, they kept getting bucked off. Basketball players did passing drills on deck, but the wind kept jettisoning balls into the Atlantic. Fencers lurched all over the ship. The water athletes discovered that the salt water in the ship’s tiny pool sloshed back and forth vehemently, two feet deep one moment, seven feet the next, creating waves so large, one water polo man took up bodysurfing. Every large roll heaved most of the water, and everyone in it, onto the deck, so the coaches had to tie the swimmers to the wall…In high seas, the runners were buffeted about, all staggering in one direction, then in the other.
A Funny, Light Romance.
Jayne Denker‘s Picture This is a sweet little ordinary-girl-meets-movie-star romance that’s so featherlight it nearly floats away, and that’s exactly what I wanted after a week in Samantha Young’s world o’ tears. I’ve never been one for “cozy” romances, but this one manages to combine a few tropes that set off warning bells in my head—a small town full of meddlers, a quirky grandma—and come up with a gently heart-warming book that actually made me laugh out loud.
The door to the house opened, and Celia’s mother poked her head out. “What’s taking you two so long? The hot tea’s getting cold and the iced tea is getting hot. Also, you’re confusing the dog. So—in or out. Let’s go.”
I’ve enjoyed Jeaniene Frost‘s vampire books for years (she’s actually the only writer I trust with vampires anymore—and I know how insane that sounds). Her first new adult title, The Beautiful Ashes, is out next month and I’m always excited about a favorite author doing a new thing.
A Globe-Trotting Memoir
TV writer Kristin Newman‘s What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding may have an abrasive title, but it’s not a screed against settling down and having kids. Rather, it’s about the process of figuring out who you are when that process happens to take a little longer—and involve sexy people of many nationalities (as, ideally, the maturation process should). I laughed a lot reading this (particularly when some fellow travelers taught Newman the Dutch word swaffle: “which means ‘to hit something with your flaccid penis.’ This is apparently something the Dutch do often enough that they needed a word for it”), and then went to find my passport.
A Lush, Much-Anticipated Historical.
Courtney Milan‘s The Suffragette Scandal came out last week, and I’ve never not loved one of Milan’s books, so the anticipation has been delicious. If I didn’t have, you know, a job, I would spend the rest of July in my bed, happily ensconced in the nineteenth century.
How do you break a reading rut?