Reunited with two of my favorite people in Seattle, Washington (Marilyn, on the left, just ran her first Boston Marathon; Kelly and I ran a 10K in Seattle, wherein she kicked my ass and we had so much fun!)
Made my first visit to Elliott Bay Book Company and it was all I’d hoped it would be (and then some)
Enjoyed some beautiful days on my bike, in preparation for triathlon season
Physical and Ebooks (in the order in which I read them during the month):
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar - While this was a slight departure from my usual reading fare (without spoiling too much, let’s just say this is a story about life in a cult with an enigmatic leader), The Ash Family was both interesting and intriguing; Molly Dektar is a wonderful storyteller and I’m amazed that this is her debut novel. I think this would make a great discussion/book club pick, as well.
Trophy Life by Lea Geller - I finished this book in just two days; it has funny moments, plenty of thoughtful reflections, likable and unlikable characters, and I love Lea Geller’s writing style. This was the perfect anecdote to the rainy days of spring and I’ll definitely recommend this one for fun, summer reading.
Tomorrow There Will Be Sun by Dana Reinhardt - I added this title to my library hold list after hearing about it on the From the Front Porch podcast; it was recommended by Annie Jones, one of my favorite reading recommendation sources, but it fell rather flat for me. I was hoping for something along the lines of The Vacationers or Siracusa, but this was story had a little too much privilege and mom drama for my taste.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim - Many of my reading friends rated this novel with a resounding five stars and, while I was able to stay engaged throughout the novel and definitely felt eager to find out how the mystery would conclude, I have to admit that there are times when I struggle to identify with stories that are so strongly positioned within the context of parenting. Having said that, Angie Kim is a brilliantly talented writer and storyteller; I love her inclusion of children with special needs, especially an autistic child and the unique challenges of his single mother. While there is certainly a mystery to solve, by the end it feels more like a tragedy; the way in which Kim weaves these two elements together is absolutely stunning and Miracle Creek is definitely worth the high praise it has received.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan - Marketed to YA readers, this novel has been on my list for quite some time; it is heavy on grief and loss - favorite themes of mine - but written in such an accessible way that it makes me want to keep copies to hand out to the young family members of patients I encounter in my work as a clinical chaplain. I truly enjoyed this novel and I’m glad I finally made time to read it.
Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis - I’m both a fan of short stories and of Helen Ellis’s previous work - American Housewife - so I was thrilled to learn of this new collection which, as a born and bred Southerner, seemed like a no-brainer. I should have counted how many passages I’ve highlighted within my copy; Ellis understands Southern culture so acutely and is able to laugh at the seemingly absurd (but extremely necessary!) lengths to which we, as Southern Ladies, have been instructed to go to in order to retain our sense of dignity and self-respect. There is no doubt that I will return to these stories often for a dose of laughter, empathy and fun.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - After reading The Cuckoo’s Calling in February, thanks to a group of women I’ve joined on Instagram with the goal of completing the Cormoran Strike series this year, I’ve been looking forward to checking back in with detective Cormoran Strike and his lovely assistant Robin. I don’t know if it’s due to my familiarity with the characters or the subject matter (Strike is hired to find a novelist whose gone missing), but I enjoyed this one so much more than the first in the series; I’m excited to continue with Career of Evil.
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro - I wish I could remember where I first heard about this memoir; nevertheless, I’m so glad I decided to go the audio route because author Dani Shapiro narrates the story and it is so interesting! I really enjoyed the entire production and highly recommend this for audiobook fans, as well as those of you who are interested in both the scientific and psychological implications of children born from donor sperm told from the perspective of someone who is shocked to find out about her own parentage.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb - This title came highly recommended by Renee at It’s Book Talk, one of my best audiobook recommendation sources; thanks to the work I do, this is probably especially interesting to me but I also think it makes for great reading/listening for the general population, as well. Gottlieb is a credentialed psychotherapist, but also a very talented writer; while she shares her experiences with a select group of patients, she also shares her own experiences as a patient of psychotherapy and the ways in which we are all shaped by the circumstances we encounter throughout our lives. I have loved this book so much, I definitely plan to purchase a hard copy for my home library.
My Favorite Book of April:
I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney - If you can get me through a four and a half hour flight, made even longer by an extended stay on the tarmac while waiting for clearance in bad weather, when I’m already tired and there’s a baby crying in the back, well…you win. I read Alice Feeney’s latest during my trip home from Seattle a couple of weeks ago and, after my complete and utter enjoyment of her debut, Sometimes I Lie, this one exceeded my expectations. In fact, I may have even enjoyed this one more than Feeney’s debut, which is rarely the case. While I have no doubt that some reviewers will claim they “had it all figured out” before the end, I certainly did not; Feeney had me hanging on through the final page and clamoring to discuss with other readers as soon as possible.
The return of The Bachelorette on May 13 - no further comment needed.
My first two triathlon events of the season, and my first ever Olympic distance triathlon, will occur during May; I have to swim a mile in the Olympic distance event…don’t worry, my affairs are in order and I am currently accepting thoughts, prayers, good vibes and flotation devices.
I’m most looking forward to Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane; it comes out on May 28. I’m also looking forward to a couple of light, fun, contemporary romance novels and I think they’ll be the perfect compliment to the other books I’ve got lined up during the month.