Two for the Road

Two for the Road

In case you've somehow missed it (I've been pretty annoying about it lately but, what can I say? I'm so freaking excited!), I'm traveling to Eugene, Oregon, in just a few short weeks to enjoy time with friends and watch the U.S. Olympic Trials in Track & Field at historic Hayward Field; for a running nerd like me, it's going to be epic. 

Photo courtesy of my friend  Marilyn .

Photo courtesy of my friend Marilyn.

When I travel, especially when flights are involved, there are usually lots of stops and starts; there are myriad activities to take part in and little snippets of downtime that I use to enjoy reading. I like to make sure that I bring along novels that I can pick up and put down; short stories (like this recent release) are fantastic, as are light reads that keep me interested but do not require a lot of heavy attention.

While part of me wishes I'd saved these for my trip, I've already read the two novels I'm sharing today and they certainly fit the bill! I have something picked out to take with me, and I'll share my thoughts on that one after the trip. Until then...

So Close  
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (authors of The Nanny Diaries)
Published by SparkPress on June 7, 2016
248 pages, Kindle Edition (advance copy, provided by publisher)
Find on Goodreads, Amazon 

Having grown up in a very small, southern town, I could easily relate to main character Amanda Luker's desire to get away from home, as soon as possible, and head toward something bigger, something more significant. 

And this hope went further back - to the first time I checked out a stack of books from the library with Grammy standing behind me, nodding proudly with her ever-present rattan purse dangling from the crook of her elbow. “There’s more,” she said, meaning we’d come back every week, but I took it to mean more than Delilah and the trailer and a street that nature reclaimed at its end.

She surely finds it, considering she ends up leading a political campaign for a prominent attorney with similar roots; this career choice leads her along a path of people with whom she questions her ability to connect, given her past, and she finds herself creating an entirely separate life.

At under 300 pages, this one is a quick read that often reminded me of Scandal and House of Cards, with a little romance thrown in for good measure; it was surprisingly good.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on June 7, 2016
352 pages, Kindle Edition (advance copy, provided by publisher)
Find on Goodreads, Amazon

I've read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid's novels (read more about After I Do and Maybe in Another Life) and loved each one of them. After finishing her latest, I made an effort to reflect on what it is that really connects me to these stories, these characters, her writing, and it's tough to put into words. 

I had predicated my life on the idea that I wanted to see everywhere extraordinary but I’d come to realize that extraordinary was everywhere.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is so, so good at expressing the experiences of her fictitious characters in an honest, emotional, beautiful and unbelievably realistic way; in addition, the stories include elements to which most readers can relate. I'm certainly not alone in this; her novels regularly show up on prominent must-read lists, and this one is no exception.

You marry your high school sweetheart, after a lengthy courtship; the two of you begin building and planning a long life together and then he's gone, presumed dead after a tragic accident. Years later, you begin to think about finding love again and run into a childhood friend; the two of you reconnect and it leads to a long term relationship and, slowly, the love you've been searching for...and then your husband returns. Now what?

I think that perhaps everyone has a moment that splits their life in two. When you look back on your own timeline, there’s a sharp spike somewhere along the way, some event that changed you, changed your life, more than the others.

I think I finished this one in two days; I couldn't put it down and I felt like I was right in the thick of it, with Emma, thanks to the author's wonderful storytelling and writing. If I had to choose just one of these two, I would definitely recommend this one! 





It's your problem.

It's your problem.

Is this where I'm supposed to be?

Is this where I'm supposed to be?