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The Life Edit: Five recent reads
A happy long weekend to you!
Look at us making it through the week. For LDW 2022, we traveled to see friends and family and enjoyed the shore. This year, we have zero plans. After the summer we’ve had, I’m nearly as excited for zero plans as I was to visit the beach last year.
My ‘plans’ consist of making s’mores and digging into the final two books on my summer to-read list. It also might be time to pick up my quill (laptop) and get fiction-ing again. One thing at a time.
Today, I’m recommending five more favorites from my summer reading list. Pick one up if you, too, are lucky enough to have few to no plans. If you’re local, you can find all of these via my friendly content partner, Dayton Metro Library!
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
This was recommended to me by a friend, and I’m glad I ended up reading it. This is a very powerful story of five siblings kidnapped by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. It’s based on true events, which makes it even more compelling. The narrative flips back and forth between the 1930s and the present day, and I really enjoyed seeing the two narratives come together. I always love a plot twist I haven’t quite predicted, and the plot twist did throw me.
I read this book a month or two ago and am still thinking about it.
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
This is a thought-provoking read about the judgmental world of modern parenting. My IRL book club read this for our summer meeting, as it was on several of our individual to-read lists. We all managed to love the book while disliking the main character. I don’t want to give spoilers in these mini reviews, but the plot doesn’t quite match the book jacket description. That honestly made for a more interesting discussion. I wouldn’t say anyone deserves to be sent to a near-future dystopian parenting reform school, but the characters aren’t exactly sympathetic souls either.
The Little French Bistro by Nina George
A few of these books sound lighthearted, but actually aren’t. This book is certainly charming, and I loved the detailed setting in Brittany, France. However, (trigger warning) it starts out with the main character attempting suicide in order to escape her emotionally abusive and controlling husband. The narrative went places I wasn’t expecting from a book with ‘little’ and ‘bistro’ in the title, but I appreciated its lack of fluffiness or its just enough fluffiness. The ensemble cast of characters was really well-drawn.
The Curiosities by Susan Gloss
The cover of this book is a flatlay of flowers, and to be honest, that’s why I picked it up. It’s the story of a woman who becomes the director of a nonprofit foundation and has to oversee an artists’ colony. Clearly right up my alley. The colony is full of the requisite eccentric personalities, etc. It’s more character driven than some of my other recs. (Trigger warning for this one, too, there is a pretty intense and graphic scene of infant loss.)
This book is on the shorter side. I think I finished it in a weekend. It’s definitely relatable content if you’re in the art world or the nonprofit sector or both.
Two Wars and a Wedding by Lauren Willig
The other ‘breezy title for a meaty book’ selection. I’m not sure why they threw ‘wedding’ in the title; probably to sell more books. This is far more about war and is decidedly not a romance novel. The main character is an aspiring classicist trying to make it in male-dominated late-nineteenth-century academia when she gets drawn into serving as a nurse during the Greek revolution and then the Spanish-American War.
I was surprised to learn it was based on a real person and a true story. The author is one of the co-authors of The Lost Summers of Newport, which I reviewed in a previous Five Recent Reads. If you’ve read that one (literally everyone has, right?), this author wrote the historical fiction portion of the program.
I leave you with this gem:
Child: When is your book club coming?
Me: In about an hour.
Child: Good, I was scared they would come when you looked like that [indicates my workout attire].
Me: No, I’m going to change before they come over.
Child: And put on some new makeup.
Have a relaxing weekend! No makeup required.
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