You know how there are some foods that once you start eating you can’t stop until the bag is gone or the plate licked clean? My weakness is popcorn…especially those jumbo kettle corn bags from the farmer’s market…seriously, I will eat the entire bag in one sitting and then deal with an upset stomach the rest of the day.
I have also had a similar experience of “can’t stop until it’s finished” with books. Over the past few weeks, my baby was sick twice, I was sick twice, and we went on our first family vacation up to the lake. What that equals is a busy month with no blog posts but plenty of books read. These are the books I just couldn’t put down once I started, although not all of them left me satisfied when I finished.
“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver
This is a story of a Baptist family from Southern U.S.A who become missionaries in the Congo in the 1950s. A stern father, an abused mother, and 4 daughters brimming with their own personality; an unforgiving jungle environment, a brewing civil war, and a complete lack of understanding by the Price family of their Congolese neighbours….the mission is obviously doomed from the start yet I was still caught off guard by all the twists in the story. Plus, Kingsolver’s use of first person narrative for a different Price woman each chapter is captivatingly effective. No wonder this was a book I couldn’t put down!
5/5 bacon strips
“Fifteen Dogs” by Andre Alexis
In modern day Toronto, two Greek gods give a pack of dogs human intelligence to settle a bet as to whether human intelligence causes more misery or contentment. And so begins one of the most interesting book concepts I have ever encountered. I couldn’t put this book down as Alexis drew me into the minds of these canine characters. I was anxious to find out how this strange story played out, and mulled over the connection of contentment and human intelligence long after I’d read the last page. A strange, interesting read.
4.5/5 bacon strips
“Eligible” by Curtis Sittenfeld
I’m a sucker for anything related to Jane Austen. I read this book within a couple of days because it was an easy read and I was very interested to see how Sittenfeld would work in all of the elements of the Pride and Prejudice story. “Eligible” is a modern take on the Pride and Prejudice story. I enjoyed some of the modern spins on plot points such as the aging of the Bennett girls (Jane is approaching 40), the ignorance of Mr. & Mrs Bennett regarding their finances, and how Darcy and Liz first reveal their attraction to each other (not giving away more details since I don’t want to spoil it for you). I disliked the use of the reality show “Eligible” and Jane’s reproductive issues, as I found it cheapened the love story between Chip and Jane. I also think that is challenging to fit this story into contemporary time as the plot is built around 19th century society where it was normal that people married while knowing relatively little about each other. Today, it is often viewed in North American society as impractical and desperate to marry someone after only a few dates. Although I gobbled this story up, I wouldn’t dig into it again. (Check out “Longbourn” by Jo Baker for an amazing retelling of Pride and Prejudice.)
3.5/5 bacon strips
“China Rich Girlfriend” by Kevin Kwan
I was lucky enough to attend a discussion between Kevin Kwan and Elaine Liu, which was a pleasure to listen to and made me even more excited to read this sequel to “Crazy Rich Asians”. This book reminds me of the ease I feel in reading an Emily Giffin book: characters reveal their innermost thoughts simply, fashion and food descriptions abound, and reality show drama ensues. I quickly completed the book but didn’t feel the same satisfaction as I did with Kwan’s first book. The poison twist at the end seemed a little out of place with the novel’s high society drama, and more fitting for a crime novel or femme fatale plot. Still worth picking up if you want to revisit the characters of Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young, and get another peek into the whirlwind luxury life of the wealthy Asian elite.
4/5 bacon strips
Is there a book you read recently that you just couldn’t put down?