Current Reading List

My 2017 list has been mostly filled with “meh” results. That’s unfortunate but they can’t all be grabbers and shakers. However, this blog is NOT meant to be a review of any of the following titles listed.

These are surface opinions or walkaway impressions – AT BEST. If you’re taking the following information as a review – don’t, cause I warned you already this blog is not a review of the books mentioned. These are simply my upfront thoughts. If you’re offended, you’ve read way too much into the blurb.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

Protagonist = pro
Lead = main character
Antagonist = anta

2017, what I’ve read so far:

Barkskins, by Annie Proulx. This is a whopping piece of historical fiction, landing at 737 pages in its printed edition. I love historical fiction and to say this author is thorough is an understatement. I actually began this epic saga in late 2016 and it carried over into the new year. I tend to read other novels in-between mammoths like this in order to have the occasional breather in story lines, but honestly every line was worth the time.

The Winthrop Woman, by Anya Seton.
Another piece of thorough historical fiction. This novel’s focus is of a woman pro who dared to be different in a time when being different could cost you your life. I’ll be looking into more of Seton’s works.

You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott. I find this story to be wonderfully engaging, the author is definitely in the know when it comes to competitive level mindsets for young people and their parents. A great twist when all is revealed. I found the mother a bit tedious with the repetition of her inner thoughts, along the lines of, ‘No one really understands. Only the parents of a naturally gifted athlete could get it.’ Not that this thought or feeling isn’t true. My only gripe is that it’s a thought expressed by the lead often.

What She Knew, by Gillian Macmillian. I actually had to look this one up as I could not remember the plot, the characters – nothing. I see why. I feel I’ve read this psychological thriller before. Many times, in fact. This novel did not leave a memorable impression on me.

The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena. Not an impressive thriller, I felt the obvious strings pluck several times. I recalled it only because every character evoked within me a desire to slap them all. I kept thinking, ‘that’s why you don’t pretend to be friends with people you don’t like you miserable sacks of suds,’ and, ‘what’s the focus here? the missing baby or the lead’s underlying psychological problems?’ The story had me feeling like I was driving behind someone who was constantly braking. Stop, start, stop, start. Again, just my impressions.

End of Watch (book 3 of the Bill Hodges trilogy), by Stephen King. It was nice to get a wrap up on Mr. Mercedes and in truth, I’m glad King gave the story that old supernatural twist, something not present in the first two. It’s like coming home; lifelong King fans know what I’m talking about when I say that.

The Marriage Lie, by Kimberly Belle. This is one of those novels that I, again, had to look up. And then I remembered this is the one I struggled to finish. I believe life is too short to continue reading something that’s not very engaging. It’s, I guess, a “romantic thriller”? The romantic gush is there, the suspense is not. The lead is a psychologist and the author dropped enough surface language to imply as much, but their is absolutely no depth in the pro. Not enough to convince me of the pro’s occupation or that the pro is even taking her situation seriously. Despite the complicated goings-on, the pro’s thoughts remain at surface level and is largely non-reactionary.

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen.
I am rereading this. I have heard the argument that rereading a novel, no matter how much enjoyed, is as much a waste of time as continuing a book that’s not very engaging. I understand, but I would also argue that rereading allows a different measure of understanding as time goes by. How I read Sense and… in my college years and how I am experiencing it now are two different things. I liked it well enough then, but I’ve loving it now. How Jane Austen presents youth is much more enlightening to me now that I have exited the trials and stupidity that were my early 20s.

Upcoming reads:

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See. See is a favorite author and I am anxious to jump into it.

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I understand this is a literary classic. I look forward to diving in.

The Princes of Ireland, by Edward Rutherford. Rutherford has written miles of historical fiction and I’m always on the lookout for a regular author of the genre.

The Secrets She Keeps (July 2017), by Michael Robotham. Robotham rescued the thriller/suspense genre for me. Truly. For a very long time, I kept away from thrillers as most thrillers just tend to read as obvious stories with a light underscore of “who done it?” After reading Shatter, a straight-up, genuine psychological thriller, Robotham brought me back in a big way. Since then, I’ve read all his works and I’m confident I’ll be a lifelong fan.

Afterwards:
The above may get me through to August or thereabouts. I’ll update with a new reading blog towards the end of the year.

Any inclusions? What have you liked so far in 2017?

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

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