Connect Through Reading 2012 – 4 Book Reviews

I’ve been on a bit of a lull with reading lately… still reading but not reading as often or getting through books as quickly as I like. The 4 book reviews I’m sharing today are for a selection of books that are as different as can be, but all good in their own way.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is a book I normally wouldn’t probably pick up, except it was by the same author as Gone Girl, which I really liked. Sharp Objects was shocking and dark, like Gone Girl, but took on a subject that I still haven’t quite figured out if I want to read about as the mom of 3 girls… young teenage girls spiraling down the path of drug use, hatefulness and sex. The relationships in this book are so twisted and beyond unhealthy, but Flynn crafts a story that despite all the reasons it made me uncomfortable, kept me wanting to turn the page and read more. I gave Sharp Objects 3 stars on Goodreads.

Once I finished Sharp Objects, I knew I needed something less dark, so I turned to a memoir by Theresa Weir titled The Orchard. I picked this book up on a whim at Target. Memoirs are one of my favorite genres, and I can happily say The Orchard did not disappoint.

Friends, this book will change the way you look at farming and the food you eat. Not in a shocking “Supersize Me” kind of way, but in a real, eye opening, kind of light. The Orchard is an honest and open look at how farms (particularly, orchards) were run in the 60’s and 70’s, and at what price there was to pay to get the “perfect” piece of fruit. You’ll think about organic farming in a whole new light and shudder at the glimpse of coverups and lengths farmers have gone through over the years to give us the food we eat today. This is a touching, raw and sometimes sad memoir of family life on the farm and the growing dangers surrounding what we feed to our families. I gave The Orchard by Theresa Weir, 4 stars on Goodreads.

I really enjoyed this next book… Shelter Me by Juliette Fay. This was a debut by this author and I’m anxious to read more as she does a great job with storytelling.

Shelter Me is about a young woman (Janie) with two children who became suddenly widowed when her husband was killed in a bike accident. Fay takes readers along the journey of how Janie endures her first year without her husband. The cast of characters seem so real, with tormented family dynamics, complicated relationships and all. Shelter Me made me laugh, ache, long, and cry… there were times when my heart actually hurt for the main character. I gave Shelter Me, by Juliette Fay, 4 stars on Goodreads.

How Lucky You Are, by Kristyn Kusek Lewis, was a “fluff read” compared to the other books I read this go around. Don’t get me wrong, it had depth and interesting characters, but the storyline was a fairly typical “chick lit” one surrounding three best friends and their various, completely diverse lives. You know how many times you’ve said to someone “You don’t know how lucky you are!”? Well, How Lucky You Are is about just that… three best friends who perceive each others lives to be easier and less complicated when in reality, they each have their own drama going on behind the scenes. I would recommend How Lucky You Are by Kristyn Kusek Lewis to anyone looking for a quick, easy and entertaining read. I gave How Lucky You Are 3 stars on Goodreads.

Up next for me is…

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw. I am actually almost half way through with this one and am finding it to be very interesting!

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

And, at the glowing recommendation of my trusted friend Kate, I’ve moved The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman up in my To Be Read pile.

Now it’s your turn! What are you reading these days? Make sure to tell me and remember, you can always keep up with what’s on my bookshelf over on Goodreads as well as see what my latest read is in my sidebar. For past Connect Through Reading Posts, check out my Book Review category. Can’t wait to hear your current recommendations!

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  1. says

    Love your book reviews. Life has been too busy for me to get much reading done but I’m reading Winter of the World by Ken Follett. It is the 2nd book in a trilogy and is set during WWII. Great characters and Follet’s books are always page turners for me.

  2. says

    Some really interesting picks; work has been so busy for me recently that I haven’t had any time to read but I’ve thought about picking up some other Gillian Flynn books after Gone Girl so it’s interesting to know what you think!

  3. Nancy says

    Just read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Rosenthal. Unusual format for a book. Interesting. Very easy read.

    Started the Art of Hearing Heartbeats yesterday. Couldn’t hardly put it down! I’ve seen several good reviews of it and I think it may be one that I will suggest for my book club to read in 2013.

  4. says

    I’m a big non-fiction reader. I don’t do a lot of fiction, really. That said, How Lucky You Are looks like something I’d enjoy. So currently I’m reading a book called Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, which gives some cultural background to the world of Jesus and to his comments and messages. I’ve also got a recent N.Y Times bestseller at the ready. A Year of Biblical Womanhood (How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”). It’s a thought provoking, often funny look at the notion of “biblical womanhood.”

  5. says

    I LOVE your reading posts!! I haven’t had a chance to catch up on my reading list but I always seem to add more books after each of your posts. I’m a big crime drama fan but How Lucky You Are sounds like a perfect book to step away from the gruesomeness!! THANKS!!

  6. says

    oooh, I definitely want to read The Orchard now. That is right up my alley! I have two recommendations. For nonfiction, I highly recommend “7” by Jen Hatmaker. It is an entertaining and deeply challenging read. For fiction, I love “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Marie Ann Shaffer. Kristen Howerton (who has amazing taste in books) gave it to me on our Ethiopia trip and I absolutely loved it. I’m actually looking for someone to pass it on to…I’d be happy to send it your way!

  7. says

    In our homeschool this week, we just finished the last book of the Narnia series, so I’m trying to decide what to read next with them…

    Just heard Ron Hall speak last week, and picked up his book “Same Kind of Different as Me.” It’s next on my list.

  8. Bet Mercer says

    Have you read Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow”? It’s one of his fiction works, but like most of his writing touches on farming and nature, similar to how you described “The Orchard”. A bit odd at times, it also serves up lines of pure poetry at times. Worth a read.

  9. says

    I’m rereading the collected novels of Flann O’Brien – right now I’m reading [i]At Swim-Two-Birds[/i] and while it might not be the most accessible type of story in the world – very self-referential, it’s a story about a guy writing about a guy writing about all these characters from Irish mythology (with a few regular Dubliners thrown in for good measure) – I still get a kick out of it anyway.

    Flann O’Brien’s is also the name of a pretty good pub around the way. I like the Brendan Behan better, though, and wouldn’t you know, I like reading Brendan Behan better too. But if you’re going to have a pub, you should almost certainly name it after an author.

  10. says

    You’ll have to tell me how Saving Max is…have been wanting to pick up that one for a while. I loved The Orchard too.

    I like Carry The One’s cover :) so that one may just get on my list too, need to update the library queue!

    I’m on my way to pick up Stephen King’s one that you read…the one with the “date” :) Can’t wait to read it, have heard it come up in conversations a couple times since you told me about it.

    I have Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises on my side table, I have been interested in reading his books since finishing The Paris Wife.

    I also have Divergent on standby, it’s supposed to be “better than Hunger Games”…I keep forgetting to start it! Lol.

    And don’t laugh, but I brought home Lincoln from Costco the other day. I have a thing for Presidents, and with this movie coming out I was drawn to the book. However, it is HUGE. I need to hunker down one day and just read :)

  11. says

    I always look forward to your book review posts! I’m putting The orchard and Shelter me on my list, thanks to you. By the way, have you read The Underside of Joy? It sounds similar to Shelter Me and is a real page-turner; it’s about a woman who moves in with a man and his two young kids, when the mother who abandoned them returns. I couldn’t put it down.

    Another one I’m reading lately is The Sisters Brothers – it’s completely not my kind of book (a shoot-em-up Western,) but it’s a multiple award winner and I can completely see why. It’s a fast read, but compelling and funny and engaging at the same time.

  12. says

    I haven’t read any of these, but Sharp Objects was on my radar. Mostly for the title, strangely enough I do that sometimes. Although I hope to finish the mountain of books I have waiting for me, I am adding a couple of these to my read do list. it is funny, I go through reading periods, and then not so much. But I am always happier when I am reading more than my blogs, newspapers and such. I need books in my life always.

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