Monday, June 3, 2019

What I'm Reading

I thought that having a baby meant I'd be reading way less, and initially I was. But then I realized I could put the Kindle app on my phone to read while breastfeeding, so I've been cranking through books faster than ever before! Here are a few of recent reads:

A multi-generational story about a Korean family living in Korea and Japan from pre-WWII through (almost) present day. This book is incredibly well-written and really pulls you into the world of the characters - definitely one of the best books I've read this year. I wouldn't quite call this devastating (Jeff always makes fun of me for how devastating my book choices are) but it definitely is sad, and full of twists and turns as you follow the strong matriarch of the family as she helps her family survive. I hadn't read much about this time period and had no idea about the incredible discrimination that Koreans face from the Japanese, as well as how the occupation and wars affected the Korean people. I also personally found it fascinating to read about the towns of Busan, South Korea and Osaka, Japan because my brother and his family are currently moving from Busan to Osaka.

A Well-Behaved Woman
The (fictionalized) story of Alva Vanderbilt, who marries into the Vanderbilt family when they're still new money and negotiates the waters of high society to raise the family name. While this wasn't the most well-written book, I found the whole thing fascinating. From the look into what immense wealth could buy you in the early 20th century to how Alva found her voice and championed a number of causes, I couldn't put this one down.

Rich People Problems
The third and last of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, in this book you travel back to Singapore to see how the Young family behaves when their matriarch is ill. No, these aren't the best books (and the footnotes are SO annoying) but it's definitely an enjoyable read and wrapped the series up nicely.

This Is How It Always Is
Oh my gosh, I loved this book. I don't want to give anything away, so let's just call it a story of love and what parents are willing to do for the happiness of their children (and questions whether happiness is really the right choice). I thought the family dynamics as well as the discussion of hot-topic societal issues were really well done, and really, it's just a beautiful novel.

A Window Opens 
When a woman's estranged husband suddenly reappears wanting to reconnect with their kids, she ends up finding herself during a summer alone in New York. This is definitely a fun, light read (while a bit predictable) but would be perfect for a beach read!

A Place For Us
Okay, so you want to talk about those devastating reads? The novel opens at the wedding of an Indian woman from a very strict Muslim community, where you learn that her younger brother is estranged from the rest of the family. The rest of the novel dips back and forth through time and perspective showing what led to the estrangement and how each member of the family shows their love but still end up failing one another. The story made me smile and made me cry, one of my favorites this year.

French Exit
This book was truly bizarre but so amusing to read - a true dark comedy. It follows the story of an older wealthy Manhattan socialite and her co-dependant adult son as she is on a quest to literally spend every penny of their fortune. They end up moving from New York to Paris with their odd cat to continue their quest to dump the fortune, and make an amusing set of friends along the way.

We Were The Lucky Ones
A Holocaust story of a Jewish family spread across Europe from the outbreak through the conclusion of WWII. It follows the characters through Poland, Russia, the Middle East, France, Morocco, and South America as they try to find ways to survive. The story is so sad but also full of familial love, and unbelievably based on a true story. I wouldn't say it's terribly well-written, but the story itself was enough to keep me going.

Nine Perfect Strangers
I really wanted to love this, since it's Liane Moriarty's follow-up to Big Little Lies, but it just didn't hit the mark. The story follows nine people as they check into an unconventional spa retreat to try to solve various issues in their lives. I just couldn't get into the characters and found the story a little too ludicrous, so I wouldn't recommend this one.

I just started The Whole Thing Together, which I'm finding so far to be an interesting concept but not as well-done as it could be - focused on two teenagers who share step-siblings but aren't actually related themselves. I'll let you know if it gets better!

Do you have any book reccos for me? I'd love to hear! And in case you're looking for more than 11 book recommendations, check out my last reads post here.

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