“In My Dreams I Hold a Knife” by Ashley Winstead has been on my to-be-read list for a while. It was worth the wait! If you enjoy a thriller, definitely look for this book. It will make you consider how well we really know our friends - and ourselves.
Another book that I have had my eye on is Fredrik Backman’s “Anxious People.” His dedication reads, “To the voices in my head …, and to my wife who lives with us.” That is so appropriate, because in this book Backman, with his usual knack for humor and poignancy, has brought to life the voices in all our heads and put them all in one place. This book will make you feel seen in a not entirely comfortable way. It will remind you that most of us are doing the best we can, and that it’s hard to dislike someone when you know their story.
Who could resist a book that begins with, “These days Devon only bought three things from the shops: books, booze, and Sensitive Care skin cream.” That’s the first line of “The Book Eaters,” by Sunyi Dean. It turns out that this book is weird. Not intriguing, nor unusual, nor even unique. Just weird. I enjoy fantasy fiction, but in my opinion, fantasy fiction has to feel both realistic - so that you can connect with the characters - and fantastic - so that you want to be a part of the story. Who wouldn’t want to join elves and dwarves and hobbits to save the world from evil? I would! Who doesn’t hope that maybe Geralt of Rivia is out there kicking butt and taking names? I do! Who is 100 percent sure that there aren’t vampires masquerading as high school students in the Pacific Northwest? I don’t know, could be! That’s why the writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, and even the story of Beowulf - the very first fantasy fiction - remain popular. But this story of beings who gather knowledge by eating books, and sample human experiences by eating minds (that’s where it lost me) is just weird. But I stuck with it and in the end the theme of the book, that “it’s not a question of worth, or cost,” that we do the best we can for the people we love because that’s all that anyone can do, wasn’t weird at all.
From one extreme to the other, “Secret Daughter” by Shilpi Somaya Gowda leans toward being trope-y: distinct cultures (and the related strife), marital strife, parent/child strife, reconciliation, losing/regaining oneself. Overall, though, the story is very good. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the more pleasant aspects of life in India. And the food! I love Indian food, and my mouth watered while reading this book. I ended up having read a good book and having a nice lunch date (you can never go wrong with murgh makhani with Earl Carstens). Not bad!
Continue to enjoy these beautiful days and your summer reading!