This month I managed to read three great books and half of one so-so one. Let’s start with the good, shall we?
The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin: This book kept selling out at the Barnes & Noble where I worked. As a result, I was dying of curiosity. Having read it, I know why it’s been such a bestseller. Set in London during World War II, The Last Bookshop in London is a sweet tribute to the power of books. Reading as a refuge is a major theme as the characters endure night after night of German attacks. Martin knows her history. The book is rich with details that make you ache over everything the English endured. In the end, however, it’s a story of hope and community that’ll make you rush out to support your local bookstore. Can’t wait for Martin’s next book.
Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation by Edward Deci: Psychology nerds unite! This book was written by Dr Edward Deci, one of the leading researchers on human motivation, is fascinating – and incredibly readable. Deci’s research revealed that many of our motivational strategies are actually backwards. Offering an external reward simply encourages people to work for the reward. If we want to truly change behavior, then we need to understand people’s internal motivations. And that means understanding people’s pasts. Parents, teachers, writers and just your plain old science nerds, will love it. Verdict: Recommended!
The Ballad of Laurel Springs by Janet Beard: So, I started reading this book because I thought it came out in June. Turns out it’s an October release. I’m sorry about that because it means you’ll have to wait four more months for this amazing read. Ten-year-old Grace is thrilled when she learned that an old mountain folk song about a man who murders his lover, was supposedly based on the murder of her great, great, great aunt. The book then rewinds back to the beginning and slowly, we learn that the women in Grace’s family left her a legacy of bad decisions, all revolving around men, desire and Laurel Springs, Tennessee. I was enthralled from page one. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when the book comes out because it’s excellent.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: When nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris is kicked out of Vassar in the spring of 1940, she ends up living with her flamboyant aunt in New York City. What ensues is a life of debauchery, personal mistakes, and public scandal. Now, seventy years later, Vivian is finally ready to reveal her secrets. Sounds exciting right? Sadly, I began this book in April and have yet to finish. Vivian is a rich, entitled brat with no sense of personal responsibility. While I love a flawed character, I’m finding her so unlikeable that I cannot get invested in her story. The book sat on the bestseller list for months, though, so I’m apparently in the minority. Who knows? Maybe it gets better. Because I’m no quitter, I’ll soldier on, and report back next month. Verdict: Undecided
Since many of the books I read are advanced reader copies, I thought it might be useful to include a list of recommend books that are now on shelves.
The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin
The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly
Lost in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson
Three Martini Afternoons at the Ritz by Gail Crowther
**In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
Makin’ Bacon by Mellanie Szereto
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis
Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
**The Yellow Wife by Sedeqa Johnson
The Social Graces by Renee Rosen
Glimmer as You Can by Danielle Martin
**The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
**Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
**Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
The Mystery of Agatha Christie by Marie Benedict
** Highly Recommended