As we enter August, we are slowly approaching the end of summer 2018.  I’d like to take a moment to reflect on a few of the books I have read between June and July and provide you with my thoughts. Out of the seven books I’ve read, I highlighted three random picks below.

Magpie Murders

This was a pick in one of my book clubs (Yes, I belong to two book clubs that meet once a month. But I am part of a running group that talks about books a lot too!) when we were looking for something fun, light, and well written. I would say it did deliver on those three categories. If I were to say it in one sentence, it’s a whodunit, within a whodunit. Is there a proper literary phrase for that?

A book editor is reading a murder mystery which we jump into, but she then becomes embroiled in a murder mystery herself.  It’s clever and I appreciate the nods to classic mysteries like Agatha Christie’s books. The reviews for this book was almost unanimously good to great.  I can’t say that I found it a great book. I gave it a 3.5 within my 1 (crap) to 5 (great) scale. Enjoyable enough, decent storyline, but somewhat forgettable.  


Another book club book!  I actually read this in May so perhaps not exactly summer, but close enough. This book was getting a fair amount of press as a debut novel and it is very well written.  There are three sections and two of them fall into the roman a clef category where the story revolves around a famous author. It seems it’s well known that it’s Philip Roth that it refers to (how does that happen? Does the writer do interviews and say, yes it’s Philip Roth I’m writing about?) who I don’t have strong feelings about.

I read Portnoy’s Complaint long ago and thought it was fine – I could see how he had a distinct writing style.  In any case, back to Asymmetry; I like the book more after a few months of distance. At the time, I wasn’t’ sure I fully understood why the stories were put together.  I still don’t, but I rather liked Ezra (the Philip Roth character) and found the storyline around him captivating. The middle storyline I really didn’t know what to make of and still don’t understand how it relates to the rest of the book.  I spoke to a handful of people who read it and none of us had any satisfying theories on that middle section. I rated this one 3.5 as well.

Spinning Silver

I love a fairy tale retold. This is dubbed as Rumpelstiltskin reimagined, but I forgot that while I was reading because it was quite far from that.  It was unexpected in its multiple narrators, and the storyline of a good girl saving the day seems trite, but it really had a fresh feel. The heroines and villains are not quite clear-cut. Certainly, they eschew the typical stereotype of beautiful (or unaware of their own beauty) good girl. I thought this was quite a feminist book and I loved that aspect. The inventive world building was satisfying, but perhaps the conclusion was a tad drawn out. Overall I really enjoyed this. 3.75!

What books have you read this summer?