Good Reads : Beautiful Ruins

Personal

I asked him what else I could do. I mean, we were going on a road trip, so, naturally, I’d bring reading material. What he didn’t expect, however, was that I’d read to him through the twists and turn of Northern California, against the green fields of Oregon, and into the Seattle city lights. I’m not sure if my husband even paid attention, but–dang–did it sure satiate my childhood desire to be a librarian and host a read-along.

As we packed up to head back home, JD downloaded a new batch of songs which I’m guessing was his way of saying THANKS BUT NO THANKS to my mobile story hour.

Here are a few of my recent Good Reads

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I didn’t know what to expect about this book, or even what it was about, but a few pages in and I was smitten. The story centers around the loss of the protagonist’s uncle to AIDS and the struggle to deal with her loss in light of discovering his hidden past. Brunt is an amazing writer and weaves pain, loss, and honesty into a truly moving story.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel. So, okay. Based on the raving reviews this book has received over the years (and it’s upcoming movie adaptation), you’d think I’d like it. But I didn’t. I actually texted a friend and asked her to tell me it was going to get better. The beginning and the end were the strongest parts (and I can admit the ending was beautifully done), but making my way through the mid section left me feeling like reading was a chore….so much so, I probably won’t see the movie.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I’d been hearing rumblings about this book, but it wasn’t until my friend said I should pick it up that getting my hands on it became my life’s mission. Four bookstores and an entire afternoon later, I finally had it in my hands. And it didn’t disappoint. Walter does such a great job weaving many stories into one and creating idiosyncratic, yet compelling, characters. The fact that he uses the underbelly of Hollywood to paint his story is a mere bonus to how great he is at creating a mix of narratives and a wonderful novel.

City of Thieves by David Benioff. I don’t do well with wars. Like, anything related to violence, pain, and/or suffering just isn’t my cup of tea so I almost closed this book a third of the way into the book. It follows the story of a teenage boy (Benioff’s grandfather) in war torn Russia during Hitler’s invasion. With his life in the balance after being thrown in jail, he’s sent on a mission to find a dozen eggs for a wedding cake, but in the process finds courage, love, and himself. Benioff does such a good job balancing really dark moments with humor and I’m glad I stuck through it all because it’s such a powerful story.

Happy Monday!