As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve become a reader again (3rd grade me would be so proud!) and I’ve been thinking about how to best keep track of the books I’m reading/what I think about them… My solution is to write a monthly book review! This will help me to keep everything in one place and hopefully you’ll find a book that sounds interesting to you, too. A win/win, right? I’m also using this as a way to compile the books I’m reading as part of the MMD Reading Challenge, so I’ll include the prompt if applicable! Here we go.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
2017 Reading Challenge – “A book you chose because of the cover”
This was published in 2012 and, thanks to my photographic memory, I remember seeing it on sale at Costco – which explains why this was my choice for the first prompt of the reading challenge. It caught my attention 5 years ago and I’m so glad I hadn’t forgotten about it – it was so good! This novel is about a young girl (Bee) whose mother is a recluse that no one can quite understand. Through a series of events, Bee is prompted to figure out more about her mom’s past. Instead of traditional chapters, you read through emails and journal entries from all of the different characters that help tell the story of Bernadette and where she came from. It’s heartfelt, relatable, and so funny! Semple used to write for Arrested Development, so if you love snappy and witty humor you’ll love this book, too.
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I remember sneaking into my dad’s office and watching the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy on YouTube when I was in 8th grade and ever since that day I have loved Shonda Rhimes. She’s the creator/writer/producer/superwoman behind Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder (aka all of my favorite shows) and SHE CAN DO NO WRONG. This memoir tells you about the year that she decided to say ‘yes’ to everything, no matter what it was. I learned so much about her character and her personality that has made me respect her all the more. She’s honest about her crippling anxiety and lack of self confidence while still being encouraging and up-lifting. I kept trying to read different parts to Carter and he was not having it, BUT, it’s just so good! A really quick and easy read that you’ll love.
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
I loved this book so so much. I bought this at an airport bookstore back in December and only read a few chapters before the chaos of the holidays & wedding planning took over, so I picked it back up when we left for our honeymoon. This is a (very long) historical fiction novel set in Virginia in the late 1700s/early 1800s. An indentured servant is sent to live with the slaves in the kitchen house of a southern plantation and the story is told through the eyes of different characters living throughout the plantation. The writing is impeccable from every aspect – the voice of each character is different and unique and it was very apparent that Grissom had done her research. The details that she includes transform the novel from a fictional story to a true retelling of history. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, and was definitely my favorite for the month!
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
2017 Reading Challenge – “A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet”
I bought this back in December when I bought The Kitchen House so I was thrilled to be able to read it as soon as it finished the first novel! While this is technically a sequel to The Kitchen House, it can definitely can stand as its own. This follows the story of one character that you met in The Kitchen House as he navigates through life as a young adult. Same as before, this is a beautifully written novel with informative and eye-opening historical content. It was a bit slow at times and I found myself wanting to jump ahead to find out what was happening with specific characters, but I was continuously surprised until the very end. I didn’t like this as much as The Kitchen House, but I’m glad that I read it!