I absolutely love to read, and I love to share the books I like best with other people. Every few months here on the blog I choose my favourites from what I’ve read lately and write about them. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile. You can also check out what I’m reading at #stephlovestoread on Instagram.
The past few months have been busy for my work life, and kind of slow for my reading life. While I don’t wish it were the other way around necessarily, I do know I have been neglecting some of the habits and practices that make me feel most like myself, and that includes reading (and writing this blog). I was excited to get home to Canada and be living five minutes away from the public library, which always motivates me to read more!
Even though it felt like I had read approximately zero books over the last couple of months, my trusty Goodreads profile tells me it’s not true. Here were the books I liked best from what I read lately:
1. The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee
Set in Hong Kong, this novel tells the stories of three expat women whose lives come together for a number of strange reasons. It’s a book that makes you feel equal parts sad for, and annoyed with, the main characters. I felt like I could relate to these women not only for their struggles, but for their experience living in a foreign country in Asia. There were so many small details in the book that reminded me of my time living in South Korea and it was interesting to see those pointed out in such a literary way. The writing here is good, and very observant.
2. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This one really pulled on my heartstrings. It’s a young adult novel about a gorilla kept in a “zoo” in a shopping mall in the United States along with an elephant and a few other animals. This one is short – I read it in an evening – but very poignant and evocative. The author has a point, and she makes it crystal clear. It’s hard to walk away feeling unchanged in some way – and I read it just before the incident with Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, which was interesting for me.
3. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
I love Curtis Sittenfeld, and consider her one of my favourite authors. She is an incredible writer – funny, on point, smart, subtle. Eligible is her take on Pride & Prejudice as part of a series called The Austen Project that’s being written right now, which asks authors to do a modern take on an Austen novel. What I loved most about this book is that it completely kept the essence of Austen’s witty, hilarious humour and the themes of the book, while changing almost every single secondary detail. It was so fun to see how she handled different aspects of the book in a modern context – for example, what does Mr. Collins do for a living now that people don’t tend to run parsonages anymore? (Don’t worry, he’s as annoying as ever.) I thought this was a great read whether or not you’ve read the original (but read the original!).
4. The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
This book is the slightly-fictionalized story of Will & Kate falling in love – they have different names, mildly different circumstances, and likely very different personalities, but just like in Eligible, the major characters and plot are the same. For some reason, I’ve always loved the Royal Family, so I kind of geeked out over this book, knowing that it wasn’t the true story but loving getting sucked into that world and the romance of it all just the same. This book is kind of long but also super easy to read, so I flew through it pretty quickly.
You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.