What I Read: June/July 2014

  • The Paris Wife (Paula McLain) // This is the story of Hemingway's first marriage. In Paris. Also in the Midwest. But mostly in Paris. You know, that Jazz Age moment when he hung out with Stein, Pound and Fitzgerald and wrote The Sun Also Rises. Did I mention it's told from the point of view of his wife, Hadley Richardson? Yeah. Fictional, of course, but so effective in its use of factual detail that it feels incredibly real. It's just beautiful and heartbreaking and you should read it immediately.
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows) // So... historical fiction anchored by a central love story; are you sensing a theme here? This one's an epistolary novel about a journalist in post-WWII England who ends up corresponding with the inhabitants of the tiny town of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. I love how the subjectivity of the various narrators urges you onward, tempting you with details but never giving it all away. It makes the reading experience titillatingly interactive. I couldn't put this one down.
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened (Jenny Lawson) // Taxidermied animals, social anxiety, anorexia, motherhood, a Fourth of July wedding and a whole lot of cats. Let's pretend we're Jenny Lawson's best friend. She shies from nothing and, in doing so, makes everything okay.