I’m still somewhat trying to read more intentionally and from my list. However, this summer I’ve been working my way through War and Peace and The History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer. I’m enjoying both but they are fairly dense and sometimes I just need something a little lighter. Both of these were recent very enjoyable reads that fit the bill.
La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith (of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency fame) is the story of La, a woman in England before and during WWII who moves to the country to escape a failed marriage. It’s definitely more of a character rather than plot driven book . Primarily it’s about how a life that seems small and ordinary can have quite a large impact and be important in its own way. It’s a lovely little book. It reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in some ways. The time and place are the same but also in the way that I really liked the characters and felt at the end of the book that I’d enjoyed spending time with them.
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman is the story of Eliza, a woman who was abducted at the age of 15 and kept captive for 5 weeks by a man who was a serial killer. She is the only one of his victims who he did not kill and the book takes place after she is contacted as an adult by him while he is on Death Row. It’s a suspense novel so the less you know the better but it’s an excellent read. It’s also very much a character driven novel and the author does a fantastic job of making the reader see things from wildly divergent viewpoints: Eliza, the killer, the mother of one of the girls he murdered and the death penalty activist that is trying to help him. The book makes you think a bit about the death penalty but the author does a good job at presenting the different views without being preachy and without getting in the way of the story. It was also a very fun read for me as it takes place in the Washington DC suburbs. Eliza’s life in many ways is very much like mine and that made the book all that much more real for me.