Book swap boxes are a fun way to meet new people and discover great books. Here’s what I got in my box + what I thought of my first book.
I’ve always been a reader. You know the words people use to describe those who love to read? Avid, voracious, insatiable? I am all of those things. I love words. I love discovering brilliant combinations of words. I love that paradoxical race to finish a book and the anxiety of leaving the characters behind when you do.
Because I love to read, and because I enjoy connecting with others who love it, too, I was glad to have stumbled upon the summer reading book swap hosted by Chelsie at Life with Rosie.
I was even more happy to get paired up with Leslie from The Little Red Flag, because she’s pretty much my book soul mate. Seriously, our Amazon wishlists were eerily similar. Let me just say, Leslie is no slouch in the book swap department. She sent me the coolest summer-themed box that included, in addition to my three books, a beach ball, goldfish crackers, and gummy sharks.
See? She’s generous and clever.
So what books did I get?
sycamore row by john grisham
Honestly, I have no idea what this book is about. All I know is that it’s a sequel to A Time to Kill, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I reread it every few years and each time I’m struck by the vivid writing. I think it’s Grisham at his best. Since Sycamore Row revives the familiar characters of its prequel, I consider it worth reading.
gone girl by gillian flynn
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard of this book and the subsequent movie. I had heard of both, but had somehow managed to avoid learning any of the crucial plot points. All I knew were vague ideas about a missing wife, a lying husband, and a ton of secrets. Now, having read the book, that pretty well sums it up.
yes please by amy poehler
Amy Poehler is hilarious. I consider her one of SNL’s funniest women ever, and I loved her in everything from Mean Girls to Parks and Recreation. I want to sit and drink coffee with Amy, just be near her and soak up her funny. That’s not likely to happen, though, so I figure the second best thing is a book written by her. I read and loved Bossypants by Tina Fey and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, so I know this one is going to be hilarious.
What have I read?
I finished Gone Girl in record time. Like, faster than I’ve finished any other book since having kids. I couldn’t put it down. It was fast-paced and so well-written. I’m a fan of true crime books (if you are, you must check out my favorite true crime author) and I get sucked into those creepy Dateline episodes. You know, the ones that have you double-checking the door locks and sleeping with the light on?
Based on my preferences, this book was right up my alley. I think, though, that it would be appreciated by any reader who loves good writing and honest characters. It was so satisfying to understand the two main characters, to “get” their motivation and to feel their emotions.
It’s dark, though. Flynn shines an unpleasant, but not entirely inaccurate, light on marriage and close family relationships. She paints a morbid picture of two people who bring out the worst in each other, and then she shows you some of their characteristics in yourself.
The ending was disappointing. It was, to use a cliché, anticlimactic. I felt like the whole book was building toward a showdown, but it never came. The ending was probably the most realistic one Flynn could have written, but it just wasn’t very satisfying. As much as I love gritty books like this one, I also appreciate when the author ties everything up neatly at the end.
Even with a few points docked for the conclusion, I still have to give Gone Girl five out of five stars. The nail-biting plot, the believable characters, the you-feel-like-you’re-there writing. If you haven’t read it yet, do it soon.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
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