The past year or so has been hit or miss when it comes to my book selections.

I get recommendations from any and every where: Instagram, Youtube (BookTube), blogs, word of mouth, what other people are silently reading at coffeeshops, anywhere. Lately, though, if a story doesn't catch me in the first couple chapters, I put it down and/or return it to my local library. As far as I'm concerned, reading a book is consumption of art, the same way walking through MoMA or going to a play is. It's supposed to grab your attention. When you're in a museum, you leisurely browse and walk past various pieces before one of them makes you stop and stare. With books, I'm always looking for something that makes me stop and stare, one that quickly makes an impression and all but swallows me whole by the end. Quite a big ask for a novel.

Below are the books that have recently evaded my DNF (did not finish) list. I'm sharing the goodness since summer is here, and I always love a good read during my summer travels.

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

This was my bedtime story for all of three(ish) days. It's one of those books I kept reading through the late night yawns, burning eyes and the looming ghost of alarm clocks future. It's classified as science fiction and is from the same author of Wayward and Pines, a storyline that was adapted for the small screen a couple years ago. Like Wayward Pines, this story keeps you guessing until the very end, but not in a suspenseful way, more of a where could this possibly go next kind of way. Where it goes is thoroughly satisfying. 

Careful, if you pick up this one after a certain hour, your SO might be forced to cuddle alone or cuddle you and the book (or so i've heard... not like i'd know from experience or anything).

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton

I'm taking a deep breath as I type right now because this book completely took mine away. The story was so beautifully written. I wanted to hang onto each word, but I couldn't because there were so many other good words waiting for me on the next page, and the next, and the next. I reserved a physical copy from my library, and the day after I started reading it, I downloaded an e-loan to my phone as well. Every spare minute was an opportunity to read more of this book: standing in line to get coffee, waiting for the elevator, walking on the treadmill - none of this is an exaggeration. 

As far as the story goes, it's about a girl, Ava, who was born with a pair of angel wings. It's also about every character in her life, her family and their legacy. Magical realism is my favorite genre of fiction, but it's difficult to pull off in a way that feels real. Every part of this story was so authentic. One moment I was cringing, the next I was on the verge of tears, the next my heart was warmed. Every part of this plot flowed seamlessly, which is a difficult feat when you're jumping through generations of storylines. This is definitely going down as one of my favorite books of the year, and possibly of all time.

The Nix, by Nathan Hill

This one is currently on everybody's list. I'm seeing the book cover in multiple "must read" roundups, and I'm here to say it is not a must read. It's very much a stuck on a plane or in a car for an extended period of time read, because that's what it'll take to finish this book: an extended period of time. 

The plot is solid, which is why I'm adding it to the shortlist here, but it's a whopping 628 pages, about half of which are stuffed with filler content that only detract from the overall arc. As much as I love a good story (again, this was definitely a good story), I hate when it takes too long to tell. It's like sitting down for storytime with your great grandparent - you know you're in for a treat, but you also know you should probably take a bathroom break beforehand, because we're gonna be here a while. Reading The Nix was like sitting down for storytime with your great grandparent. Catch my drift...?

Okay, that's all I've got. For now. Next on my to-read/to-finish list is The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, White Tears, by Hari Kunzru, The Rules Do Not Apply (non-fiction, a departure from my style), by Ariel Levy. 

We'll see which one of these falls victim to my ever-growing DNF list.

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1 comment

  1. I've been looking for some suggestions. Well, actually I'm always looking for suggestions. Leslie Walton's title sounds really interesting. I'm a fan of that type of genre as well, but I haven't read a lot of good books within it.


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