I may have said this before but I’m somewhat of a reading snob. I feel bad about it but I can’t help it. I huffed and puffed my way through The Da Vinci Code, I practically spit nails reading the first Twilight novel, Maeve Binchy (bless her soul) puts me to sleep, and I wouldn’t be caught dead with a Danielle Steele or Anne Rice or Michael Connelly book in my beach bag.
And yet, there is something to be said for escapist reading. This summer in particular called out for it so while I was caring for my dying mother in the home I grew up in I read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. My other half bought me this book because she heard about it on NPR. She hears a lot of my rants about crapy best-selling books so I think she wasn’t sure how I would take to it, but her belief in NPR is unflappable. As it turns out, I really enjoyed this book. It was a seamless, wild ride. There’s magical creatures, an ancient enchanted book, history, Oxford, a vampire love interest that makes Edward look like a pimply-faced teenager (oh wait, he is a pimply-faced teenager), great literary references, cool witchcraft, strong female characters, and a lot of wine and tea drinking. So if you’re tired of cutting coupons, planning spontaneous summer fun, attacking crab grass, fixing your chipped toenail polish, writing letters to your congressman, or finding new uses for baking soda, I highly and ever-so lightly recommend it.
Might I also suggest Tana French’s Faithful Place. I brought up her name in another post–she’s a crime novelist–a genre I usually snub. But her writing is terrific, her characters complex, and you get to go around saying “that would be grand” and “ahh Jehsus” in your best Irish accent for weeks after you’ve finished.
If you really can’t take the lite stuff, try Room, Bloodroot, Traveling with Pomegranates, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I’ve also read Mudbound, A Gate at the Stairs, and Little Bee recently.
There’s only a few weeks of summer left so put down that People magazine and read something. And let me know how it is! I’m looking for more Lit but I can always use a good Lite.
PS I could only get the link tool to work on A Discovery of Witches–not sure if it’s Word Press or me. I have to get better at this blogging thing…