BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 17

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
Author
: Charlie Mackesy
Publication Date: October 2019
Genre: fiction, graphic novel
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

The art style is beautiful and unique, but the story overall felt very disjointed, or is that just me? But that begs the question, am I the target audience? Am I for half the books I read?? There’s a time and a place for every book and every story, maybe I just picked this up at the wrong time. Also, my motivation for picking up the book was because it fit the animal related buzzword readathon prompt for October, so there’s that
Buzzword Readathon: October selection

The Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt
Publication Date: September 1992
Genre: fiction, mystery
Method: audiobook via TPL

I’m not really a dark academia girlie but this is supposed to be the OG for the subgenre so when fall rolled around, it felt like the time to pull this chonker out. This is an intimidating read. My paperback copy that I snagged secondhand looks cute and little but it’s a whopping 503 pages and the audiobook runs over 22 hours, this is a commitment if there ever was one. But wow, it paid off

It’s not a new personal favorite but I can see how authors have since used this as inspiration and a template for dark academia over the years. Familiar yet interesting plot, horrible but compelling characters, it works. I’m surprised sitting down to write this review nearly 6 weeks later (I don’t want to talk about it) that there are a handful of scenes that I still remember quite vividly, which is odd for me, to be honest

My two nonsensical concluding thoughts are, 1. Cloak Rayburn is my favorite character name of all time and 2. tell me why the New Hampshire weekend cottage scenes reminded me so much of the Italian summer vacation in Sally Rooney’s Normal People, just me?

The Family Upstairs
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publication Date: August 2019
Genre: mystery, thriller
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

My first Lisa Jewell and I absolutely loved it! Why did I wait so long? This book has basically all of my favorite things in thriller/mysteries: short chapters, dual timelines, atmospheric and decrepit house, London setting, large cast of characters, inheritance, cult/commune vibes, and, most importantly, correct use of the term physiotherapist (well, kind of, IYKYK). I was so fascinated by the story and the characters that I immediately requested the follow up (standalone) released this year, The Family Remains. This has me so excited to read more from Lisa Jewell!!

The Broken Girls
Author: Simone St. James
Publication Date: March 2018
Genre: mystery, thriller, historical fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

A spooky, creepy mystery thriller with gothic, ghosty vibes told in alternating timelines, a classic SSJ set up. I’m usually not one for an academic based thriller but I really enjoyed the 1950s timeline learning about the four boarding school students and how their different storylines unfolded over the course of the book

In a ranking of SSJ’s four most popular books, this ranks in third place. Interesting plot, atmospheric setting, good mix of characters and character development, but it lacked suspense and thrill compared to The Sun Down Motel and The Book of Cold Cases, those both left me feeling unsettled at times. This is my third Simone St. James of the year, if she writes it, I’ll read it, apparently. Honestly, an auto-buy author at this point

The Beauty in Breaking
Author: Michele Harper
Publication Date: July 2020
Genre: memoir, nonfiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

As a white, middle class, female physical therapist, I was surprised how much I related to this memoir. While our experiences and expertise differ, the patient population Michele serves as an ER physician in Philadelphia is not unlike the patients I serve working at my severely underfunded, adult psych and behavioral health nursing home in Toledo. When most people think of a nursing home, they picture 75 to 90 year old grandparents with walkers and white hair. But the patient population at my facility is primarily 40 to 60 year olds with at least one psych diagnosis, if not multiple, who are fairly independent, physically. After having this on my shelves for over 2 years, glad to have finally read it!

Favorite quote: “Sure it’s always faster in the moment to silence the body’s ailments pharmacologically, to write a script in lieu of conversation. When your main goal is to get through each patient encounter as quickly as possible, these approaches will do. But if the goal is patient autonomy, to support patients in achieving long term self generated help, it’s better to plan careful and thoughtful attention to the roots that makes us healthy.”
Buzzword Readathon: November selection

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


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