Reading

Claire’s Week in Books: Inbox/Outbox

I’ve been leaving longer and longer comments on BookRiot’s Inbox/Outbox posts lately, in which readers document which books they’ve bought (inbox), finished (outbox) and started/planned on reading (in the queue). I’ve also been thinking about blogging more regularly about books, but wasn’t sure what angle to take. So, two birds, one stone: I’m starting a regular feature along these lines, and I’m starting this week because I have a lot to say!

So, here we go:

Inbox:

The two summer books I am most excited about arrived this week. They’re both parallel-narrative driven, à la Sliding Doors, so it will be really interesting to read both and see how they compare. I actually wrote a novel/memoir in this vein for NaNoWriMo last year, and am struggling a bit with the structure, so I’m curious to see how these authors managed it.

THE VERSIONS OF US, by Laura Barnett

the versions of usI’ve been excited about this since the day it popped up on my Twitter feed last year. (Is it nerdy to admit that I can picture the hotel bed I was staying in at the time?!) Not only is it parallel narratives, it’s about Cambridge students – as both the author and I once were, and as many of my characters in Unscripted were, too – and three incarnations of their love story. It’s not out in the US till next year, and there was NO WAY I was waiting that long, so I searched high and low for a UK site that would send it to me for less than $10 worth of postage. I finally found it on BookDepository. It has a different cover to the one I’ve seen advertised, and I love this one even more! It’s shaping up to be a big book in the UK this summer – Laura was interviewed by the BBC Open Book podcast today, which is how you’ve know you’ve made it in the British literary scene.

MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 This one doesn’t come out till 7th July (I didn’t need to look that date up, it’s been imprinted on my brain for months) but I won a Twitter competition to get an Advance Reader Copy! So exciting. I follow a lot of people from the book world on Twitter, and they’re always getting ARCs, and I’m always super jealous. (Currently most jealous of people getting to read Mary-Louise Parker’s memoir ahead of its release.) Anyway, I fell in love with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel, Forever, Interrupted in 2013 and also really liked After I Do in 2014. I don’t know much about this one, other than the parallel-narrative thing, and that’s the way I like it! Looking forward to diving in.

SAINT MAZIE, by Jami Attenberg

IMG_3295Just out last week, this is Jami’s fifth book and the one which has got her the most acclaim from the literary community. I read and really enjoyed her last one, The Middlesteins, and met Jami a couple of times in DC on that book tour. She’s fun, and lovely, as was the Politics and Prose event which included free gin – the book is set during the Prohibition, so that’s as much of a tenuous link as anyone needed! For once, and this almost never happens, I managed to time it so that I finished my previous book the day before, meaning I could start reading this one as soon as I got back from the signing. (Though I did have a moment of book choice induced panic when I saw Maybe In Another Life waiting for me at my door when I got home.)

INSTANT LOVE, by Jami AttenbergIMG_3297

A previous book of Jami’s was on sale for $1.99, so I snagged it!

Outbox:

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

This book has had a lot of buzz in book circles, notably Amazon’s Best Book Of The Year last year. And wow, it is so deserved! It had moved up my TBR (to be read) pile already IMG_3296because I’m Twitter friends with the author and she is lovely. (Fun fact: she sticks a smiley face sticker on her calendar on the days she has worked on her novel. I promptly ordered my own smiley face stickers in the hope it would also motivate me!) But then someone suggested it for book club, and I was all in. We had a fantastic discussion about it. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking, exquisitely written portrait of the complexities and subtleties of family, and it’s the one I’ll be recommending all year.

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