Review of The Night Before | TBR Etc.Read More
By now, you know that I’m a new release junkie. I listen to a ton of book podcasts and and get a fair amount of books sent to me, so it’s easy to focus on the new and upcoming. I did make my way to some backlist books-books that were not published this year. These were my favorites!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid | Published in 2017
This book has a lot of hype surrounding it- and it lives up to it! World famous actress Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to spill everything. She selects an unknown journalist, Monique Grant, and refuses to tell her story to anyone but her. We find out about her fight to fame and finally get the answer to who was the love of her life. Don’t be fooled- this isn’t a cheesy love story. It’s got depth.
Dark Matter | Blake Crouch | Published in 2016
I’d feel comfortable calling this book one of my all time favorites. Dark Matter blew my mind. It’s a story that weaves physics, philosophy, psychology into a love story. Jason Desson gets abducted and his assailant demands to know if he’s happy with his life. This is a book that will have you questioning the choices you made in your life and have you feeling grateful for the good decisions that you’ve made. This is a book I’d like to see on screen.
In a Dark, Dark Wood | Ruth Ware | Published in 2016
I found Ruth Ware’s debut to be her best work. In a Dark Dark Wood takes a familiar setting- a bachelorette party- and turns it into the worst night ever. Pure entertainment- in a murderino kind of way.
Kindred | Octavia Butler | Published in 1979
I have no idea what mad me grab this one, but I’m happy I did. Kindred is often said to be the first science fiction book to be published by a black woman. Dana is a modern day black woman who inexplicably gets sucked back in time to the Antebellum South. It appears that one of her white ancestors, Rufus, has the ability to call her back in time when he’s in trouble. Seeing that it’s the 1800s, they believe her to be a slave and she has to do what she can to keep her sense of self and get back to the present.
The Dry | Jane Harper | Published in 1976
For readers that like crime fiction set in an evocative location with a detective you can root for. This isn’t a cozy though- it’s pretty brutal. But well written!
Bluebird, Bluebird | Attica Locke | Published in 2017
Bluebird, Bluebird is a complex mystery with Texas Ranger Darren Matthews at its center. There’s small town gossip, racism, and family drama will a well paced plot.
Just Mercy | Bryan Stevenson | Published in 2014
Really, a must read to understand the flaws in the criminal justice system in the United States.
A Head Full of Ghosts | Paul Tremblay | Published in 2015
I haven’t been this freaked out by a book since Pet Semetary. Kathleen Barber’s Are You Sleeping meets The Exorcist.
Ok, so a lot of these were published last year. One of my reading resolutions for next year is to read even more off of the backlist and to focus on quality, not quantity. How do you keep track of backlist books you’d like to read? Do you pay attention?
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Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Baker Books
Page Count: 160
Why I Picked It Up: I'm on the book tour! Many thanks to the I'd Rather Be Reading Launch Team for giving me early access to a free copy of the book!
Synopsis: From Amazon-
For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.
I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.
The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone's life, I'd Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.
Opening Sentence: "'Can you recommend a great book?'"
My Thoughts: This was a delight. Full disclosure though- at this point, I'm going to pick up anything Anne Bogel writes because I'm such a fan of her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. (I also love to support bloggers who branch out into other forms of media). I'll admit when I first read the premise I was skeptical- how in the world can you write a book about reading?
Happily, now I know. I'd Rather Be Reading is a love letter to books and reading in the form of essays. It's a slim book with a gorgeous cover- it's a watercolor of Anne's actual home library- and it touches on Anne's own reading life, problems only bookworms can relate to, formative years of reading, and what it means to be a reader. One of my favorite chapters focuses specifically on the acknowledgement page in books, the authors' words that come after the story is finished. In the acknowledgements, authors thank any number of people for their help in creating the book. These words are often thoughtful, funny, heartfelt, and inspirational, yet they're also often skipped! That part made me want to take to my own shelves and see what I have been missing.
Another section that made me want to take to my shelves was the chapter on "How to Organize Your Bookshelf". Believe it or not, bookshelf organization is a hot topic among the book blogger and bookstagram community. (Rainbow shelves forever!)
Because the book is relatively short, I thought I would fly through this. And you certainly could. But part of the fun of reading this, for me, was how nostalgic it made me. It made me think about my early reading life, those weekly trips to the library with my mom, browsing the stacks and the thrill I felt when completing my summer reading log to get the free ticket to Six Flags Great America, and all of those authors I grew up on. (Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, and Goosebumps, anyone?) I found myself savoring and being inspired by these chapters.
Most of all, this book made me appreciate how privileged I am to be able to enjoy reading. Being a voracious reader is a part of my identity and I'm thankful that I grew up in a household that emphasized reading and that I had access to books. Reading this made me think about why it is I love reading so much, and made me want to continue my plans to read more widely and with purpose.
All in all, this book made me feel seen. Theres are stories that readers will "get", and to be honest it's unlike anything I've read before. It brought a smile to my face and it's something that can be read in one sitting or in little bits.
So why read a book about reading? Because it's nice to think back upon the characters and stories that helped shape the person I am today.
Just don't forget to read the acknowledgement.
Favorite Quote: (from the Bookworm Problems chapter): "Your pile on the stack in your passenger seat, and your car yells at you because it thinks you have an unbuckled passenger."
TL:DR: This will make the book obsessed feel seen and understood, and it will make any reader want to reminiscence about their own reading history. It would also make a wonderful gift!
There is still time to preorder! If you order before September 4th, you will get some exclusive preorder goodies. You can purchase the book from anywhere- Amazon, your local indie, Book Depository- and still get the bonuses! Bonuses include a free digital download of the audiobook, access to Anne's class "7 ways to get more out of your reading life", and digital artwork from the book. If you order two or more, you also get a signed book plate, bookmark, postcard print from the book, and bookish stickers. Details about the extras and ordering here!
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I am a self-diagnosed new release addict. Of the 50 books I've read so far in 2018, 27 have been published this year. 27!! So I wanted to share a couple of my favorites I've read this year that were also published in 2018. There are SO many wonderful books that have been published this year so at the bottom, I'm sharing the 5 new releases that I'm committing to reading to by the end of the year.
The second book I read this year might be my favorite of the year. Two newlyweds get thrown into an impossible situation and have to navigate the unthinkable. This would be a great book for book club discussion- Oprah also apparently agrees. So far, this is the book I'm predicting will be chosen as tops on a lot of the best of the year lists. Review here.
I'll never forget this book. Michelle McNamara presents years of evidence with the goal of unmasking the Golden State Killer- a term she coined. He was a rapist turned murderer who terrorized Northern California over the course of a decade, and the case remained unsolved for thirty years. Not to be a total hipster, but I read this before the Golden State Killer was caught, adding another incredible layer to the experience. Its become by favorite true crime novel of all time. I was touched by the book's backstory- McNamara died unexpectedly before this could be finished- and found the whole thing equal parts disturbing and captivating. Review here.
This has the most unique premise I've read this year. It's a fictionalized account of what actually happened to the ill fated Donner party on their travels West. Fans of See What I Have Done and Stephen King will dig the atmospheric writing and doomed characters. This had me running to Google to see what happened to those that survived.
I genuinely could not put this book down. An agoraphobic alcoholic psychologist bears witness to a crime at her neighbors' house, and no one believes her. This was a much hyped thriller that holds up to the praise. It will definitely be turned into a movie.
This was one of those books that just hit me at the right time. It's an memoir from an Obama staffer, Beck Dorey Stein, who answered an ad on Craigslist and found herself as a White House stenographer. Despite all of the history thats happening around her, she still goes through the same things as many 20 somethings who are trying to figure out love and careers. The author is so genuine, and I felt like I was sharing stories with a friend. *Out July 10th.
Tell me what books you loved the most so far this year in the comments below! I have a feeling some of you will be talking about the picks that I'm about to mention.
On my "must read" list for the rest of 2018:
There There | Tommy Orange
A must read #ownvoices novel about what its like as a Native American, to live on a land that was taken from your ancestors and to feel like you both belong and don't belong.
The Book of M | Peng Shepherd
In this world, shadows are disappearing. Those affected gain a strange new power, but at a cost- their memories are stripped away from them. I am in the mood for a dystopian story- it's been awhile!
The sequel to the stunning book, Beartown. Couldn't tell you what's taking me to long to get to it.
The Book of Essie | Meghan MacLean Weir
A young girl has grown up on reality tv as the youngest member of the Hicks family, an evangelistic version of the Kardashians. The book opens with Essie pregnant, wondering how her family will decide to handle it. She is not in the room for these discussions because she knows she has no say. I'm a sucker for any book with a reality TV angle.
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