I’ve found myself sputtering on the reading front so far in 2021. Normally I spend a good 30 minutes each day reading something. These days, I’ll dive into a new book, devour it in two or three days, and then wait a handful of days before picking up my next book. I’m not sure why, but I’ve been rolling with it.
Since my last update with January 2021 book recs, I’ve read a couple of really great novels that I want to recommend and share here. These are my top four.
The Alice Network – This is a historical fiction novel that’s actually based on more real events and characters than I originally realized while reading it. The author (Kate Quinn) talked about her sources at the end of the story. The novel is about the life of female spies during World War I, which is artfully paired with a tale about another woman’s search for her cousin post World War II. Each chapter changes perspectives and often takes you between France during World War I and 1947. I don’t want to give much away, but if historical fiction is an interest, pick up this book. I highly recommend it. If you like this book, then also check out Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale – one of my Top Ten 2020 picks. It is similar and also outstanding.
Oona Out of Order – Margarita Montimore’s novel is probably my favorite read of the year so far. It’s about a woman named Oona who jumps through time every New Year’s Eve, never knowing what year she’ll end up in until the stroke of midnight. It was interesting to see how her relationships changed and Oona figured out how to live her life out of order. She often jumps between decades, going from her twenties to her fifties. The author does a good job of exploring how strange life could be if you had the maturity of a 19-year-old when your body suggests to the world that you are 54.
I did find one thing particularly interesting. Oona takes actions with the intent to change the future, but every action is meant to impact her personal life. There are several mentions throughout the novel about 9/11, since the book largely takes place in New York City. However, the author never mentions why Oona doesn’t even try to stop major disasters from happening. I know that’s not where the author wanted to go with the story, but it struck me as something that should have been acknowledged.
Regardless, I loved this book. It’s everything I wanted The Midnight Library to be and wasn’t.
Last Tang Standing – Lauren Ho’s story here is described as a mix between Crazy Rich Asians and Bridget Jones’s Diary. I don’t think there’s a more apt description than that. The book is about Andrea Tang, a career-driven lawyer looking to make partner. At the same time, she’s battling family expectations. It’s a romance novel of sorts paired with a coming of age tale. I really enjoyed this one.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for the Harry Potter series. Mr. 8-year-old and I have been reading them throughout the pandemic. It took us 6 months to get through Book 4, but we finally finished in February. We’re slowing working our way through Book 5 now. We only watch the book’s movie after we finish the novel.