So you thought those books were all I’ve read…here’s more!
I listened to Katie Couric’s memoir, Going There and am so happy that she is narrating her book. Listening to her trademark voice is like listening to an old friend, because Katie is what she appears to be…America’s sweetheart, the girl next door and someone you can trust. She is honest to a fault, about herself and about her colleagues. She was a close friend of Matt Lauer and could never reconcile the man she knew with his dark side. She now has no relationship with him. Generally, it was very interesting to listen to her views on women in broadcasting, her life before and after her husband’s death and they ways she constantly had to reinvent herself. I found this memoir fascinating.
For those of you who have read and loved A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, I know you’ve been looking forward to The Lincoln Highway. Although the setting and plot could not have been more different, the Lincoln Highway characters, Everett, Billy, Wooly and Duchess each in their own way have the same morality as Count Rostove (from A Gentleman in Moscow). Everett and his younger brother, Billy, are planning to drive to California from their farm in Nebraska to find their lost mother and that would have been a story in itself. Instead, they end up travelling to New York to retrieve their stolen (or borrowed) car, taken by Everett’s former jail mate, Dutchess. Much as the drive itself, the plot is not straightforward. We find the characters at the heart of the novel and fall in and out of love with them. Do Everett and Billy ever reach California? Does Dutchess find the money? You must read it! It’s a journey for us all.
Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout—Continuing her “Lucy Barton” series features a writer who grew up in a small town to a very poor family. William is her ex-husband and Strout’s exploration of their relationship is never black and white. Yes they were divorced and yes Lucy has remarried to “the love of her life”, and is now a widow, but there are parts of their relationship with William that she loves, that she hates, that she needs to keep, that she needs to release. And his mother is a big part of their connection as well. When he asks her to accompany him to sort out a family secret, she accepts and the two explore another part of William’s life, bringing them closer together yet farther apart. This is not a page turner; it is a relationship journey.
In the past when I have brought up Stephen King, I get the “look”. Years ago when I breakfasted with a prominent author and he asked me what author I’m reading, I brought up King. I said he doesn’t get the respect that he deserves. His answer was that he gets as much respect as he deserves. A great comeback but I disagree. Stephen King can tell a story. It doesn’t have to be horror or Science Fiction or even scary, although it often is. Billy Summers is none of those. Billy is an aging hit man who only kills bad people. He has decided to accept one last job…a too good to be true “hit” with enough money for him to retire. And he is correct…it is too good to be true. Nothing works like he thought it would, even when he saves a young woman after she is dumped outside his door. Their journey together is part friendship, love and ultimately, revenge. Every character in this novel is as memorable as is the plot. I have never been disappointed in a Stephen King novel.
If you are a fan of Elizabeth Taylor and/or Marilyn Monroe, then The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reed may be the ultimate beach read for you. Evelyn Hugo, the aging celebrity has a story to tell, and she only wants to tell it to Monique Grant, a young magazine writer. No one is more surprised than Monique but is assured that she will be more than compensated and will learn why she was chosen, when the time is right. What she learns is about the real Hollywood behind the glitz and how Evelyn, the poor girl from Hell’s Kitchen became the most successful star of four decades…and the secret she kept for all that time. Although the plot certainly turned the pages, Evelyn was not the perfect heroine, nor was she meant to be. But if Hollywood interests you…go for it.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab–Addie LaRue, born in a village in France, was 23 years old in 1714 and was determined to live a free life. But her parents were more determined to marry her to a widower. She prayed to the dark gods at night (she was never supposed to do that) and finally one, who she would later name Luke, answered her. But nothing comes without a price: she could live forever, but no one would remember who she was, not even her family or closest friends. For the next 300 years she lived a very independent life. But since she could never have a job or any way of writing or even saying her name, she became adept at living in the shadows. Luke would appear occasionally, offering her a quiet death, but she always refused. Her life was not necessarily moral, but she managed just fine, finding her way to NYC in the 20th century. It was 2014 when she met Henry, the first person in 300 years to remember her. And there begins the next part of her life. Part fantasy, part romance, this novel would make a great movie with Addie, Henry and the ever, mysterious Luke in a never-ending triangle. Yes, it is long, perhaps a little more editing might have been prudent, but it’s worth the read.