Plenty of books from Beth-Anne
It was arguably the blockbuster novel of the summer and devoured by many hoping to satiate a whetted appetite for mystery, thanks to the smash-hit book turned Hollywood favourite Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. In contrast, The Girl On The Train is easy, predictable reading but sometimes that’s just what a lazy day calls for. The mystery starts with Rachel, down-on-her luck and fragile as can be, with her days following a familiar pattern. Her daily ride on the commuter train takes her past the same junctions, the same scenery, the same homes and ultimately, the same people. Rachel becomes enthralled with a young couple she sees from her carriage and fantasizes about their lives. But then one day, the woman she calls Jess goes missing and an all-out manhunt is launched to find her. Rachel believes that she knows what’s happened to her, but how can the police trust this woman? As I was reading, I couldn’t help but imagine my favourite British duo cast as leads, Kate Winslet as Rachel and Jude Law as Tom. If you’ve read the book, what do you make of my casting?
Toronto-based author Plum Johnson wrote this tender memoir in the years following her mother’s death. Her parents met and fell in love during the Second World War. Her orphaned, British father was a decorated solider and her mother, a passionate Southern belle with an opinion about everything. After years of living in the far East in the late 1940s, they came to settle in a small town on the shores of Lake Ontario. There they raised their four children in a twenty-three room home, accurately named Point O’View, that for decades served as the backdrop to numerous dances and arguments, love stories and heart aches and the occasional tantrum. Plum is now tasked with sorting through the family’s antiques and tchotchkes, but each treasure reveals more than a memory; it brings closure and understanding to a mother-daughter relationship that for years was strained and fragile.
Tenements of New York City, shirtwaists, turn-of-the-century immigrants, two stories -past and present – woven together . . .this book is right up my alley and I anticipated reading it for weeks, waiting for just the right time to sink into it. But I was disappointed by the syrupy dialogue and poorly developed characters. I found myself skimming over the pages just to reach the end.
Plenty of books from Nathalie
I tore through this series of Dublin Murder Squad mysteries by Tana French. This is some of the best reading I’ve done all year. The first book in the series knocked my socks off, and I had that wonderful awful feeling of not wanting to put the book down and wanting to savour it slowly because I was afraid that it would end. In the Woods is narrated by Adam, a murder squad detective who gets called to the site where the body of a 12-year-old girl has been found. The catch? Adam is the only survivor of a trio of kids who went missing at the same spot in the woods twenty years earlier. His friends were never found, and Adam was found in a catatonic state with his socks pooled with blood and no memory at all of what led to the disappearance of his friends. He has changed his name to keep his past a secret and has become a detective with something to hide. As the plot unfolds, you can just feel the train wreck coming, and the tension was delicious. Each book is narrated by a minor character from the previous book, so while reading in order is not strictly necessary, I recommend it so that you’re sure of no spoilers.
Plenty of books from Carol
This study into habit formation and change had me riveted. There’s something to be said for an author who has me glued to the story of how one man made Alcoa one of the most successful companies in its field by changing institutional habits. Because like you, I’m not all that interested in Alcoa, but the careful unravelling of the web of choices, conscious and unconscious, that are constantly being made, and which cumulatively make up our lives, really is a fascinating business. The book also offers insights into how to change our individual habits by understanding the process by which they’re formed, although it’s less of a self-help book and more a scientific exploration of behavioural patterns that affect all of us, all the time.