I read some thick material last month, and for the most part, they were all excellent choices. (In comparison, I’m failing miserably for June…it’s nearly halfway through the month, and I’m still on book #1.)
Anyway. That’s what happens when you go on road trips and you pretend you can’t drive so you can catch up on your reading time. Shhhh, Internet.
Here’s what I gobbled down.
Clara Callan – Richard B. Wright
In a small town in Canada, Clara Callan reluctantly takes leave of her sister, Nora, who is bound for New York. It’s a time when the growing threat of fascism in Europe is a constant worry, and people escape from reality through radio and the movies. Meanwhile, the two sisters — vastly different in personality, yet inextricably linked by a shared past — try to find their places within the complex web of social expectations for young women in the 1930s.
Easily one of my favourite books, and Clara Callan is easily one of my favourite characters. I read this on vacation in Jamaica and snuck away to finish reading at every chance. If your heart shatters like mine did, call me up. Let’s hug it out.
The Colour of Tea – Hannah Tunnicliffe
After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land—a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets. As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of family have been shattered. She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.
An easy poolside read, but it was disappointing after Clara Callan. I wanted to punch Grace in the face for being so self-absorbed. My god woman, get your shit together. Some of her actions were questionable and unbelievable. Tunnicliffe rocks the food descriptions though.
*Angry side-note: If the main character has red hair, SHOULDN’T THE BOOK COVER?
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
I don’t really understand or have much sympathy for a lot of the things Strayed did (i.e. divorcing her loving husband), but I gotta give her credit for being insanely honest. She’s been criticized for her lack of experience and foresight, but Strayed is totally open with those details, too.
Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community.
Hardy was a long-winded ‘ol fart, wasn’t he? I moved through the beginning of this book like I were wading through molasses, but soon found myself absorbed. Bathsheba is an infuriating character, but so are all the man who throw themselves at her over and over again.
Also, I thought it was “Maddening” right up until like 10 minutes ago.