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How’s your summer been? Starting to wind down a bit? Mine has been spent at home much more than usual, but I’ve also been able to enjoy a full gorgeous Pacific Northwest August which I don’t think I’ve done in many years. Being retired has its benefits, including travel in the fall. I have two trips coming up, one in September and finally an international trip in October. Waiting for those, I’ve plowed through quite a few books again this month. Too many have been just okay, so it was easy picking out the three that truly stood out. I hope you might enjoy these, too. As always, for all my reviews, you can follow me on Instagram!
You really couldn’t find three more different books than these! I loved them each for different reasons.
Trust by Hernan Diaz
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Length: 416 pages
My Thoughts: It’s hard to know how to even begin a review of Booker Longlisted 𝐓𝐑𝐔𝐒𝐓 by Hernan Diaz. Days after finishing, I still struggled to put my thoughts in order, so decided to share the series of questions I kept asking myself about it, along with my responses.
∙ 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 Trust 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵? Good question! It’s about power, wealth, image, and perceptions vs. truth, all centered around one man whose skills at manipulating the stock market led to the crash of 1929.
∙ 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘵? I’d call it “literary historical fiction.”
∙ 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘭𝘥? It’s told in four parts: a fictionalized novel about the man, his unfinished autobiography, the memoir of the woman who was helping him write that autobiography, and his wife’s diaries. Each perspective shifts the dynamics and the perception of his life.
∙ 𝘞𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥? I actually listened to this one and found the audiobook very engaging with a different narrator for each section. At no point did I feel like my interest was waning even though the topics of finance, greed, and the stock market, as well as that era, don’t normally interest me.
∙ 𝘋𝘪𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵? Yes, a lot.
∙ 𝘞𝘩𝘺? That’s the hardest question of all. There was something about Diaz’s writing that was just brilliant. The structure made me want to keep learning about this man even though I disliked him from all perspectives. 𝘛𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵 is quite simply a remarkable piece of literature. Grade? A-
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Length: 416 pages
My Thoughts: ᗯᕼᗩ丅 ᗩ ᖴᑌᑎ ᗷᗝᗝᛕ! I loved listening to 𝗪𝐑𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐂𝐄, 𝗪𝐑𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄 by Gillian McAllister. The narration by Lesley Sharp was excellent, but beyond that this book had two other qualities that really work for me. First, it was a suspense novel where everything made sense and at no time did I want to roll my eyes🙄, pull out my hair😤, or toss my phone across the room😡. Second, the story involved what I like to call “𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭 𝘋𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘙𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵.” I love time travel when it’s done cleverly and as a device to move the larger story, and that’s exactly what this book delivered.
The morning after Jen witnesses her 17-year old son stab and kill a man, she wakes up to find it’s the day before. His crime has not yet occurred. Perhaps this is Jen’s chance to find out why he would do something so out of character. Maybe she can stop his crime. The next morning, it’s a day earlier, and on and on and on. What I loved about the story was how smoothly the pieces fit together and how every once in a while McAllister threw in a twist I wasn’t expecting. I was never once confused in 𝘞𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦, 𝘞𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦, but I was still surprised and for a thriller to do that? Bravo! Grade: A-
Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: August 30, 2022
Length: 384 pages
My Thoughts: 🎾 Before I ever opened the book, I knew I would like 𝗖𝗔𝗥𝗥𝗜𝗘 𝗦𝗢𝗧𝗢 𝗜𝗦 𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞 by the incredible Taylor Jenkins Reid. The premise of a retired tennis superstar fighting to come back and cement her record for the most Grand Slam titles ever won by anyone spoke to me. What I didn’t know is that I would LOVE the story. I played tennis in high school and some more after that until life got crazy, so I had a firm foundation in understanding the sport.I was glad for that, but it’s not essential. Though this book is definitely about tennis, it’s much more about the mental side of the game and the relationships between Carrie and the very few people she allows in her life.
By now everyone knows about this book, so I’m not going to summarize the plot or the fine points of Reid’s excellent storytelling. Instead I’m simply going to tell you the one thing I loved most about it: Carrie Soto was a badass, “𝗛𝗘𝗟𝗟 𝗡𝗢” type of woman and we need more of those! Throughout her career, Carrie cared more about her game than making friends and playing to the press. Despite her success, or perhaps because of it, this earned her the moniker of “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦-𝘈𝘹𝘦.” We’d never hear such a title openly used today, but Carrie’s career began in the 70’s. When she made her comeback, the name calling and derision of male sports commentators only grew worse. No matter what the game threw at her, Carrie stood up, held her head high and played on. She was a force to be reckoned with and she was determined to make sure the world knew it. Carrie Soto didn’t simply want to make her mark on tennis history, she needed to. To anyone trying to get in her way? 𝐇𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐨! Grade: A-
Thanks to BallantineBooks and Random House for an electronic ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Which have been your favorite books of August?
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I loved Carrie Soto for the same reasons you did. Jenkins Reid did a great job of making her tough but not icky, cheesy, cringey…we see that kind of woman in so many books. This was probably my favorite of her novels. I was one of the few who didn’t care for Malibu Rising, but she redeemed herself with this one!
My favorite August book was The Displacements. It was so well done! Plus I haven’t read a disaster book in forever. I also really liked Corrections in Ink.
We’re definitely on the same page with TJR. I didn’t love Malibu Rising, either…that party was ridiculous! I liked The Displacements a lot, too.
I started listening to Trust but put it down pretty early on. Just felt cut & dry …. but perhaps I should keep going with it. I’m really looking forward to the Carrie Soto novel …. as I’ve been a tennis player since a kid …. so it looks good to me!
I think you’ll like Carrie Soto since you truly know tennis.