At each book club meeting, we usually wind up the discussion with other books we’ve read and can recommend. I’m so bad about this — I don’t always remember what I’ve read. I have to look at my Kindle to refresh my memory. But not all the books I read are ON my Kindle. So, to keep my sanity, I’m going to blog about EVERY book I read — not just the ones by local authors.
I’ve already finished the book for book club, “Reconstructing Amelia,” by Kimberly McCreight. Just published in April, I can see why it’s getting good reviews. A teenage girl apparently kills herself by throwing herself off the roof of the private school she attends.
Her mother is clueless about why her daughter would do such a thing, and then she starts getting mysterious texts telling her that her daughter didn’t jump. Will she be able to reconstruct what was going through Amelia’s mind, what was going on in her life?
Compelling reading with a few good mysteries, this book kept me awake a couple of nights. I had a couple of the mysteries figured out before the end, but I was surprised by the actual events.
Before that, I read “Inferno,” the latest suspense novel by Dan Brown. I love how Brown weaves together fact and fiction. It’s hard to describe the story line in just a few sentences, but I’ll do my best. A group of people are trying to curb the world’s population by introducing a new plague, and Brown’s Professor Robert Langdon has to use Dante’s “Inferno” to decode the clues they’ve left to reach the biological weapon.
Brown has perfected the taut plotting of a suspense novel, but I felt like “Inferno” flagged a little in the middle. I was ready to put it down and go to another book, and that rarely happens with a Dan Brown book. I’m glad I stuck it out, because the ending was nothing like I’d expected. It has some wonderful twists that the reader will never see coming.
Before that, I’d gone to the library and found a book by one of my favorite authors, Gail Godwin. Maybe I just like her name. No, I like her writing, too. “Flora” is about a young woman who comes to stay with a girl whose father is away helping the war effort during World War II.
It’s hard to tell who learns more, Flora or her 10-year-old charge, Helen. Helen’s had a strange life so far. Her mother died when she was very young, and her grandmother has been raising her. Now the grandmother is gone, too, so Flora, who has also had an untraditional upbringing, must fill the void.
Helen is a remarkable child, because she’s old in different ways. Her father is an alcoholic and her grandmother was a curmudgeon. The grand old house they live in was once a recuperation home, but now Flora and Helen must isolate themselves to avoid a polio outbreak.
I especially enjoyed Helen’s imagination. She served as an entire classroom of students so that Flora could “practice teach” in preparation for her real job that fall. Helen is predictably self-centered, since she’s been alone so much, and Flora is a bit of a ding-a-ling, but they make the summer fly by.
And speaking of the summer flying by, what happened to our summer?