So many books, so little time. Still playing catch-up with these posts, but here are some goodies you should check out!
Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving - I picked up this book because a) I'll always grab the new John Irving, and b) my mom could not stop talking about it. Unfortunately, she and I didn't see eye to eye on the story. Set mostly in Mexico, the book sees Juan Diego, an elderly man, embark on a trip to the Phillippines, while dreaming incredibly vividly about his childhood living in a dump with his sister Lupe. As usual with Irving, the story is outrageous, hilarious, and filled with odd sexual interactions. All of that said, I simply couldn't get into it. I'm not sure what was missing, but it didn't hook me the way Irving usually does.
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy - The Turner Family has lived in Detroit since their parents settled there, in the big house on Yarrow Street. For decades, that house has been home base for the Turners and their 13 children. Now, the house stands vacant, unsure of its future. I loved this book for its depiction of Detroit, of a black family, of the American dream and what that means. It's very much a book about the importance of place, of home and the feelings associated with it.
The Cider House Rules by John Irving - After the disappointment of Avenue of Mysteries, I needed an Irving palette cleanser and realized I'd never read The Cider House Rules. The orphanage in St. Cloud's, Maine is run by Dr. Wilbur Larch. He takes care of pregnant women by either taking in their unwanted children or by performing abortions, illegal at the time. One young orphan, Homer Wells, becomes something of a mentee of Dr. Larch's. He cares for the younger boys, and assists Dr. Larch with his duties. The cast of characters is incredible, from the damaged and abusive Melony to the sweet as pie Candy Worthington. The book is a bit long and did drag for a portion in the middle, but overall, this is Irving at his best.
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver - Nick and Dara are sisters, one year apart. Dara is brash, daring, popular, while Nick prefers the background. One summer night, a terrible accident leaves Dara's beautiful face permanently scarred and she and Nick have a terrible falling out. Despite their estrangement, when Dara goes missing, Nick knows that she's the only one who can find her. Is Dara connected to another missing girl, Madeline Snow? Nick is on a mission to find out. A bit YA, but generally entertaining, Vanishing Girls is a fun read. There's a good twist that I didn't see coming (but probably should have). If you want something to keep you entertained, this is it.