Now 2018 has come and gone. I ended the year one book short of my Goodreads goal, reading just 24 books in 2018 instead of 25. I blame that on picking up East of Eden with only two weeks left in the year. John Steinbeck’s epic novel spans over 500 pages in paperback and it would take some time to get through it. Toss in the holidays and there just wasn’t enough time to finish it. Of all the books I read last year, there were two amazing books that absolutely stood out and I highly recommend reading.
Both of these books were written by the incredibly talented Cynthia Swanson. Even though they were entirely different stories from each other, I was so touched by both these books that I still think about them, months after I’ve read them. I had never heard of Swanson before, but her stories turned me into an instant fan. I started following the author on Instagram, and signed up for her newsletter.
The first novel I read by Swanson was The Glass Forest (do NOT get this confused with The Glass Castle, that’s an entirely different story and heartbreaking on a whole other level). I could not put it down at all and finished it within two days. As soon as I read the last page, I immediately wanted to start over and read it again. I felt like I completely understood the characters and wanted to relive what I had just finished reading. Now that the ending revealed all the facts, I needed to know whether there were any clues in the story that would have tipped me off earlier.
I’m usually not like this. After I finish reading a book, I like to wait at least a day before starting a new read, just to give my brain some time to process the story in its entirety. I need time to mull it over, make sure I understood everything that happened. I’ve found that the last 50-100 pages are usually when most of the action takes place.
The second book that I absolutely loved, brought me back to the roots of fiction. No gimmicks, no trash thriller with unreliable narrators, no cozy mysteries with cats. It was so pure that I mentally couldn’t categorize it except for being a (sometimes) feel-good story. The Bookseller was pure magic and made me want to throw out every trash novel I ever read. It had profound and complex characters that I could empathize with, understand, be friends with, and even see a little of myself within them. I felt such a connection to the main character that it made the story more heart-breaking once I realized where it was going and that there was nothing I could do to stop it. Instead, I was reduced to pleading, “Oh no, oh no. Please, please don’t do this.” The Bookseller is currently in development of becoming a film starring Julia Roberts. I cannot wait to see how that turns out.
My goal for this year is keep reading stories that make me think critically, feel good, allow me to empathize, and thoroughly entertain. Last year, I swore non-fiction was out of my life, however, I did pick up a few memoirs including Ellie Kemper’s My Squirrel Days and Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Teacup.
Here’s to a wonderful and well-read 2019!
Cost: $0.00 on Overdrive
Drink of Choice: Chamomile Tea with ginger-infused honey