May 2017 was an odd month for me as I was preparing for my Iceland trip, writing several freelance articles (deadlines!), and evidently not reading as much as normal. Grace Grits Reads May 2017 totals only three books. Sad! (Three that I can recall as I sit here in Iceland trying to remember, anyway.)
My brain is tired.
Maybe I really read eight. Ha.
by Neil Gaiman
I selected this book because author Neil Gaiman was inspired to write it after a trip to Reykjavik, AND I thought it would help immerse me in the culture and mood of Iceland. It did. For the most part, I truly enjoyed this book. At times, I LOVED the story. Once or twice, I almost quit reading. But somehow the author casts a spell, and I couldn’t not finish it. American Gods is as long and deep as the Westfjords (over 700 pages!), and the story is as mystical and poetic as Iceland itself. The basic premise involves a man recently released from prison, his dead wife, and a job he reluctantly accepts because he finds himself a bit untethered. Nothing is ever as it seems. Magic plays a role. Or does it? Underlying forces influence everything. Or do they? If you are offended by sex, penises, and the idea of Norse gods, you won’t like this saga. If you prefer a straightforward, black and white story, move on to something else. If you enjoy a touch of fantasy and remember devouring mythology in junior high, you may just see the magic in Gaiman’s prose.
(Yes, Starz produced a series based on the book, but I always favor the book first.)
This book made me: Think. Look at Iceland differently. Remember the mythology I learned in 7th grade. And FYI, I will never see a taxi / Uber driver the same way again. Never.
My favorite line: “All we have to believe with is our senses.”
Luckiest Girl Alive
by Jessica Knoll
A friend recommended this book to me otherwise I doubt I would have read it because of the cover. Yes, I often choose books by the cover, and this one reminds me of The Bachelorette. The protagonist is not likable. Think Mean Girl grows up, moves to New York, sets her sights on Rich, Blue-Blooded Boy. The story becomes a bit far-fetched, and I found I didn’t much care for any of the characters. Only a few days (but thousands of miles later) I can’t for the life of me remember how the story ended. I wouldn’t compare it to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train which this author’s excellent marketing people managed to do.
This book made me: roll my eyes a few times, but it kept me reading so that’s something.
My favorite line: “I want to be a writer, which sounds so stupid and aspirational, like, ‘I want to be an astronaut!”
I listened to the audio version of this story while driving to Dallas and flying to Boston. The Life We Bury is an intriguing, enjoyable escape. The characters are well developed. The premise is this: a college student must interview and write the biography of a stranger. The stranger, in this instance, is a convicted murderer and rapist. Of course, this leads the reader down the proverbial rabbit hole to a larger mystery with twists and turns that aren’t altogether unpredictable but still engaging while driving to Dallas and flying to Boston.
This book made me: think more about secrets and the lives we all bury.
My favorite line: “His dying declaration……that’s what he called it. It’s a statement that’s true because you don’t want to die with a lie on your lips.”
What’s everyone reading? Do you have a summer reading list yet?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
American Gods Soundtrack, Deliver Me