It’s a little hard to be involved in any way in the book world and to not have heard of Madeline Miller. She really came into my radar as an author when I started to hear about the release of her second novel Circe earlier this year. Shortly afterwards I found out that she was being featured in a talk at the LA Times Book Festival. I hadn’t yet read her books but I knew she was a popular author with a rabid fan following, so I jumped at the chance to see her speak.
She opened the segment by reading a passage from Circe that absolutely blew me away for the power and strength of the writing (I’ve included the whole passage in my review below). It literally gave me goosebumps, and right away I knew I needed to read both her books. I’ve been recommending them (especially The Song Of Achilles) ever since and I’m officially a life long fan of her work. Read my full reviews of both of her novels below.
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I was first introduced to Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s historical fiction novels when The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds became available as one of Amazon’s Kindle First deals ahead of its release in late 2016. If you’re not familiar with the Kindle First program, it offers 4 to 5 titles each month among which Amazon Prime members can download one for free a month ahead of its actual release.
I was drawn to The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds that month as my Kindle First selection because it was a historical fiction novel set in a time and place I hadn’t read much about before. It also promised to be a family saga rather than having the romance-novel undertones of some historical fiction novels. In this I was definitely not disappointed.
When I was contacted about reviewing Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s second novel in the series – When The Future Comes Too Soon – I knew I wanted to jump at the chance and finally pick up both books back-to-back. I didn’t really know what to expect but ended up being pleasantly surprised by how robust and well-developed the novels felt for a new author. Find out more in my reviews below!
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When I first learned about Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind, I knew that I had to get my hands on it immediately. It’s exactly the kind of nonfiction I love the most – with sweeping swaths of history summarized based on overarching trends, while still including enough details to teach me something I didn’t know. I could tell that Homo Deus, on the other hand, would be a departure from my usual nonfiction fare. It’s almost more of a manifesto than the hypothetical set of musings on the future that the author insists it to be.
The two books are clearly portrayed as a set, based on their titles and matching cover styles, but if you loved Sapiens, you’re not at all guaranteed to also enjoy Homo Deus. I’m not surprised to say that though Sapiens has made it up there in the Top 20 or so of my favorite nonfiction titles, Homo Deus was interesting but much less to my taste. To find out why, read my reviews below!
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I actually hadn’t heard about Liane Moriarty‘s novels until I started blogging last summer, but once I started to follow book blogs and keep up with popular titles, I started to hear her name everywhere. Her novels typically follow the same formula, with one major secret or twist at the heart of the novel’s plot, a cast of colorful characters whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and a pace which takes the reader from one small revelation to the next, until you get to the big reveal that brings all the previous smaller pieces of evidence together. Despite this formulaic basis, I’ve found the novels to be actually pretty different from each other thanks to the wide range of characters and central plot themes.
I’ve read 5 out of the 7 novels Moriarty has published to date, so I thought it was time to share my reviews of them with you. The novels are listed in order of preference. My definite favorite is Big Little Lies, and I’m really excited for the premiere of the series version starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in February on HBO. I put The Husband’s Secret last, which may surprise some people, as it’s definitely received many a rave review. I really didn’t like it however, I think also not helped by the very whiny sounding audiobook narrator that was picked for the novel.
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This post may seem out of character – not my usual literary fiction or nonfiction fare. I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I’ve actually loved Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels since I discovered them back when I as in middle school in the 90s. I have fond teenage memories of reading the books either alone in my childhood bedroom or aloud to my kid brother as he feel asleep at night.
I find the Discworld novels to be appropriate for all ages, kind of like those children’s movies that have more risque jokes in them that kids don’t get but that their parents do. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed rediscovering Pratchett’s novels – their elevated humor and complex satire. I thought I’d share my love for his works with you by providing reviews of my 6 favorites.
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Jane Austen is definitely one of my Top 10 favorite authors – though she may not be as highbrow as Dostoevsky or Tolstoy. I’ve read each of the 6 novels she completed in her adult years, and like most people, I have my favorites.
The ultra-famous Pride and Prejudice doesn’t appear until the third spot in my ranking, and my #1 favorite Jane Austen novel is actually the lesser known Northanger Abbey. I thought sharing my ranking of her novels might spur some readers of her most popular titles to explore her less-famous works as well.
Once I finished writing this post I realized that the novels are ranked in chronological order based on when Jane Austen originally wrote them. Even Northanger Abbey, which was published in 1817 after her death, was actually written first in 1788 to 1799! There must be something to this that is influencing my preferences – I clearly appreciated Austen’s style more in her earlier works than in her more mature later novels. Very interesting.
What is your favorite Jane Austen novel? Let me know in the comments!
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