What I Read in May 2015: Grown-Up Books

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I kind of want to say “adult books,” but that sounds risque or something. What I mean is, these are books written for adults. As opposed to the Young Adult ones I read in May.


Off the Record by Elizabeth White – I must have read about this book somewhere, because it’s been on my Amazon wishlist a long time. Who knows? When it went on sale for Kindle, I decided it was worth the $2. And I really, really liked it. As I’ve mentioned a million times, when my brain is tired, I turn to Christian fiction. This is the story of Lauren, a young woman running for chief state justice in Alabama. Surrounded by family and with a reputation of being highly conservative and big on family values, Lauren’s world is shaken up when former love interest Cole comes to report on her campaign.

It sounds cheesier than it is. I really enjoyed watching the story between Lauren and Cole unfold, and White is a wonderful writer.


Shosha by Isaac Bashevis Singer – This is the book I decided to read to fill the “book originally published in another language” category of the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2015 Reading Challenge. It’s a very peculiar novel about a Jewish writer living in Warsaw, Poland as World War II closes in. I think I was hoping for more of a moral work, but Aaron is a little sleazy and sort of unlikeable. And yet the author shows him with great soul as he is basically offered a free ticket to America to leave behind everything and almost everyone he knows – including Shosha, a childhood friend he rediscovers.

Really, the story is kind of bizarre, and I wondered if something was lost in the translation. But it was also something enlightening to the Jewish mindframe as they knew the Nazis were coming. (The book was published in Yiddish, not Polish, if you are interested.)


On the Noodle Road by Jen Lin-Liu – A nonfiction trip on the Noodle Road – from Beijing to Rome – with author Jen Lin-Liu and occasionally her (much-talked-about) husband, Craig. Married just a short time, Lin-Liu talks about her journey to wifehood alongside her journey through China, Central Asia, and into Turkey and Italy. While there is a lot of navel-gazing going on, I found the actual food writing to be tantalizing and very interesting. Prepare yourself to want to make pasta from scratch. Although I don’t relate a whole lot to Len-Liu’s struggle to understand herself as both a wife and an independent woman, I think it resonates with our culture today.

Husband's Secret

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Liane Moriarty has an incredible talent for making books with really tough topics (in this case, a murder) read like chicklit. She is witty and funny and turns what could be a labored read about an old murder and a marriage breaking down into something pretty extraordinary. I just love her writing and character development.


Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga – It might be weird to say this about a memoir, but I absolutely devoured this book by blogger Emily T. Wierenga. Emily shares about growing up, meeting her husband, marrying, her mother’s sickness, traveling, and battling anorexia – all in nonlinear format. Which might sound confusing, but it worked perfectly, Emily’s poetic words flowing between timelines.

When you are an overthinker (which I am), faith can sometimes be difficult. I think it is for Emily, and it can be for me. But coming through it with the Spirit feels so good. I felt like she understood me and was willing to admit that faith isn’t easy. Something she said about letting God take care of her has really stuck with me. Truly loved this book and look forward to reading the sequel, Making It Home.


Delancey by Molly Wizenberg – Confession time. One, until I opened this book I had no idea that Molly Wizenberg wrote Orangette, one of the original food blogs. I just knew I had heard many people rave about her books. Two, I couldn’t remember which book was supposed to come first (this or A Homemade Life), but my name came up at the library so I read it anyway. (It’s not this one, BTW.)

I think my aunt and several others were appalled when I only gave it three stars on GoodReads, and my aunt says it’s because I didn’t read A Homemade Life first. Maybe that’s it? I liked it, it was interesting, but it just didn’t strike me as something I love. And that’s OK, right?


The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger – I am going to go with this book as my one I picked because of the cover on the 2015 Reading Challenge. I was searching through audiobooks on our library’s Overdrive system, and this one jumped out at me. It sounded like something I’d like, so I loaded it onto my iPod and listened to it over the course of a month.

At first, I really enjoyed the tale of Amina, a young woman from Bangladesh who finds a husband through a dating site and moves to Rochester, New York to marry George. Amina’s first years in the U.S. are rocky as she adjusts to the many cultural differences, not to mention being a wife to a man she barely knows. But as Amina endeavors to bring her parents to the US from Bangladesh, the story kind of fell apart for me. I felt very unsatisfied with the ending and thought there were some loose threads, too.


Shew. That’s a lot of words about books! And these are my “short reviews.” Haha.

Are you reading anything good right now? I’m starting to get into We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. It reminds me a little of Maeve Binchy’s arching storylines and characters. But we’ll see how it goes.

This post will be added to Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy

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