March has been up and down so far: we’ve had snow flurries, several mild days and lots of events on the calendar. So it also goes with books. (This is the hubs at Greenlight Bookstore on a recent NYC jaunt, about which more soon.)
Here’s my latest book roundup:
That’s Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us, Erin Moore
London-dwelling expat Erin Moore is delighted (and often confused) by the differences between American and British English. Through a handful of vital words and phrases, she explores the history and current state of English on both sides of the Atlantic (and cautions readers to “mind the gap!”). Witty, smart and such fun for Anglophiles.
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
I’m not usually drawn to Westerns, but this epic story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana (led by two Texas Rangers) has been on my list for YEARS. (My dad loves it and the miniseries.) It’s 840 pages long, but I was still heartbroken when it ended. It is simply told but rich, deeply layered, and full of wonderful characters. I particularly adored Deets, Newt, and Augustus McCrae. My mom said it best on Instagram: “So good! Love, loss, friendship, adventure, life, death: everything.”
Design for Dying, Renee Patrick
Lillian Frost came to Hollywood to be in the movies, but settled for a role as a department-store shopgirl. But when her former roommate is murdered, Lillian joins forces with the police – and Edith Head, of all people – to catch the killer. A sparkling, smart, funny (if occasionally too-aware-of-its-own-cleverness) period mystery. To review for Shelf Awareness (out April 19).
The Ramblers, Aidan Donnelly Rowley
Rowley’s second novel follows three college friends now in their 30s, trying to make sense of life and love in NYC over one jam-packed Thanksgiving week. A mixed bag: some lovely moments and a lot of (gratuitous, I thought) profanity; some insights that rang true and others that felt hollow. I did love the nods to E.B. White’s Here is New York, which I adore. I met Aidan recently at Lindsey’s house, and enjoyed hearing her talk about the book.
A Finer End, Deborah Crombie
Crombie’s seventh novel featuring Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James takes them to Glastonbury, where Duncan’s cousin is mixed up in a strange situation involving a long-dead monk, an ancient chant and a group of local eccentrics. I like Duncan and Gemma, and wanted to give this series another shot, but the odd paranormal elements of this plot were not my favorite.
The Doldrums, Nicholas Gannon
Archer B. Helmsley is the grandson of two famed explorers. But since his grandparents disappeared on a voyage, his mother will hardly let him leave the house. So Archer and his two friends, Oliver and Adelaide, hatch a plan to escape to Antarctica. A fun premise with charming illustrations, though the execution fell a little flat.
Falling: A Daughter, a Father, and a Journey Back, Elisha Cooper
Elisha Cooper’s world changed when his young daughter, Zoe, was diagnosed with cancer. This memoir traces their family’s journey through Zoe’s treatment and recovery. But it’s less about hospitals and chemo than it is about living – Cooper wants to teach his daughters to take risks and throw balls and eat gelato, and to pay attention to his own mundane, dazzling life. Wry and honest, with some luminous moments. I received an ARC because I’m going to interview the author for Shelf Awareness (out June 14).
The Perfume Collector, Kathleen Tessaro
My mom lent me this lovely novel about a young Englishwoman who receives an inheritance from a Frenchwoman she’s never met, and travels to Paris to investigate. A dual-time-period narrative (1927 and 1955) with gorgeous details and interesting characters. I saw the main plot twist coming, but was surprised by several others.
Chasing Secrets, Gennifer Choldenko
Lizzie Kennedy loves making house calls with her doctor father – a rarity in San Francisco in 1900. But when rumors of the plague start to swirl, the city’s Chinatown is put under quarantine and Lizzie is cautioned to stay away. Worried for the safety of her family’s Chinese cook, Lizzie breaks all kinds of rules to search for answers. A fun, well-told story of unlikely friendship and a slice of history I didn’t know about before.
Links (not affiliate links) are to my favorite local bookstore, Brookline Booksmith.
What are you reading?