Something Smart --
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
When I read this book for book club at the beginning of this year, I thought I had already read it and that this time around would be a nice refresher course for my brain (since I couldn't remember much from the first reading.) Turns out I couldn't remember things because I hadn't actually read the book in high school as I had so long thought - I had dutifully taken down class notes in the margins but never actually let the words wash over my brain. I can remember all the plot details from seven seasons of Gilmore Girls but I never actually read Brave New World. Until this year! It was, unexpectedly, one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. There is a reason this book is termed a "classic" - the writing is witty and smart, the descriptions are striking, and the scene Huxley sets (of a "Utopian society" that is anything but) is just close enough to reality to really freak you out. If you haven't yet, read it.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I was the only one out of our eleven-person book club to love this book. Hell, to even like this book! I don't know what it is. The story is segmented at the beginning, starting several different plot lines and characters within the first few chapters, but once they all start aligning I really enjoyed reading this book. This book includes a love story spanning the decades between the 1960s and now, the love story between two famous American movie stars, and the love story between a modern couple. I think it was well-written and I was rooting for the characters the entire time. There was a great amount of research done into the Italian coastal landscape where much of the story takes place, as well as into the Hollywood drama of the 1960's. Maybe I'm a sucker for a well-researched book (I do like the Robert Langdon novels by Dan Brown) but there's something really enjoyable about reading a book with plenty of details that perfectly set the scene in your mind. This book does just that.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
With all of the hype surrounding this book (it was recommended on several different websites and in many publications, as well as by friends and friends-of-friends for the past few months) I expected to really like it, but I didn't expect to not be able to put it down until I had finished...which is, of course, exactly what happened. The boyfriend and I were grilling for Fourth of July and I was watching the hot dogs with one hand holding up this book. It was that good! However, it is entirely different than I expected it to be. The description sets up a murder mystery for the reader, but you quickly find out that nothing you think is true, is true. I loved that aspect to it and it kept me engaged and wondering until the very end. The only complaint I had about this book is that I wanted more. I can't wait to get through my other list of books to read so I can pick up her two other novels!
Have any books you've read this year you really loved? Didn't love? Any you're looking forward to reading? Add me on Goodreads if you'd like!