Time for another One Two Three post! I've been keeping up a pretty good reading schedule of-late, so here are some of my recent favs. I would heartily recommend any of these books for your next read!
1. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane
This book was gifted to me by a friend almost a year ago for my birthday, but I didn't get around to reading it until we chose it for our book club in February. However, the fact that it took me so long to open has no bearing on how great this book is - once started, it only took me two days to finish it! The novel, set in modern San Francisco, combines characteristics from a great Dan Brown mystery, and the tech focus of Dave Eggers's recent book The Circle. There are secret societies, topical technology references, and a great mix of characters. The premise takes a bit of a twist-and-turn route before you realize what's truly going on, and get to the "goal" of the book, but the fact that you're following the main character on his discovery of "the truth" keeps you engaged. I wish this was a series, as the characters are the kind that you'd like to continue seeing from time to time, like old friends. Old, made up, friends.
2. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells was another book club choice, and I'm really glad someone else picked this, since I don't think I necessarily would have. Not having read any of the original PG Wodehouse "Jeeves" novels (which I, now, highly recommend that we all do) I didn't know what to expect and had images of a stuffy Victorian novel full of useless, flowery language. This novel couldn't be further from that image! Faulks, from what I hear, has truly recaptured Wodehouse's voice and revitalized these characters for a new generation of readers. The book is smartly written, well researched, and a bit cheeky in its humor, so that as a reader you are never bored. Even if the plot twists are somewhat predictable, it's like reading an episode of Downtown Abbey crossed with the original The Office. I've purchased my first Wodehouse "Jeeves" novel and can't wait to keep reading about these characters' adventures.
3. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My mother doesn't read much. Well, let me take that back, before she's mortally offended - my mother reads everyday, but usually it is articles and newspapers and magazines, picking out restaurant reviews and planning her next trip to the museum, or sending me the latest news on which chemicals I should stop eating. It is hard for me to get her to sit down and read a novel that I've recommended, as she usually simply doesn't have time. So believe me when I say that the fact that my mom finished this novel in a weekend is one of the highest commendations anyone can give a novel. In fact, she read it before I had! I hurriedly borrowed her copy and, after a slight lull during which I had to take care of other blogging and brunching and living duties, finished it last week. This book is unexpected - the characters may come off as caricatures but, in the end, they're well formed; the storyline is engaging and doesn't cease to capture your attention, though there are some slightly wild bits; and, the writing is laugh-out-loud funny. The novel is a modern satire on the Microsoft-run city of Seattle and the characters (pun!) who inhabit that world. I didn't interpret it so much as a satire when I was reading it, but seeing as I am in techland here in San Francisco, it may be too close for me to see. Either way, it's a fantastic, enjoyable, smart read!
What's been on your bookshelf lately?