Emily M. DeArdo


What I Read In April

booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments

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I haven't done one of these in awhile, so I thought I'd get back to them. Although instead of listing everything I read, I thought I'd pick my favorite books of the month. Some of them will be re-reads, some of them will be new to me, and some will be new releases. 

27% of adults didn't read a single book last year. I'm imaging that if you read me, you read books. But in case you don't, or if you want to read more, I hope you find something in these that piques your interest!

(And I'll also include books I really didn't like, if any pop up, so you can avoid them!)

The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress, by Ariel Lawhon: This was a book club pick, and I really enjoyed it. At first I thought it looked sort of 'eh', but once I started, I couldn't stop. The novel is based on the true story of the disappearance of New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater, which has never been solved. The novel, of course, offers its own interpretation of what happened. The title refers to the three women in Crater's life: his wife, Stella; his maid, Maria Simon, and his mistress, Broadway showgirl Ritzi. I don't want to say any more, because I went into the book knowing nothing, and I think it paid off for me. But if you like good, absorbing reads, this is one for you. I think it would make a good beach read. 

Inheriting Edith, by Zoe Fishman, also has to do with maids. In this case, a housekeeper, Maggie, inherits a house in Sag Harbor when her former employer and friend, Liza, dies. The catch? The house also comes with Liza's mother, Edith, who has Alzheimer's. If Maggie takes the house, she also inherits Edith. If she sells the house, Edith will go into a care facility. Maggie decides to take the house, so she and her young daughter, Lucy, move from New York City to Sag Harbor to take care of Edith--who doesn't want strangers living with her. 

The characters in this book are really delightful. You want to keep spending time with them. Fishman does a great job drawing the setting and the relationships between the characters, with great secondary characters like Edith's wacky friend from their Broadway chorus line days, and the toy shop owner that Maggie is attracted to. I also loved the character of Lucy--she's a totally believable little girl, who talks just like little girls do. Sometimes novelists make little kids too erudite and well-spoken, but not here. Another good beach read, probably because it takes place at  a beach, but there's a lot of pathos in this book, too. So if you don't like anything that could be sort of sad, this isn't a vacation book for you. 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, by Steig Larsson. These are re-reads for me--I re-read these pretty regularly, and I don't know why, since crime books aren't really my preferred genre. I don't read a lot of thriller/crime novels. But these, I really like. Is the writing the best? No. But the characters are just great, so I overlook the cliches and sort of stilted writing style so I can enjoy Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. The original trilogy is completed with The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. A fourth book, written by another author (Larsson died before the books were published), came out last year: The Girl In the Spider's Web, and another is coming out this year. I haven't read Spider's Web--I'm not sure I want to read another author's take on Larsson's world and characters. But we'll see. Anyway, I really enjoy these, and they're quick reads. They're big, but with the exception of the last one, they're quick. The last one gets sort of involved with too many characters and Swedish history side notes that slow it down, so it's not my favorite in the series. But the payoff is worth it. 

Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley. Emily was also at Making Things Happen, and as soon as I got home, I re-read her book. It's about getting organized, inside and outside yourself--both your environment, and your heart. There's so much goodness in it. And it's a beautiful book. You can really tell Emily loves paper and design, because the physical appearance of this book is just all the goodness. And it's on sale right now for $10! (And remember, Lara's second book comes out in June! Pre-order!) 

The Cardamom Trail, by Chetna Makan. Do you watch The Great British Bake-Off? If not, it's n Netflix. Do it! The first season that we have here (as in, here in the States) featured a ton of great contestants, including Chetna Makan, who was raised in India, but moved to England as an adult. Her entries during the contest often featured Indian spices and inventive takes on classic recipes. So when her cookbook came out, I asked for it as a birthday gift, and my friend Mary gifted it to me. 

This is a really gorgeous cookbook. Yes, the measurements aren't in "American". :-P But you can convert them pretty easily. The recipes are mouth-watering. There are three I need to try almost immediately. I read cookbooks for fun (yes, I'm weird) and this one is just so gorgeous, I almost hate to put it away. There are sweet and savory things in here, as well as things like British "pies", which are what we'd call "pot pies" here in America. It's not just sweet things. If you like to bake, this is a book for you. 

 Did you read anything good last month? What's your favorite fiction genre?