Mini reviews for two month-long reads

Hey, readers!

I hope the last two weeks have been filled with lots of good books. It was wonderful to get away for a little bit and spend time with family, but I’m also glad to be home and back in my space and my routines. What can I say…I’m a creature of habit!

I read quite a bit the last two weeks. I primarily spent my reading time finishing two books that I’d been making my way through all month. While I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve been reading recently, most of them have been pretty heavy and I’m ready for some lighter reads. Personally and collectively the world feels heavy these days, and I’m ready for a little more escapism in my book selections. I often struggle to find lighter books for myself because I’m turned off by anything too sweet or saccharine or predictable, but feel free to send any recommendations if you have them!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • Great Circle by Maggie ShipsteadI finally finished this epic on audiobook* and I loved it! The novel’s primary story is about Marian Graves, a young woman who is captivated by the idea of flight and ultimately decides to attempt a circumnavigation of the globe. Interspersed with Marian’s story, we’re introduced to Hadley, the young actress portraying Marian in a biopic 100 years later. This book is long and filled with tangents that can feel irrelevant at times, but I never minded because I thoroughly enjoyed Shipstead’s writing and admirable ability to craft interesting and nuanced characters no matter how large or small their roles. And seeing how she weaves the story’s threads together as the novel approaches its end is simply mesmerizing. If you’re looking for a long, leisurely story to capture your attention, this could be it. Amazon | Bookshop

  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I absolutely adored this book, and I think it’s one of the best FictionMatters Book Club selections yet. Not just because of its endearing characters and multifaceted plot, but because it leaves readers with so many questions! I really can’t imagine reading this without a group to discuss it with; I got a lot more out of the book after meeting with the Thursday book club crew and I know my appreciation will continue to grow after Sunday’s meeting. There are many different ways to interpret this novel and lots of various themes to take away with you—I think it will be a forever favorite for me. I do recommend searching out trigger warnings (Storygraph is my go-to place for that!). Amazon | Bookshop

  • I also finished this Women’s Prize finalist and this historical deep dive recommended by Anne Helen Petersen.

Now I’m reading…

  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean. This has been on my TBR since it came out. I love books about books and stories that blend history and social commentary. So far it’s very engaging and I’m really enjoying Orlean’s style and manner of storytelling. Amazon | Bookshop

*You can get two LIBRO.FM audiobooks for the price of one with my link or by using code FICTIONMATTERS.

Links I love.

Ready to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of fall book releases? Check out these 19 anticipated titles publishing in September.

Speaking of all the great books coming out this fall, a FictionMatters Patron recently shared this flow chart to help you decide which buzzy book is right for you.

This is a great article pondering what writers of fiction owe the real life subjects who inspire them.

The 18 most memorable trees in literature (this is genuinely a fun read!)

Did you know there’s someone who’s been stealing book manuscripts for over a decade with no known motive or endgame?

Over at Novel Pairings, we’re spending September deep diving into Jane Eyre, so I recently bookmarked this list of 10 interesting facts about the Brontës.

I loved scrolling through this virtual tour of NYC literary landmarks.

This map reveals the most translated works of literature from every country. I can all but guarantee that the most translated title from the U.S. will take you by surprise.

NPR listeners 50 favorite sci-fi and fantasy novels of the last decade.

Biossance, my favorite skincare line, is having a major sale. My favorite products are the Resurfacing Night Serum and the Vitamin C Serum.

I’m obsessed with this “Read” pillow from Rifle Paper Co., but I’m just going to admire it from afar.

End notes.

Watching: I really enjoyed the ride that was The White Lotus. Knowing that the whole thing was conceptualized, written, shot, and edited in less than a year also helped me appreciate it more.

Listening: I’m back to listening to most episodes of The Daily to try and keep up with everything that’s happening with the Delta variant, Afghanistan, and more. I’m mixing that up with episodes of Be There in Five for a bit of lighter fare.

Making: Lots of trips to Goodwill and Book Give Denver. We’re trying to cut back on clutter to make room for the baby—and, yes, that includes lots of books that I’m no longer excited to read. It’s a bit painful, but I know a book can come back into my life at the right moment if and when I’m supposed to read it.

Loving: Finally getting our new shelves filled with books! I really need to get a good picture of the finished product to show you all!


Readers, I hope you’re finding the right books to fit your reading mood, whatever that may be. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!

Sara