Have Read: Books of Spring / Summer 2018

I spent a lot of my teenage years with my face between book pages, but as I’ve traversed through my adulthood I’ve had a lot less time to read. Being a writer, though, I know that reading is pretty much half of my job, so over the last few years I’ve really tried to read more dang books (usually before bed, and usually until I pass out). I’ve also gone back to reading physical books as opposed to my Kindle (because Jeff Bezos could use less money, amirite?)

I’ve missed bookstores as a whole, and have gone to Chapters quite a bit as of late to dig through discount piles and wander through the shelves like I did as a teenager with a full bank account and no bills to pay.

Most books take me a month or two to finish, but this spring/summer I’ve really dug into my “to read” pile.

This post is inspired by Julia Archer of Jules Just Write. I’ve always loved her yearly reading lists. So here’s mine for this year in progress. Just a quick head’s up that most of my links will head over to Chapters, as I’m currently in the process of trying to boycott Amazon, so if you’re in the US and click the links and don’t wanna buy Canadain and feel Canadian, then I’m sorry.

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter – Saachi Koul

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. My husband got me this book for Christmas because I’m a fan of Koul’s journalism and her appearances as a millennial panelist on plenty of CBC discussions have made me a big fan of her candid nature. This book is no exception. There are some wonderful essays in here about her life growing up as an Indian in Canada. I’m half-Filipino, so I related a lot to her openness about feeling “white” while being ethnic in a multicultural society, as well as her many many issues with body hair.

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware is everywhere and this is her first novel. The book is still on the bestseller shelves, so I figured I’d try it out, considering I’m yet another woman who just loves “psychological thrillers”. This one, though? Pretty dull. Characters were flat. Plot felt weak. Dialogue was cliche. Maybe I’m a buttface for not supporting other authors, but I’d kill to have four bestselling novels so I’m sure Ruth Ware is doing mighty fine.

All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had – Jules Archer

I had the great privilege of writing a blurb for Jules Archer’s debut chapbook and I cannot say enough good things about her writing. She writes flash fiction and minces the hell out of her words. It’s a nice quick read but a lovely bittersweet story of a woman facing the strain of new motherhood. Get a copy. Get one. You won’t’ regret it.

Find Her – Lisa Gardner

Got this for $8 at the Metrotown Chapters and read half of it on the way home from our Vancouver trip back in April. It’s your typical kidnapping story (a not-so-secret guilty pleasure of mine) but also part of a detective series (which I have trouble connecting to because detectives are just momentum for plot and never really characters I care to read about through a bunch of books). I probably wouldn’t have bought it had I known it was part of detective series, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. A little cliche but it was written well.

The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

I bought this book the same time as In A Dark, Dark Wood, and after the disappointment, I gave myself some time before slogging through this one. It’s definitely better than Ware’s first book, but I don’t think I’ll be picking up any of her other novels. Psychological thrillers all look the same but they fall along a spectrum and this one falls among the many that are of the Lifetime variety.

The Woman in the Window – A.J. Finn

This one excited me. The plot was intriguing. The protagonist was interesting. The writing was perfect. I loved the first two-thirds of the novel, but the ending felt pretty lackluster. As far as thrillers go this one is your standard affair but I felt there was enough quality to keep me reading. I liked the short chapters. I’ll read Finn’s next book for sure.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

After the slog of thrillers, I started getting frustrated. I’m currently writing a thriller myself and needed some better inspiration to inject a little horror into my book. Enter Shirley Jackson. I’m ashamed that I waited this long to read one of her novels. Seriously ashamed. This was magic. This is perfection. This was everything I needed to inspire me, and it’s one of my favourite reads this year. It definitely creeps up on you, makes you feel things, makes you rattled.

Normal – Graeme Cameron

Heard a lot of good things about this one, so I tried it out. It was a quick read. Well-written and eventful. It wasn’t without its flaws, (the back and forth between the kidnapper and the victim was super rad and THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH OF IT!) but if you like reading about serial killers and want to have a little fun, then this will work for you.

Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix

I love this book because it looks like an IKEA catalogue. It’s a wonderful horror comedy that I blasted through in a week but it’s more of a play on horror tropes than it is very serious. I enjoyed the ride but really missed having the meat of good characterization with this one.

Give Me Your Hand – Megan Abbott

I’m a big Megan Abbot fan. Just bought this one but I’ve heard great things. Unfortunately I wasn’t charmed by Abbot’s last novel, but I’m really loving the “past” portions of this book so far. She does female friendship like nobody else.

Your turn!

Got any books to suggest? What are you reading? Are psychological thrillers your jam? Are you having as hard a time finding quality ones as I am? Do you still buy from Amazon? What about Jeff Bezos? Does he have enough money yet? What about kidnapping stories? You into that sort of thing? I’d appreciate some recommendations if you have them.

More about Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her personal blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com

4 thoughts on “Have Read: Books of Spring / Summer 2018

  1. jules

    Hey Rebecca!

    Great post, and thanks for the shout-outs. Good to know about Ruth Ware. . . I have her book “The Woman in Cabin

    10” but have always been undecided about reading it. I., too, am a huge Megan Abbott fan . . .I haven’t read her last

    few new ones but have been meaning to check them out. I also love me some “kidnapping stories” — do you have

    any recommendations? I finished the “Changeling” by Joy Williams a month ago and it is an amazing book…I

    would check it out.

    Reply

    1. Rebecca

      There’s The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, which isn’t bad. There’s the two in this post that I mentioned (Find Her and Normal). I’ve also read Still Missing by Chevy Stevens but it was pretty damn hardcore on the Lifetime melodrama so I wouldn’t exactly recommend it.

      A Goodreads search on popular kidnapping fiction turns up mostly kidnapping erotica, which isn’t exactly what I’m looking for because while a little eroticism is okay in my book, I really have a hard time suspending my disbelief when a kidnapping story ends as a love story. I prefer my kidnapping stories about a legit power exchange, or as that power exxhange being used as a metaphor.

      I’ve got a short kidnapping story in my Vile Men collection called “Better Places”, and a new one coming out next year called “Election Season” in an upcoming anthology from Upper Rubber Boot called Broad Knowledge.

      Reply

  2. Emily Slaney

    Hey Rebecca, I love a good honest “what I’ve been reading post” so this was great. I have Megan Abbott’s new book too but haven’t read it yet, The End of Everything blew me away. I love me some good psychological thrillers too, so as for recommendations I suggest: “Berlin Syndrome by Melanie Joosten, “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins (although not as good as girl on the train imo) Currently working my way through Sarah Pinborough’s books, and I’d recommend many of them too. Karen Slaughter’ss Pretty Girls is some good nasty thrills, and Far from you by Tess Sharp ticks the YA box. I’m beyond excited that Gillian Flynn has a new book in progress, describing it as her darkest yet! Speaking of which are you loving the Sharp Objects series as much as I am. Truly gorgeous and probably the most faithful book adaption I think I’ve seen.
    Finally, just to say I’m intrigued to hear your writing a psychological thriller, having read and enjoy much of your writing back in the lit reactor/War/Thunderstone days I’m excited to see where you go with it 🙂

    Reply

    1. Rebecca

      Sharp Objects is the highlight of my summer! I’m actually going to make a post about it next!

      As for my book, I’m trying to call it a “psychological horror” as per Shirley Jackson. Thrillers are kind of a dime a dozen these days and it’s so hard to slog through the ones full of cheap thrills to find the ones with real meat. thanks for all the recommendations! I’ve read a few but I’ll dig into the others!

      Reply

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