It’s summer! I should have a dozen reviews ready to go, but I don’t. What happened? I think it is a mix of some light reading (mysteries are my light summer reading weakness), some books that just didn’t gel with me and reading some niche books for social workers/therapists. So instead of individual posts/reviews, I’m going to combine into one weird hodgepodge post.
I finally read a novel from Ruth Rendell (my friend Wendy Roberts will be proud) and enjoyed it. The Water’s Lovely is a psychological novel about the misunderstandings that arise when we keep secrets — or more accurately when something terrible happens and it’s not talked about and everyone carries misunderstandings. I have a feeling that this wouldn’t be the book a Rendell fan would recommend as an introduction to Rendell, so I plan to go back and read more.
Laura Lippman is a mystery writer I always turn to for an entertaining whodunit. Her latest is Hush, Hush – part of her Tess Monaghan series. Tess is a tough, no-nonsense private investigator in Baltimore. I enjoyed this novel for what it is and I love having Tess back, but her earlier adventures are a lot more fun and less convoluted.
I have a soft spot for the British writer, Lisa Jewell, having picked up one of her novels in the London airport years ago. Her latest, The House We Grew Up In, seemed to touch on more complicated subjects and left me with some interesting dreams. The Bird family is quirky and close until the dramatic events on Easter leading them all to spiral, but most significantly Lorelei, the mother of the Bird children, who becomes an extreme hoarder. After her eventual death, the Bird children and their father return to the house to clear out the belongings and uncover all the secret hurts and try to repair them.
A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy by Annie G. Rogers is a disturbing and compelling personal account of a therapist who is dealing with her own demons while providing therapy to traumatized children. Rogers focuses on her therapeutic relationship with her client, Ben, a 5 year old boy who suffered neglect and abandonment. Her work with Ben is the most positive and enlightening piece of the book. Annie’s personal therapy and eventual breakdown due to her own history of abuse and the horrific failing of her therapist/analyst, Melanie, is harder to follow at times and is dark and sad. I think this book has a niche audience, but is worth the effort if you are interested in real psychological thrillers.
Building Your Ideal Private Practice by Lynn Grodski was an excellent book for me to read this summer as I try to start a practice. Reading this book got me excited and energized and there were great exercises to help you put into words your goals and ideas. I have a feeling I will go back to the activities often to re-ignite my excitement and grow more as a business owner.
Two books that I started, but couldn’t finish were The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner and Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer. I was so eager to read The Flamethrowers and to get it from the library, but I made it through a few chapters and kept falling asleep. I loved her previous novel, Telex From Cuba, so I was disappointed. I just couldn’t get into the main character and why she was riding a motorcycle in Reno or hooking up some some jerk of an artist.
I had read good reviews about Frances and Bernard a series of letters that is inspired by Flannery O’Conner and Robert Lowell, but I found the letters dry and tedious.
What have you loved and not loved this summer? Any recommendations?