After finishing the last of my April books, I was definitely back in a reading groove and I really liked all four of my choices this month! After I finished Next Year in Havana, I noticed that the library had posted a “we’re working on reopening!” statement, so instead of buying another book, I read Heartburn, which I’d had forever and just hadn’t gotten around to. It’s a little random (and wasn’t on my list!) but I wanted to stay in the habit of reading every day. Once I’d finished that, the library wasn’t open yet (and still isn’t.. whomp whomp) so I moved on to the next cheapest book on my list! Here’s hoping June brings the library books back.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz Definitely need a trigger warning (or 6) for this book- major themes of domestic violence, poverty, and a young uneducated woman’s total lack of agency or autonomy. It was definitely engaging, though, and I really found myself rooting for the main character. I did think it was highly readable and I liked the dialogue, plus there was an interesting political and historical context. I’d settle on a 7/10.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton I loved this book- it was told as a back and forth between two women, 50 years apart. Growing up in Ontario, we spent many vacations in Cuba, but I never really understood the rich history and political turmoil. The book explored this, as well as love, family, and identity. It was just captivating and unpredictable enough to keep me reading late at night, and it was also very readable- I zipped through it. 8/10.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron Every once in a while, I start looking on Amazon for used books- and I just click through the “you may also like” pages for a few hours. I only order books that are $3 or less, and this was the result of one of those shopping trips. I love Nora Ephron movies, so I thought it would be fun to read her novel. It’s definitely her style of dialogue, and I recognized some lines she repurposed for You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, which was fun. It was also short and a tiny bit hard to follow, almost like she didn’t quite make the transition all the way from writing screenplays to writing novels. 6/10
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout This book is woven together as short stories, each of which is one chapter. I’m 75% of the way through, and so far I really like it. I will say that since I pick it up every 1 or 2 days, sometimes the characters are hard to keep straight in my head. I find myself thinking “hmm- has this character come up in a previous story?”. I started keeping a scribbled list! Otherwise it’s a great mix of funny and poignant. So far 8/10.