This is hopefully my last catch up post. I’ve got one more individual review to write and then I’m up to speed with everything I’ve read so far this year, thank the goodness. Here goes.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is one of my all time favorite books so maybe my expectations were just too high for this one. I enjoyed The Glass Hotel, I really did, but of all the books I’m catching up on, it’s not one I’m singling out for its own review. It just, to me, didn’t merit it. Did I enjoy watching a Ponzi scheme come crashing down on people who more than deserved it? Sure did. It felt like if Wall Street had actually gone to prison for upending the American economy, rather than had gotten bailed out. The rest, though, just didn’t do much for me. Maybe it was told in too many parts? Maybe it took too long to find its focus? I do plan on rereading Station Eleven soon and this has me a little worried it won’t hold up.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
I read this almost side by side with the first of the Lady Sherlock series and had a heck of a time trying to keep the two straight as both are broadly gender-bent mystery retellings of classic literary characters of the nineteenth century. Alchemist’s Daughter is more of a group effort as the daughters of everyone from Dr. Jekyll to Frankenstein with a little Moreau thrown in for good measure (for a generous definition of daughter). The book is written as though we also get the notes from various editors – these editors being the characters involved in the story – so it is fun to have gotten a sense of who all these women are from the get go, but not officially meet them for another couple of chapters. The group gradually assembles (no montage here) to figure out the heart of a grand conspiracy, and then figure out how they as a group of young women are going to keep house and food on the table. It’s a series I’ll loosely follow, as soon as I can get the next one from the library.
Orphans of Empire: The Fate of London’s Foundlings by Helen Berry
Goodness this was the driest thing I have read in a very long time. This was a pick by my bookclub and I gotta say I am not looking forward to discussing it this weekend. This is a very detailed history of London’s Foundling Hospital (aka, home for children of unwed mothers) mostly in the 18th century and I’m sure it’s a history that some people were fascinated with but I was not. Maybe I just didn’t read it close enough but my eyes glazed over every time I sat down to clear through a few more pages. It’s essentially a textbook – a full HALF of this thing is end notes and citations. It may be a while before we venture into non fiction again and I welcome with open arms Crazy Rich Asians next month.