1st, though, is my review of a book called Ten Days in Paradise, by Linda Abbott. Linda and I connected on LinkedIn, and she asked if I would be willing to read her book and blog about it. I said sure, and here it is.
The book basically focuses on Ellen, a 45-year old career woman who is stuck in a loveless marriage with a very difficult teenage son (is there any other kind? - of course there is!?). She decides to get away for a 10-day vacation to an island off the coast of Florida. And there she meets David, who is there with his wife and 3 young children, celebrating his parents' 50th anniversary with a wide array of family and friends. Needless to say, sparks fly.
This reminds me of Showtime's The Affair, except that this book was written (2013) BEFORE that show came out. So, if anything, Showtime copied Linda! And just like the TV show, the reader/viewer is torn between wanting them together and realizing that it is inappropriate and, some might even say, immoral for that to happen. But it's still hard not to root for them.
Although Ellen and David are the main characters, you still get to meet and know a bunch of others: Especially David's parents (even David's mom, Judy, has a secret from her past - cool!) and 2 sisters, with all of their add-ons. And I have to say that I liked all of the characters. They each had pluses and minuses. Sometimes you were happy with them, and others times not so much. I like having that ambivalence. It makes for a more interesting read.
Lest you think this was just a "nice" read for me, let me disabuse you of that notion. I had chills and tears aplenty. When I say I cared about all of the characters, I mean just that. I felt an emotional connection to each and every one. That doesn't happen all that much. But it did here. If you're looking for a story that gets you wrapped up in who's doing and saying what to whom, then I urge you to give Ten Days in Paradise a shot. I think you will be thanking me.
And then there was Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill. I read this because it's the 4th Tuesday Night Book Club selection at Books, Inc. in Palo Alto for April. The New York Times Book Review called it "One of the TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR for 2014. It's basically about a woman, her marriage, and their young son. I think the reason it's getting so much buzz is the way in which it is written. In fact, Amazon has a rating of 4/5, and Goodreads is 3.78/5. I simply didn't get it. I am very anxious to hear what Margie and our book club members have to say later this month. Is it just me and I'm a troglodyte? Or do others feel the way that I do? Time will tell! (Do you see why I called it a 1/4 of a review?)