Since I am behind on my fun-reading list by years, I'll do a brief review of the best books I've read recently.
The first being the Maisie Dobbs series by Jaqueline Winspear. These are great, not too long, mysteries featuring a woman detective. Set in post WWII in England. Maise has her own set of personal mysteries to solve but these are not the primary focus of the stories. One thing I find very interesting about these books is the incorporation of Mindfulness/Intuition/Meditative Spirit-call it what you want. Maisie calls on and sometimes relies upon her sixth sense to solve the mysteries given to her. There is a slight romantic thread that intertwines the books together, but I feel it just is kind of in there to make you feel like Maisie is a real, live woman-even though she's totally fictitious. I've read four from the series thus far and still am struck by Birds of a Feather so be sure to read into the series at least that far. The books do kind of build upon each other so it is actually important to read them in order. I have taken a little break from reading them all at once, but I know I will come back for more.
Life of Pi, I read it because a couple years ago there was quite a bit of hype about it and I was unable to find the time to read it. I FINALLY read it. It did not disappoint. I had a hard time putting it down. I love the main character, Pi, but I feel I will forever be enchanted by Richard Parker. The ending was a bit unexpected for me and has left me with that whole, "what just happened?" feeling. It's also one of those books that you have to just say, I'm never going to know the answer to that and be at peace with it. It is such an engaging survival story. Beautiful, the imagery created and not-too-long episodes of the character's trials and day to day "housekeeping" keep the story going without feeling like you've been shorted or bogged down. It's a good one, one I would actually gift.
Lastly, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Oh my gosh! What a great book. I couldn't believe it. I read Life of Pi and this one back to back and I have not felt such a love affair with reading in so long. I was totally hooked by two books in a row! I really liked this book because I could identify with the character and her personal life-or what there was of it. She's just kind of being alive. She reluctantly takes a position caring for a gentleman. Her life will never be the same. I also really liked this book because, it's so believable. It's not some sugary sweet idealized version of reality, I could actually see nearly everything happening in real life, like people's reactions seemed believable. I read a good portion of this book on a train to Chicago, in a hotel in Chicago, in the train station in Chicago, and again, on the train home from Chicago. I know! I would have been quite content if I would have been left at a Starbucks or Argo Tea to just sit there and read the whole thing. I can't say it was really a tear jerker but I feel, as a reader, you become emotionally conflicted about what you want to happen, and what does happen. At the end, it's just one of those books where you just hug it to your chest and know there will never be another like it.