Two Terrific Books

I’ve been on a reading tear the past few months. Of the dozen or so I’ve read, two stand out in my mind as books my readers would enjoy and the third gets an “honorable mention.”

  1. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens.  This novel takes place in Minnesota (Austin, Minneapolis, some northern suburbs), is wonderfully told and beautifully written.  It came out in 2020 and was well-reviewed, which is how I found it.  About a third of the way in, I decided to hurry through it and get to my next book. But then the protagonist came to life in my head.  When I’d finished, I realized it had been a very satisfying experience.  I mentioned it to my cousin and frequent reading partner and he wrote me back saying: “I just finished reading “The Life We Bury” and loved it. Well, that’s probably obvious from the fact that you recommended it a week ago and I’ve already finished it. It was well written, the characters were great and I was extremely familiar with the locales (well, Austin not so much but the Twin Cities and Mason City very much so). Great book.”
  2. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou. This book was mentioned in my Business Ethics newsletter. But irrespective of that, it is history that reads like a crime novel.  You don’t have to have even visited the Bay Area to like this book.  And with the verdict on Holmes coming out earlier this month, it’s very timely.  I think you would love it.
  3. Matrix by Lauren Groff. This is one of those books I bought due to its rave critical reviews (NPR called it one of the best books of 2021) and my interest in books about history.  This is historical fiction, featuring the life of poet Marie de France.  The writing is incredible, but the tale was not so much to my liking.  But seriously, the prose is so exceptional; I would read just about anything this author writes.  It tells the story of de France who, at 17, is booted out of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine due to being perceived as too rough and coarse for marriage — too tall, too unattractive, and too butch. Plus, she is the result of her mother being raped, and the medieval shame of all that. She’s sent to England and becomes the prioress of a rundown abbey where the nuns are starving.  She makes the best of her circumstances with an amazingly powerful focus, switching out her desire for family into building the order into something powerful and frightening, finding love and fulfillment in the process.  It’s a mixture of the sacred and profane, violence, sex and sensuality, and religious ecstasy.

P.S. I love audio books! I’m a person who does well with what Maggie calls background noise. Sometimes, it helps me focus on whatever else I’m doing – sharpening knives, hiking, doing dishes, driving or tinkering in my workshop. I download books from the Phoenix Public Library app “OverDrive.”  It’s free, easy, and sometimes frustrating, but it works for me.  Ginger has gifted me with a few of her Audible books, and I love that.

Do let me know about books you’ve enjoyed recently.  Let’s keep in touch.

Tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Two Terrific Books

  1. Kathleen says:

    Steve, thanks for the recommendations–I read Bad Blood when it came out and thought it was really well done–and chilling. Here are a few of my recent finds/recommendations: The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles, and Our Country Friends, Gary Shteyngart, Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead. They are all have quirky characters and great prose.

    • Steve Larsen says:

      Kathleen, thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Of the ones you mentioned, I’ve read a couple of Colson Whitehead’s other books – sheesh, what an imagination! Just amazing, really. I’ve not read The Lincoln Highway or Our Country Friends, but just did find a couple of in-depth reviews for both and have added them to my list. Thank you!

Leave a Reply